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20 Mar 2009 : Column 1346W—continued

These figures are derived from the Department’s central system, and it is possible that some engagement of agency staff (who are not employees) may not be recorded where arrangements have been made locally.

USA: Military Alliances

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Lewes of 3 November 2008, Official Report, column 71W, on USA: military alliances, on what date and at which location the next Stocktake meeting between the Government and the US administration under the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement will take place. [265154]

Mr. Quentin Davies: Arrangements have not been finalised but it is intended that the next Stocktake meeting will take place in early June in the UK.

Welsh Language

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost of translation services under his Department's Welsh language scheme was in 2008. [263029]

Mr. Kevan Jones: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations were received from the Welsh Language Board during his Department's consultation on its Welsh language scheme. [263030]

Mr. Kevan Jones: We received no representations from the Welsh Language Board during the public consultation on the Welsh Language Scheme. However, during the process of updating the scheme, officials from MOD and the Welsh Language Board met on several occasions as well as having regular exchanges of correspondence.

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Work and Pensions


Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 13 June 2008, Official Report, column 616W, on apprentices, what progress his Department has made towards meeting its share of the Government's commitment to employ over 1,000 apprentices in central Government departments and agencies in 2008-09; and how many apprentices his Department now employs. [256256]

Jonathan Shaw: In reply to the questions asked, I refer to the Government Skills cross-Government response recorded on 24 February 2009, Official Report, column 741W.

Child Benefit: Foreigners

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what checks he requires to be made on the validity of documentation supplied by non-UK EU citizens in the course of child benefit claims; [264450]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of non-UK EU citizens claiming child benefit; and how many children in respect of whom such benefit is paid are not resident in the UK. [264451]

Mr. Timms: I have been asked to reply.

Any person making a claim for child benefit must provide documentary evidence of the child being claimed for, such as an original birth certificate, adoption certificate or passport. HMRC checks the validity of this document upon receipt. All claims for child benefit are subject to a wide range of checks throughout the life of each claim and it would be inappropriate to disclose a complete list of such checks as to do so may provide assistance to those attempting to defraud the system. Claims by EU migrant workers to family benefits in the UK (child benefit and child tax credit) are subject to additional checks between HMRC and the competent authorities of the other member state on the composition of the worker's family resident in that other state and whether family benefits are in payment there.

I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to him of 13 November 2008, Official Report, column 1306W, for my response to his request for estimates of receipts.


Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Angus of 27 March 2006, Official Report, column 740W, on public relations companies, what payments have been made to the communications consultancy, Clear, since March 2006; for what projects; and at what cost. [250315]

Jonathan Shaw: According to our records, no such payments have been made.


Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to implement Cycle to Work schemes for staff working in his Department and its agencies. [263932]

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Jonathan Shaw: The Department now has in place arrangements to make financial support available to staff working in the Department and its agencies who wish to cycle to work.

These arrangements make it possible for staff to purchase a cycle and the necessary safety equipment through a salary advance scheme. This arrangement can provide an interest-free advance of their salary so they can purchase the cycle and safety equipment of their choice. In addition staff can also use the Department’s staff benefits scheme, which provides the opportunity for staff to purchase the cycle and safety equipment at a significant discount from a choice of three retail outlets.

These arrangements are comparable to Cycle to Work schemes being operated in a number of organisations and are also viewed as being of better value in support of the Department’s staff who wish to cycle to work.

Departmental Car Allowances

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what mileage allowance (a) his Department, (b) its executive agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies pays per mile to its staff. [263558]

Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 13 March 2009]: There are a range of mileage allowances available to staff in DWP, its executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) who undertake business travel. The rate of mileage allowance payable will depend on the type of vehicle being used and whether the vehicle is privately owned or provided by the Department. The rates are based on the rates set by HMRC under the Approved Mileage Allowance Payments.

