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Where there is a requirement to consult and in circumstances where consultation is deemed to be the best approach, irrespective of obligation, the Home Office and its agencies will consult with the relevant recognised trade unions on areas where the plans will have a significant impact on staff.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of invoices from suppliers to his Department were paid within 10 days of receipt in (a) March and (b) April 2010. 
Chris Grayling: The Department does not allocate a budget for the provision of entertainment or alcohol. All expenditure is made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on the principles set out in Treasury guidance 'Managing Public Money'.
Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of the (a) implementation of penalty clauses and payments in its contracts and (b) potential legal action arising from the deferral and cancellation of contracts and projects under his Department's plans to achieve cost savings; and whether those estimates are included in the total cost savings to be achieved by his Department. 
Chris Grayling: DWP expects to minimise costs resulting from any deferral or cancellation of contracts and projects. Any estimate would be speculative at this stage and therefore none have been included within our plans for cost savings.
Departmental contracts include break clauses allowing the authority the right to terminate at any time by giving an agreed period of notice. This period of notice may vary from contract to contract dependant upon the goods or service being supplied. Any costs incurred by the Department would be deducted from reported savings.
In the event of procurement projects being deferred or cancelled, the Department would only pay those reasonable costs that had been agreed at the outset of a competition. The Department does not generally make any such agreement. Reported savings would reflect any costs incurred.
Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he plans to respond to the consultation on Accessing compensation: supporting people who need to trace employer's liability insurance. 
Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his policy is on the payment of housing benefit to tenants; and what plans he has to renew the effectiveness of the scheme under which such payments are made. 
For customers whose benefit is assessed according to the local housing allowance rules, the local authority can make payments to the landlord if it considers the customer should be safeguarded because they are unable or unlikely to manage their rental payments.
Other customers in the private rented sector and those who have tenancies with registered social landlords can choose to have their benefit paid to the landlord. The local authority can also decide to make payment to the landlord if they consider it to be in the customer's best interests.
A review of the first two years' operation of the local housing allowance arrangements is being undertaken to monitor the impact of the local housing allowance at a national level. The review aims to cover a range of issues including direct payment to tenants.
Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has for the future of (a) incapacity benefit and (b) employment and support allowance; and if he will take steps to ensure that claimants with debilitating conditions are not disadvantaged by changes in the welfare system. 
Chris Grayling: A key priority for the new Government will be to help as many of the 2.2 million claimants of the old incapacity benefits as possible back into the work place. We support the view of many independent representative groups that, where possible, people are better off in work.
The Work Capability Assessment is carried out by a health care professional and delivers an evaluation of the extent to which a claimant is capable of work. We are aware that some people need much more support to manage their conditions and get help to find work, and moving them to employment and support allowance is the best way to do that. We know this is a big undertaking and are working on plans to make the change happen as smoothly as possible for all claimants.
A Department-led review of the Work Capability Assessment engaged with medical and other experts alongside a range of representative groups including the Disability Benefits Consortium, RNIB, Mind and the National Autistic Society among others.
|Budgeted expenditure for advertising tackling benefit fraud|
| Note: Includes media costs, PR, production and research costs. It excludes VAT.|
Chris Grayling: My officials met with departmental trade union side on 25 May 2010 to discuss the planned reductions in Government spending. These plans form part of the Government's wider deficit reduction programme. As and when the detailed proposals become available, departmental officials will continue to consult with our trade unions at the appropriate level.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department had had discussions with the Government of China on the case of Chen Guangcheng; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: We have raised our concerns about the case of Chen Guangcheng with the Chinese authorities on three occasions since 2006. One of these occasions was during the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in January 2009, together with the cases of other human rights defenders. The Chinese responded with details of the charges brought against him and of his unsuccessful appeal.
We are proposing that this case should next be raised at the EU/China Human Rights Dialogue on 29/30 June 2010 where Chen Guangcheng should be included on the individual case list. We will continue to monitor this case and raise it when appropriate.
Alistair Burt: The foundation of the Strategic Defence and Security Review will be an assessment of Britain's place in the world, of the threats and opportunities facing Britain, and how we best defend ourselves against those threats and exploit those opportunities. That assessment will be agreed by the National Security Council, and it will determine the broad range of capabilities which we need. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will continue to supply foreign policy input throughout the review.
Mr Lidington: There are 13 LCD televisions in Foreign and Commonwealth Office ministerial offices. This constitutes 16 rooms and includes all the Private Offices of all the Ministers and offices of Special Advisers. There are no plasma televisions.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Ministers in his Department have been issued with (a) a BlackBerry, (b) an iPhone, (c) another make of mobile telephone and (d) a personal digital assistant supplied by the Department. 
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) political appointments and (b) other personal appointments he has made since his appointment; and at what estimated annual cost to the public purse. 
Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he plans to sell property owned by his Department which is used as British embassies and residences overseas; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) constantly reviews its global Estate in the light of changing operational needs to optimise the use of its property assets. As a consequence the FCO regularly acquires and disposes of its property assets. In 2009 the Treasury set the FCO an asset sales target of £25 million for the financial years 2010-11.
Between 2010-11 and 2013-14 we have identified 106 potentially redundant properties for disposal with a total book value of £71.09 million. This comprises four office buildings, six residences, 86 units of staff accommodation, four plots of land, three amenity complexes and three ancillary buildings. At present we have sold £848,000 with a further £9.8 million awaiting completion. In order to maximise the price received for the sale of our assets, it is not our policy to provide exact details of our sales programme, nor the price we expect to receive in advance of formal marketing.
Details of sales completed are reported quarterly to the Foreign Affairs Committee. Book value for each property is based on value as assessed by independent Chartered Surveyors commissioned to undertake the rolling programme of revaluations.
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consular contact his Department maintains with Linda Carty in Mountain View Unit, Gatesville, Texas; what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of her legal representation; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: Our consulate general in Houston remains in close contact with Ms Carty and continues to provide her with consular assistance. A consular official last visited Ms Carty on 6 May 2010 and plans to visit her again this month.
The choice of counsel is up to Ms Carty. But we do work hard to ensure British prisoners abroad are aware of the range of legal options available to them, and to put prisoners potentially facing death sentences in touch with the non-governmental organisation Reprieve, who look to ensure that they are defended effectively.
This must be an extremely difficult time for Ms Carty and her family. We have been providing consular assistance ever since we learned of her case, in August 2002. We continue to support her and her family. We have made our concerns about her case known throughout the legal process, most recently submitting a supporting brief to the US Supreme Court on her behalf.
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