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5 Jun 2008 : Column 1092W—continued


In Work Emergency Fund

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many individuals received a payment from the (a) in work emergency fund and (b) in work emergency fund for lone parents in the most recent 12-month period for which figures are available, broken down by (i) region and (ii) local authority area; [204645]

(2) how many individuals have received a payment from the in work emergency fund in each year since its inception; what the total amount of payment made by the fund was in each such year; what the cost of administering the fund was in each such year; and what the average administrative cost per payment was in the most recent period for which figures are available. [204646]

Mr. Timms: Only lone parents are eligible to claim in work emergency fund (IWEF) payments. Since 28 April 2008, the IWEF has been replaced by the In Work
5 Jun 2008 : Column 1093W
Emergency Discretion Fund, which is available to lone parents nationally and to couple parents in New Deal Plus pilot areas.

In the 12 months from April 2007 to March 2008, 360 lone parents received IWEF payments.

Available figures on IWEF payments cannot be broken down by region and local authority area.


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Information on the number of lone parents who received IWEF payments in each year since its inception, and the total amount of payments made, is shown in the following table.

Number of lone parents receiving IWEF Total payment (£)

October 2004 to March 2005

80

16,000

April 2005 to March 2006

240

49,200

April 2006 to March 2007

200

53,100

April 2007 to March 2008

360

97,100

Total

860

215,500

Notes: 1. Payments are rounded to the nearest 100. 2. If more than one payment was made to a lone parent, the date of the first payment has been used and the total of the payments recorded. Source: Resource Management database.

The average administrative cost per payment in the most recent period (2007-08) where figures are available is £14.34. This figure includes all staff and non-staff costs, IT and Estates overheads. In 200708, 400 payments were made which, combined with the average cost of £14.34, gives a total administration figure of £5,736(1). Administrative costs per payment for earlier years are not available.

“New Statesman”

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the article written for the New Statesman of 8 May 2008 was written in an official capacity. [205486]

James Purnell: The article in question was written from a political perspective.

Social Security Benefits: Fraud

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many incidents of benefit fraud relating to each type of benefit were reported to the Benefit Fraud Hotline in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [206014]

Mr. Plaskitt: Information is not available broken down by benefit type. The available information is in the following table.

Benefit Fraud Hotline reports by type, Great Britain
Method of reporting 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08

Phone to National Benefit Fraud Hotline

153,176

150,083

149,991

155,095

163,682

Internet and written

60,054

38,504

65,367

79,825

76,659

Source: National Benefit Fraud Hotline.

Staff Turnover

Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the staff turnover of each business unit located in Fylde was in the latest period for which figures are available; [205693]

(2) what the staff turnover rate was for administrative officers working in (a) Warbreck Hill Call Centre, (b) Shared Services Warbreck Hill and (c) the Child Support Agency at Peel Hill in the latest period for which figures are available. [205694]

Mrs. McGuire: The staff turnover for each business unit located in the Fylde for the 12-month period from 30 April 2007 to 30 April 2008 is shown in the following table:

Business name Turnover (percentage)

Child Support Agency—Fylde

9.5

Corporate and Shared Services—Fylde

3.7

Disability and Carers Service—Fylde

3.4

Jobcentre Plus—Fylde

4.4

The Pensions Service—Fylde

8.7

Overall DWP—Fylde

4.3


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The staff turnover rate for administrative officers working in (a) Warbreck Hill Call Centre (b) Shared
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Services Warbreck Hill and (c) The Child Support Agency at Peel Hill are shown in the following table:

Location Business Building AO turnover (percentage)

(a) Warbreck Hill Call Centre

Disability and Carers Service

Warbreck House

4.2

(b) Warbreck Hill

Shared Services

Warbreck House

(1)

(c) Peel Hill

Child Support Agency

Peel Park

(2)

(1) Not applicable, no AOs employed.
(2) Child Support Agency staff presence at Peel Park commenced February 2008. 12 month turnover rate not yet available.
Note:
The Department calculates turnover by dividing the number of permanent staff (includes fixed term appointments of over 12 months) who leave in a 12 month period, by the average number of staff employed in the same period (calculated as a mean figure using the number of staff at the start and end of the period).