Mileage rates paid by DWP and all associated NDPBs

£ per mile

Privately-owned vehicle

Higher standard rate (up to 6,000 miles)


Lower standard rate (over 6000 miles)


Vehicle provided by DWP

Private user scheme—petrol


Private user scheme—diesel


Private user scheme—LPG


Motor cycle


Passenger supplement (per passenger)


Pedal cycle


Candidates for civil service posts—motor cars


Candidates for civil service posts—motor cycles


In addition, DWP will only pay the higher standard rate to the first 1,000 miles unless the employee has an approved business case, in which case the higher standard rate is paid up to 6,000 miles.

The Pensions Protection Fund, Independent Living Fund and Health and Safety Executive pay at the above rates with the exception that the higher standard rate is paid for the first 10,000 miles.

20 Mar 2009 : Column 1349W

Remploy pay the higher standard rate for the first 4,000 miles and the lower standard rate for any mileage above 4,000. Company car users receive £0.20 per mile regardless of total mileage.

Departmental Scientists

Ian Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department's budget for scientific advice and research is in 2008-09; for what purposes the equivalent budget for 2007-08 was used; and how many people employed in his Department have a science or engineering degree. [260767]

Jonathan Shaw: The Department does not undertake research into science, technology, engineering or mathematics as usually defined. The only advice which partly requires scientific input comes from the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council. Its budget for 2008-09 was £70,932; it has been similarly funded by DWP and predecessor Departments since its creation in 1948. The secretariat includes one post for which a scientific degree qualification is required. No information is held on other people employed in the Department with a science or engineering degree as it is not a requirement for holding other posts.

Discrimination: Disabled

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 27 January 2009, Official Report, column 436W, on discrimination: disabled, which stakeholders he held meetings with; when each meeting was held; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the minutes of each meeting. [254962]

Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 9 February 2009]: I met with a number of stakeholders at the largest consultation event, which was held in London on 11 December. I provided an introduction to the event and answered questions from the floor.

My officials held four consultation events, three in London and one in Edinburgh. The London events were held on 4, 11 and 15 December; the Edinburgh event was held on 9 December. Stakeholders were invited to attend and the consultation events were also publicised through the Office for Disability Issues website, the Office for Disability Issues newsletter (which reaches approximately 2,000 people), and via charities who raised the profile of the consultation through their own emails and websites. Following is a list which gives a selection of organisations which attendees came from. Notes were taken at each event and a summary will be included in the Government's response to the consultation, which is currently being prepared. A copy of the response will be placed in the Library on publication.

Informal meetings between officials and stakeholder groups have also taken place. Those stakeholder organisations with which informal discussions were held included the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Disabilities Charity Consortium (DCC). The DCC is an informal coalition of charities made up of Leonard Cheshire Disability, Mencap, Mind, RNIB, RNID, RADAR, Scope, The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and Sense. Minutes of these meetings were not taken due to their informal nature.

20 Mar 2009 : Column 1350W

Health Professions: Manpower

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with the Secretaries of State for Health, Children Schools and Families and Innovation, Universities and Skills on workforce planning for the allied health professions. [263614]

Jonathan Shaw: Ministers and civil servants meet many people as part of the process of policy development and advice. It is not the usual practice of Government to disclose details of such meetings.

Housing Benefit

Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in each constituency have received housing benefit based on local reference rents in each of the last four years. [265352]

20 Mar 2009 : Column 1351W

Kitty Ussher: Housing benefit information is not available at constituency level.

Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have claimed incapacity benefit in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK in each year since 1997. [263832]

Jonathan Shaw: The information is in the following table.

Number of incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance claimants in each year since August 1997

Great Britain North East Government office region South Tyneside local authority Jarrow parliamentary constituency






























































Note: 100 per cent. figures are rounded to the nearest 10, 5 per cent. figures are rounded to the nearest 100 and have been uprated to be consistent with Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study data. Source: Data pre-1999: Department for Work and Pensions, Information Directorate, 5 per cent. sample and Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study data. Data from 1999 onwards: Department for Work and Pensions Information Directorate 100 per cent. Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.

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