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29 Apr 2008 : Column 260W—continued

Jobcentre Plus: Leaflets

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance his Department issues to Jobcentre Plus offices about their (a) stock, (b) display and (c) use of public information leaflets. [195773]

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Mr. Timms: The stock and display of information products in Jobcentre Plus offices is governed by the customer information display standards guidance. This guidance is available on the Jobcentre Plus intranet site. All Jobcentre Plus information leaflets, together with a specified number of DWP information leaflets, are mandatory stock items. The guidance stipulates which Jobcentre Plus leaflets are mandatory for display in Jobcentre Plus offices.

Separate internal guidance is available on the Jobcentre Plus intranet site that explains to our staff which public information leaflets are most appropriate to offer to an individual across a range of possible scenarios.

Members: Correspondence

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will answer Question 185261, tabled by the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire on 4 February 2008, on children in workless households. [191465]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 4 March 2008]: I replied to the hon. Member’s question on 21 April 2008, Official Report, column 1858W.


Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pension traces were carried out by the Pension Tracing Service in each year since 2005. [200447]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The information is in the following table.

Successful pension traces since 2005-06
Total successful trace







1. The Pension Service achieved the PSA target of 60,000 successful traces during 2007-08.
2. In compiling this data an error has been identified in the data given in my reply to the hon. Member on 22 January 2008, Official Report, column 1895W. The response said that there had been 40,160 successful pension traces in 2006-07. This should have said that there had been 40,165 traces. I apologise to the hon. Member for this inadvertent error.
Pension Tracing System

Winter Fuel Payments: Swansea

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households in Swansea East constituency are eligible for winter fuel payments. [200455]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: In winter 2006-07, 11,270 people in the Swansea, East constituency received a winter fuel payment. Figures for winter 2007-08 are not yet available but we expect the numbers to be similar.

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Women and Equality

Departmental Video Conferencing

Norman Baker: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality if she will set a target to increase the use of video-conferencing by the Government Equalities Office to reduce the need to travel to meetings. [195946]

Barbara Follett: GEO is a small department and its staff are based in Eland House in London. The vast majority of meetings are held there or in other Government buildings within walking distance. The GEO's needs for routine travel are limited and its staff are committed to minimise travelling and to use videoconferencing and teleconferencing whenever appropriate. In these circumstances GEO has no current proposals to set a target.

Females: Marriage

Mr. Harper: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what assessment she has made of the financial effect on women of changing their surnames on marriage, with particular reference to charges for amending official documents; and if she will make a statement. [201344]

Barbara Follett [holding answer 24 April 2008]: The Government Equalities Office have made no assessment of the financial effect of women changing their surname on marriage.



Greg Clark: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what payments the (a) London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and (b) the Olympic Delivery Authority have made to (i) Mandate Communications and (ii) AS Biss and Co since their establishment; on what date and for what purpose the payment was made in each case. [202305]

Tessa Jowell: The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) are committed to undertake a proactive programme of engagement with central, regional, devolved, and local government. To assist this process, both organisations have procured the services of Mandate Communications (formerly known as AS Biss) to provide research and event management support. ODA spend to date with AS Biss/Mandate Communications is £6,383.65 inclusive of VAT. LOCOG, which is a privately funded company, has a separate arrangement with Mandate.

Departmental Written Questions

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Minister for the Olympics how many days it took on average to answer written parliamentary questions tabled by each hon. Member for answer by her in the last six months. [201768]

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Tessa Jowell: Information on the average number of days taken to answer parliamentary questions is not readily available in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Olympic Games 2012: Construction

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what her latest estimate is of the cost to construct the Olympic Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games; and for what reasons this estimate differs from initial estimates. [201376]

Tessa Jowell: The budget for the Aquatics Centre is £242 million. This iconic venue, designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid, will provide state of the art facilities and a world class permanent legacy facility for elite and community use. The contract for the Aquatics Centre also includes constructing the land bridge that will be the main gateway into the Olympic Park and will also form part of the roof of the venue. The budget for both the Aquatics Centre and the bridge is £303 million, and this has not changed throughout the procurement process. This figure includes the contract price, allowance for inflation, an element of project management costs, VAT and the costs to convert the venue for long-term legacy use (and associated VAT and contingency). This budget is within the ODA's £6.090 billion baseline budget as set out in the statement made in December.

