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Scotland

Sky TV

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department has spent on subscriptions to Sky TV since May 2010. [67570]

Michael Moore: The Scotland Office has no subscription to Sky TV, therefore no expenditure has been incurred since May 2010.

Corporation Tax

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions officials in his Department had with officials of HM Revenue and Customs on the cost of varying the rate of corporation tax in Scotland in advance of his speech to Scottish Financial Enterprise on 23 June 2011. [66764]

Michael Moore: My officials have regular discussions with officials of HM Revenue and Customs on a wide range of issues, including the cost of varying the rate of corporation tax in Scotland. Since then, the methodology of the calculations were published by HMRC in their note, ‘Explanatory Note on estimating the cost of a reduction in the Corporation Tax rate in Scotland', on 13 July 2011.

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland with reference to his Department's press release of 23 June 2011, what the evidential basis was for the figure of £2.6 billion cited as the cost of reducing the rate of corporation tax in Scotland. [66766]

Michael Moore: As the press release outlined, HMRC had drafted provisional figures showing that

“if the Scottish Government were to cut Corporation Tax to the same level as Ireland there could be a gap of more than £2.6 billion in the Scottish Budget.”

The methodology of the calculations were published by HMRC in their note, ‘Explanatory Note on estimating the cost of a reduction in the Corporation Tax rate in Scotland', on 13 July 2011.

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Apprentices

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his Department has a policy on requirements for the provision of (a) apprenticeships and (b) other training by (i) his Department's prime contractors and (ii) suppliers in the supply chain of such contractors. [66621]

Michael Moore: The Scotland Office does not generally undertake direct procurement or tendering projects. It utilises framework contracts between suppliers and other Government bodies. Therefore, a policy to include a requirement for the provision of apprenticeships or other training by contractors and/or subcontractors would be an issue for those bodies letting the contracts.

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many apprenticeships have been created directly by contracts with his Department in each of the last three years. [66623]

Michael Moore: The Scotland Office does not generally undertake direct procurement or tendering projects. It utilises framework contracts between suppliers and other Government bodies. Therefore, if available, the number of apprenticeships created by these contracts would generally be held by those bodies letting the contracts.

Departmental Carbon Emissions

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the carbon dioxide emissions from his Department in (a) June 2010 and (b) June 2011. [66749]

Michael Moore: The Scotland Office’s estimate of the carbon dioxide emissions from energy used on its estate during June 2010 was 13.5 tonnes and for non-car travel was 16.6 tonnes. No record of car mileage was kept. The estimates for June 2011 are not yet available.

Departmental Official Hospitality

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department has spent on hospitality for staff since May 2010. [67443]

Michael Moore: The Scotland Office has incurred no expenditure on hospitality for staff since May 2010.

Departmental Photographs

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department has spent on photoshoots and videos involving Ministers since May 2010. [67442]

Michael Moore: The Scotland Office has not incurred any expenditure on photoshoots or videos involving Ministers since May 2010.

Departmental Procurement

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the annual value is of his Department's current contracts in each sector in which contracts are held. [66622]

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Michael Moore: The Scotland Office does not generally undertake direct procurement or tendering projects. It utilises framework contracts between suppliers and other Government bodies. However, the Office does hold some small and historic contracts within the private sector which total an annual value of approximately £112,000.

Departmental Redundancy

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department has spent on redundancy costs since May 2010. [67440]

Michael Moore: The Scotland Office has not incurred any redundancy costs since May 2010. The Office does not employ staff directly. All of its staff are on secondment from other public bodies, mainly the Ministry of Justice and the Scottish Government. As such, redundancy issues, and any subsequent costs, are a matter for these bodies.

Departmental Training

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department has spent on training for Ministers since May 2010; and what the purpose of the training was in each case. [67441]

Michael Moore: Since May 2010, the Scotland Office has not incurred any expenditure on training for Ministers.

Non-domestic Rates

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on proposals to allow local authorities in England to amend business rates. [66744]

Michael Moore: I have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues, including the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the right hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr Pickles), on a wide range of issues.

Scottish Financial Enterprise

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will place in the Library a copy of the speech or speaking note for his engagement at Scottish Financial Enterprise on 23 June 2011. [66765]

Michael Moore: A copy of my speaking note for this engagement has now been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Third Sector

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what charities and voluntary organisations Ministers in his Department have visited since 12 May 2010. [67439]

Michael Moore: Scotland Office Ministers have visited a range of charities and voluntary organisations since 12 May 2010. Details of meetings with external organisations are published on the Government’s Transparency website at:

http://data.gov.uk

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Trade Groups

Pamela Nash: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what mechanisms he plans to establish for his proposed Scottish trade group to interact with (a) UK Trade and Investment, (b) Scottish Development International and (c) the Scottish Council for Development and Industry. [66828]

Michael Moore: On 8 July 2011, I established the Scottish Trade Group to examine ways in which the UK Government can do more to help Scottish companies do business overseas. Its purpose is to serve as a direct channel for companies and others in Scotland to share views with the UK Government on their trade and investment priorities.

