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Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of non-UK registered heavy goods vehicles which have operated in the UK in each of the last three years. 
Annual data on the total number of trips made by foreign registered heavy goods vehicles travelling to mainland Europe from the UK can be found in Table 2.1a of the publication Road Freight Statistics 2007 available in the House of Commons Library and on the DfT website at:
Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the safety of pedicabs as a means of public transport; what recent reports he has received on pedicab safety; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Transport has not specifically assessed pedicab safety, but has received a Transport Research Laboratory report on the subject commissioned by the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association.
In addition passengers who are blind or visually-impaired and are travelling with a companion or passengers who stay in their own wheelchair for a rail journey are eligible for discounted travel without the need for a railcard.
Paul Clark: I refer the hon. Member to the written statements that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport made to the House on 23 October 2008, Official Report, column 19WS, regarding the Publication of Rail Accident Investigation Branch Investigation and 19 November 2008, Official Report, column 24WS, regarding the Potters Bar and Grayrigg Derailments.
Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of traffic on the Silver Jubilee Bridge in Halton was accounted for by heavy goods vehicles in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 11 December 2008]: There are currently two proposals from the European Commission aimed at reducing the rolling resistance of tyres. The first of these sets mandatory upper limits on permissible rolling resistance of tyres for passenger cars, light goods vehicles and heavy commercial vehicles in two stages. The Government fully support the Commission's proposed limit values and implementation dates which will reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions and contribute towards the UK meeting its carbon dioxide reduction targets.
The second proposal calls for tyre labelling, along the lines of the energy label on white goods, indicating the rolling resistance of the tyre within a set of defined bands from A (lowest rolling resistance) to G (highest rolling resistance).
This proposal has only just been published and EU negotiations on it have not yet begun. The Government supports the principle of providing consumers with information on the relative efficiency of products, but has not yet reached a view on the detail of this second proposal.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the answer of 4 November 2008, Official Report, columns 248-50W, on vehicle number plates, what the timescale is for fulfilling the intention to legalise the display of national flags of UK countries on number plates; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will assess the effects of the policy of ceasing carers allowance when a carer reaches pensionable age; and if he will make carers allowance available to those of pensionable age; 
However, carers allowance is an income-replacement benefit and as such, is subject to the overlapping benefit rules. Where a carer is entitled to another income-replacement benefit, such as state pension, then they will be paid the benefit that gives them the highest amount. In the case of pensioners, this is normally state pension.
Low-income carers who have an entitlement to carers allowance can benefit from the additional amount for carers in pension credit even where state pension is paid instead of carers allowance. About 240,000 people now receive this extra help.
Jonathan Shaw: The level of carers allowance and its conditions of entitlement, including the 21-hour full-time education rule, were considered by the income task force, created as part of the review of the National Carers Strategy. The new strategy was published in June 2008, and included the report from the taskforce, which gave options for changes to carers allowance. However, the main finding of the income task force was that the current system of carers benefits needs to be fundamentally re-examined.
In the White Paper Raising expectations and increasing support: reforming welfare for the future, published 10 December 2008, we underlined our commitment to looking at carers benefits in the context of our wider ambitions for welfare reform. We will aim to design a system that is able to provide support where it is most needed and that can adapt to the wide range of needs that carers have, enabling carers to maintain a balance between their caring responsibilities and a life outside caring.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what comparative assessment he has made of the level of carers' allowance in the UK compared to other EU member states who administer a similar allowance for benchmarking purposes. 
Jonathan Shaw: No departmental funds are used for departmental Christmas parties or staff entertainment. This is in accordance with departmental guidance on financial procedures and on propriety and regularity based on principles set out in Managing Public Money and Her Majestys Treasury Handbook Regularity, Propriety and Value for Money. All staff Christmas parties and staff entertainment events are funded solely at the individuals expense. An extract from the relevant guidance is provided as follows:
Departmental funds must not under any circumstances be used to purchase food or drink, hire a venue, or contribute in any other way to staff parties, irrespective of whether these relate to personal celebrations (e.g. birthdays or retirement) or are ostensibly to mark a particular business achievement (e.g. the opening of a new office or the award of a contract). Expenditure of this nature is regarded as a disciplinary offence and Departmental practice, where such activities come to light, is generally to seek reimbursement from the authorising officer.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 4 November 2008, Official Report, columns 254-56W, on departmental temporary employment, how many staff were recruited through each company in each year; and for how long on average staff recruited through these companies worked for the Department in each year. 
Mr. McNulty: There are currently around 20 GP surgeries in England and Wales which have a jobcentre adviser in them with a similar amount due to have an adviser once the expansion of the pilot is fully in place. In addition, there are 71 GP surgeries in Scotland that have a jobcentre employment adviser working in them for at least part of the week.
|Vacancies in Glasgow city council area and Glasgow south west parliamentary constituency: as at October 2008|
|Notified vacancies||Live unfilled vacancies|
1. Interpretation of this data needs to take account of changes in recent years to Jobcentre Plus procedures for taking and handling vacancies. These figures are not fully comparable over time and may not indicate developments in the labour market. A more detailed explanation is available on the Nomis website at:
2. Notified vacancies include any speculative placings recorded by Jobcentre Plus. Datasets from May 2006 may reflect substantially reduced levels of speculative placings as part of the notified series. Consequently, care should be taken in interpreting time-series data.
3. The stocks of unfilled vacancies reflect more accurately the job opportunities actually available via Jobcentre Plus. In the case of unfilled vacancies, use of the figures on live vacancies is recommended (i.e. excluding suspended vacancies), and this is the default option. Live vacancies may still include some vacancies which have already been filled or are otherwise no longer open to recruits, due to natural lags in procedures for following up vacancies with employers.
4. Comprehensive estimates of all job vacancies (not just those notified to Jobcentre Plus) are available from the monthly ONS Vacancy Survey since April 2001, based on a sample of some 6,000 enterprises. However, the ONS survey is currently designed to provide national estimates only.
Jobcentre Plus Labour Market System
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what criteria determine whether housing benefit is paid directly to landlords where tenants are (a) mentally ill and (b) vulnerable; and what conditions are attached to such payments. 
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many individuals in receipt of housing benefit have had their housing benefit paid directly to their landlords on the grounds of (a) vulnerability and (b) mental illness. 
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether (a) income and (b) lump sums paid under (i) a war pension and (ii) the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme are disregarded for the purpose of calculating income support eligibility; and if he will make a statement. 
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