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Belarus: Human Rights

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation in Belarus, with particular reference to protection for Christian human rights activists and politicians; what recent representations he has made on this matter; and if he will make a statement. [207851]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The Government continue to have serious concerns about the lack of respect for human rights in Belarus, including the curtailment of religious freedom, and monitor the situation closely. The Government's assessment of the situation in Belarus can be found in our latest annual Human Rights report, available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's website at

The Government regularly raise concerns about the harsh treatment of civil society groups, including faith groups, and human rights violations in general. We work closely with our EU partners and the US to raise these concerns and maintain effective pressure for improvement. Recent representations include statements issued by the EU on 29 April criticising recent regime actions, and on 8 May in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Council. Both documents are available on the website of the current Slovene European presidency at

Bombs

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons the Government plan to seek exemptions from the convention on cluster munitions at the Dublin Diplomatic Conference. [207441]

Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 2 June 2008]: On 28 May my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced the Government's support for a ban on cluster munitions, including UK munitions currently in service. This step confirmed the Government's commitment to address the humanitarian concerns that cluster munitions raise. We are pleased to be able to support the draft convention on cluster munitions that was adopted in Dublin on 30 May. We believe that the future convention will put in place an effective framework not only to prevent civilian casualties, but to provide for international co-operation and clearance that will facilitate clearance of contaminated areas and care for victims of cluster munitions.

Burma: Political Prisoners

Mrs. Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps he has taken to seek to secure the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners in Burma. [207665]

Meg Munn: On 27 May, the Burmese regime decided to extend Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest for a further 12 months. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made a public statement on 27 May expressing his sadness that the Burmese Government had extended Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention. He also said that while our immediate focus is on relieving the suffering caused by the recent cyclone, restoration of democracy in Burma is still vital for that country’s long-term future. He urged the Burmese Government to release Aung San Suu Kyi and allow her to play her rightful role in the process of genuine national reconciliation. On 29 May, the EU presidency issued a statement which “strongly deplored” the decision to renew Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest.

The member states of the EU continue to call for the release of opposition political figures. Measures adopted under the EU Common Position remain in place to underpin pressure on the regime to move to an inclusive democratic system of governance. In a President’s Statement last month, the UN Security Council reaffirmed its call last October for the release of political prisoners in Burma.

Caribbean: Royal Visits

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many Government officials accompanied HRH the Prince of Wales on his official visit to the Caribbean in March 2008; what (a) travel and (b) accommodation costs incurred in respect of officials were met from public funds; and what costs were met by (i) his Department, (ii) the Department for Transport and (iii) another source. [207682]

Meg Munn: No Government officials accompanied His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales on his official visit to the Caribbean. Between three and 14 members of our respective high commission/governor’s office participated in the visit locally.


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Accounts for the visit have not been finalised. I will write to my hon. Friend with the travel and accommodation costs incurred by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as soon as they are available, and will arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House.

Air and sea travel costs for the royal party were met by the royal travel grant in aid, provided by the Department for Transport. The funding of official travel by members of the Royal Family is administered by the royal travel office in Her Majesty the Queen’s household. Travel costs will be published in the royal grant in aid annual report, which will be published later this year.

Departmental Pay

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was paid in end-of-year performance bonuses to (a) all staff and (b) staff at senior civil service level in (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies in the 2007-08 financial year; and how many payments were made. [207466]

Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has not yet determined variable pay (bonus) awards for its UK civil servants based on appraisal of performance during the 2007-08 financial year.

The level of variable and base pay awards for staff in the delegated grades (all grades below senior management) for performance in 2007-08 will depend on the outcome of negotiations, currently under way, on a new three-year reward settlement for the period 2008-11.

Annual variable pay awards for staff in the senior management structure/senior civil service reflect the extent to which staff have achieved their objectives and how they have achieved them. The framework for determining base and variable pay awards for senior staff in the civil service is set centrally by the Government in response to the annual findings of the Senior Salaries Review Body. The FCO pay committees, which determine individual awards within this framework, are due to complete their recommendations by early July.

Departmental Recruitment

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people were recruited to his Department under the Diplomatic Fast Stream programme in each of the last 10 years. [207925]

David Miliband: Since 2000, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recruited the following numbers of people under the Fast Stream programme:


5 Jun 2008 : Column 1098W
Number of people recruited to the FCO under the Diplomatic Fast Stream programme
Number

2000

34

2001

30

2002

33

2003

33

2004

21

2005

24

2006

26

2007

28


The FCO does not hold information on Fast Stream recruitment prior to 2000 and this information cannot be obtained without the incurring of disproportionate cost.

As the FCO’s Fast Stream Final Selection Boards for 2008 will not be completed until mid-June, the number of successful candidates is not yet available.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people recruited to his Department in the last financial year were aged (a) 20 to 30, (b) 31 to 40, (c) 41 to 50 and (d) 51 to 60. [207927]

David Miliband: The following table provides a breakdown of permanent recruits to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and FCO Services—a Trading Fund of the FCO—in the age groups specified during the 2007-08 financial year.

Age group Number recruited to the FCO in the 2007-08 financial year Number recruited to FCO services in the 2007-08 financial year

20 to 30

153

5

31 to 40

19

11

41 to 50

12

15

51 to 60

4

5


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