We are working in partnership with the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), who will provide secretariat support and hosting facilities. The group will include representatives from UK Trade and Investment, Scottish Development International and SCDI, as well as representatives from a range of industry sectors from across Scotland.

Attorney-General

Ministerial Meetings

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Attorney-General when he last met (a) James Murdoch, (b) Rebekah Brooks and (c) Andy Coulson. [67366]

The Solicitor-General: The Attorney-General has not met James Murdoch, Rebekah Brooks, or Andy Coulson since his appointment in May 2010.

Departmental Air Travel

John Mann: To ask the Attorney-General on what occasions he has flown on official business (a) by budget airline and (b) in economy class in the last 12 months. [67923]

The Solicitor-General: The Attorney-General has made seven economy class flights while on official business during the last 12 months, including one on a budget airline. The five trips from the UK were return flights. The details are contained in the following table.

Date From Destination Airline

6 September 2010

UK

Belfast

BMI

21 November 2010

UK

Munich

British Airways

5 May 2011

UK

Luxembourg

Air France

13 June 2011

UK

Dublin

Aer Lingus

22 June 2011

UK

Strasbourg

Air France/ Brussels Airlines

17 July 2011

Sydney

Auckland

Air New Zealand

18 July 2011

Auckland

Wellington

Air New Zealand

Departmental Official Hospitality

Stephen Twigg: To ask the Attorney-General how much the Law Officers' Departments have spent on hospitality for staff since May 2010. [67809]

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The Solicitor-General: The total expenditure by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on hospitality in the financial year 2010-11 was £9,957; this figure includes the provision of water, soft drinks and sandwiches for official meetings. The CPS does not routinely fund hospitality for staff, although occasionally a small official event may be held and will be attended by both CPS staff and key stakeholders from other Criminal Justice System agencies. The CPS does not hold central records of the expenditure on such events attended by staff and the information sought could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The remaining Law Officers' Departments have no record of any expenditure on staff hospitality.

Departmental Photographs

Stephen Twigg: To ask the Attorney-General how much the Law Officers Departments have spent on photoshoots and videos involving Ministers since May 2010. [67518]

The Attorney-General: The Attorney-General’s Office has spent £385 on a photo shoot since May 2010. There has not been any expenditure on videos involving Ministers.

The other Law Officer's Departments have not spent any funds on photo shoots or videos involving Ministers.

Departmental Redundancy

Kate Green: To ask the Attorney-General how much his Department has spent on redundancy costs since May 2010. [67435]

The Solicitor-General: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Attorney-General to the questions on departmental redundancy tabled by the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne North (Catherine McKinnell) on 14 March 2011, Official Report, column 120W.

Departmental Responsibilities

Chris Ruane: To ask the Attorney-General how many meetings he has had with hon. Members of each political party since May 2010. [67153]

The Solicitor-General: Where appropriate, the Law Officers make every effort to facilitate requests for meetings with hon. Members. The following table details the numbers of meetings the Attorney-General has had with hon. Members from all political parties (excluding Government Ministers), and includes meetings with the Shadow Solicitor-General. The data are drawn from the available departmental records and thus may not capture all such meetings which might have taken place since May 2010.

Political Party Number of meetings

Labour

6

Conservative

2

Chris Ruane: To ask the Attorney-General on how many occasions a request for a meeting by an hon. Member of each political party was refused by (a) a Minister in the Law Officers' Departments directly and (b) the Law Officers' Departments on behalf of a Minister in November 2010. [67594]

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The Solicitor-General: Records of such requests are not maintained by the Law Officers’ Departments and the information requested could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

Departmental Training

Stephen Twigg: To ask the Attorney-General how much his Departments have spent on training for Ministers since May 2010; and what the purpose of the training was. [67680]

The Solicitor-General: There has been no expenditure on Ministers training since May 2010.