The Bid Book estimate for the Aquatics Centre was $117 million at 2004 prices (approximately £73 million at a USD/GBP exchange rate of 1.6). However, this did not include inflation, legacy transformation costs, project management costs or VAT.

The overall venues budget remains broadly in line with the Bid Book when an allowance is made for inflation, project management costs, transformation costs and VAT.


Electronic Government

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether mechanisms are in place to monitor the extent to which his Department's (a) internal and (b) external (i) correspondence and (ii) distribution of publications is carried out electronically. [199188]

David Cairns: Most ministerial and internal correspondence is now undertaken electronically although formal mechanisms are not in place to monitor the method of correspondence.

Northern Ireland

Pension Credit

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons on average were eligible for pension credit in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years. [199400]

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Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 21 April 2008]: I have been asked to reply.

In Northern Ireland pension credit administration is a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly.


Afghanistan: Drugs

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 18 February 2008, Official Report, column 56W, on Afghanistan: drugs, what steps (a) UK and (b) US troops are taking to support the government of Afghanistan's counter-narcotics effort. [201956]

Des Browne: As part of the UN-authorised, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) British and American troops do not have a direct role in counter narcotics. They can, however, provide indirect support in accordance with the NATO Operational Plan for Afghanistan, such as intelligence, logistics and planning assistance.

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the decision was made to put armour on the Jackal M-WMIK vehicle; whether all the M-WMIK vehicles have been armoured; whether any M-WMIK vehicles have been armoured after they were manufactured or delivered to theatre; and how much armouring each vehicle has cost. [201417]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The requirement to protect Jackal was a Key User Requirement and was stated within the Business Case, in May 2007. All vehicles delivered to the operational theatre are fitted with armour (during production), while some vehicles within the UK training fleet are not, but will be fitted retrospectively. The armour kit costs £83,000 per vehicle installation.

Aircraft Carriers

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many aircraft lifts have been ordered; and how many will be required for each future aircraft carrier. [202674]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Each Future Aircraft Carrier requires two aircraft lifts. Four have been ordered in total.

Armed Forces: Deployment

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed forces personnel were deployed on operations, broken down by location, in the latest period for which figures are available. [201024]

Des Browne: The following table provides the number of UK service personnel deployed on operations by location at 21 April 2008. The number of personnel in theatre will naturally fluctuate on a daily basis for a variety of reasons, including leave (rest and recuperation),
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temporary absence for training, evacuation for medical reasons, the roulement of forces and other factors.

Number of personnel deployed by location at 21 April 2008( 1)
Location Number



of which:





At sea
















(1) Countries with 10 or more personnel are shown separately. Other countries with fewer than 10 personnel per country include Bosnia, Georgia, Nepal, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia. With the exception of Bosnia, personnel in these countries are participating in smaller UN operations, e.g. we contribute five military personnel to the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG).
(2) Figures for Iraq and Afghanistan have been rounded to the nearest 100 for operational security reasons. Other figures have been rounded to the nearest 10. Due to rounding, the total is not equal to the sum of the individual locations.
(3 )Figures for Afghanistan are artificially high due to the handover period while a relief in place (RIP) is in operation. The operational establishment for Afghanistan is 7,800.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date the Queen's Colour Squadron will cease ceremonial duties prior to its deployment to Afghanistan. [201030]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Queen's Colour Squadron will cease ceremonial duties once it has represented the RAF at the state opening of Parliament later this year prior to deployment to Afghanistan in February 2009. The precise date of this deployment has yet to be decided.

Armed Forces: Recruitment

Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people who applied to join the armed services in 2006-07 were rejected because they did not meet fitness criteria. [200541]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The numbers of armed forces applicants in 2006-07 who were recorded as rejected before entering service because they were classified as permanently unfit were as follows:


Naval service








The figures exclude those who were temporarily unfit at the point of application but whose fitness later improved.

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