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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Jim Fitzpatrick): I am pleased to announce today that the European Commission has agreed to the Governments request for an exemption from Regulation (EC) 561/2006 on drivers hours for professional drivers operating solely within the UK when they are reservists undergoing military training or providing instruction to members of a Cadet Corps approved by the Secretary of State for Defence.
This exemption, which has been granted in accordance with the provisions in Article 14.1 of Regulation (EC) 561/2006, applies to the weekly rest requirements in Article 8(2) and 8(6) of Regulation (EC) 561/2006. It will enable a driver who finishes his normal driving duties on a Friday to complete a 34 hour period of military training as a volunteer reservist or as an instructor in the Cadet Corps and then resume his normal driving duties again on a Monday morning.
the exemption will apply to 15 days annual camp and 10 weekend training sessions per annuma total of 35 days. Weekend training will not be allowed to take place on consecutive weeks (other than in respect of the 15-day annual camp);
a regular daily rest period of 11 hours must be taken between the end of weekend training and start of work for the primary employer;
a regular weekly rest period of 45 hours must be taken no later than at the end of the sixth day following a period of weekend training.
Until such time as the exemption can be transposed into domestic legislation, it will be implemented by administrative means. The Ministry of Defence will be issuing guidelines that outline how drivers can manage their volunteer reserve service in accordance with the exemption, and a copy of the European Commissions Decision will be published on the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency website.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Jonathan Shaw): My right hon. Friend the Member for Stirling (Anne McGuire), the then Minister for Disabled People, notified the House on 3 April 2008 that following the European Court of Justice decision of 18 October 2007 we would in due course publish details of the eligibility criteria for payment of the disability benefits, Disability Living Allowance (care component), Attendance Allowance and Carers Allowance within the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland for those people who wish to claim these benefits from abroad.
We have now carefully considered the full terms of the judgment and the provisions of European legislation which co-ordinates social security systems within the EEA and Switzerland, as it applies to the UKs disability benefits and their re-classification under European law as sickness benefits. Details of the eligibility criteria for payments of the disability benefits have been posted on the Directgov website on the pages: Taking disability benefits to other European countries(1), and Claiming disability benefits if you live in another European country(2).