Law Officers' Department

Mr Denham: To ask the Attorney-General whether the Law Officers' Departments have a policy on requirements for the provision of (a) apprenticeships and (b) other training by (i) the Departments' prime contractors and (ii) suppliers in the supply chain of such contractors. [66630]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) encourages the creation of apprenticeships and a skilled work force. The Department issues standard contracts for the procurement of most goods and services. These contracts are based on the Office of Government Commerce's standard terms and conditions and where applicable, require the contractor to have: training plans; a specified proportion of the workforce as trainees, apprentices or long-term unemployed; and a specified proportion of the hours worked in delivering the contract undertaken by trainees, apprentices or long-term unemployed.

These terms and conditions apply to the prime contractor only and are not applicable to sub-contractors.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) encourages the creation of apprenticeships and a skilled work force. Wherever possible the SFO utilise Office of Government Commerce framework and their standard terms and conditions (where applicable) require contractors to have apprenticeship schemes or training opportunities in place.

The Treasury Solicitors Department does not have a policy to require the provision of apprenticeships or other training by prime contractors, or suppliers in the supply chain of such contractors: if the use of apprentice labour is relevant to the provision of a particular service, and is likely to lead to improved value for money, it is included in the tender requirements and evaluation process.

The Attorney-General's Office and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate are covered by TSol arrangements.

Mr Denham: To ask the Attorney-General how many apprenticeships have been created directly by contracts with the Law Officers' Departments in each of the last three years. [66632]

The Solicitor-General: The Law Officers' Departments are unable to determine from centrally held records if any apprenticeships have been created directly by contracts held with them in each of the last three years. To

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provide this information would involve requesting information from all suppliers and this would incur a disproportionate costs.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Attorney-General if he will consider keeping data on the number of times (a) he and (b) officials of the Law Officers' Departments have declined a request for a meeting from an hon. Member of each political party. [67176]

The Solicitor-General: No. There is no clear operational or administrative need to keep records of each and every request made for a meeting with the Law Officers or departmental officials and to do so would cause disproportionate expense.

Third Sector

Kate Green: To ask the Attorney-General which charities and voluntary organisations (a) he and (b) the Solicitor-General has visited since 12 May 2010. [67434]

The Solicitor-General: I visited the Mediation and Pro Bono Clinic at Elizabeth House Surgery in Warlingham, Surrey on 31 January 2011. The Attorney-General has not visited any charities or voluntary organisations since May 2010.

Work and Pensions

Apprentices

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department has a policy on requirements for the provision of (a) apprenticeships and (b) other training by (i) his Department's prime contractors and (ii) suppliers in the supply chain of such contractors. [66585]

Chris Grayling: All new DWP contracts include an Apprenticeship and Skills Requirements contract schedule. This schedule requires suppliers to provide an initial written report (six months after contract start date) and then annually thereafter. The report must reflect all sub-contractors involved in delivery of the contract and provide details on:

the number of existing apprenticeships involved in delivery of the contract;

the number of new starts on apprenticeships initiated as a result of delivery of the contract;

action being taken to improve the take up of apprenticeships;

other training/development being undertaken by staff involved in delivery of the contract.

DWP also have a Supplier Charter which details some of the key targets, policies and principles that DWP expect their suppliers to contribute towards. One of these principles is apprenticeships and skills development. All 45 of DWP's critical suppliers have signed, and committed to, the Supplier Charter.

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many apprenticeships have been created directly by contracts with his Department in each of the last three years. [66587]

Chris Grayling: For the last two years apprenticeships have been funded through the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education.

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The National Apprenticeship Service was set up two years ago has since then been delivering apprenticeships in England.

Asbestos: EU Law

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2011, Official Report, column 817W, on asbestos: EU laws, what representations he received on protection of workers from risks related to exposure to asbestos at work. [67884]

Chris Grayling: To date I have received no representations about the transposition of Article 3(3)(a) of EU Directive 2009/148/EC into domestic law. A public consultation on the proposed legislative changes will be held shortly. This will provide an opportunity for interested parties to make representations about the changes.

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2011, Official Report, column 817W, on asbestos: EU law, on what basis he considers that further public consideration is required in response to the UK having been found not to have fully implemented Article 3(3)(a) of EU Directive 2009/148/EC on the protection of workers from risks related to the exposure to asbestos at work. [67885]

Chris Grayling: In compliance with its statutory duty under Section 50(3) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974, HSE will be undertaking a public consultation on its proposals to implement Article 3(3)(a) of EU Directive 2009/148/EC.

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects the UK to fully implement article 3 of EU directive 2003/18/EG. [67886]

Chris Grayling: It is planned that the UK will fully implement article 3 of EU directive 2003/18/EG into domestic legislation in April 2012.

Sky TV

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has spent on subscriptions to Sky TV since May 2010. [67571]

Chris Grayling: DWP has had no expenditure on TV subscriptions for Sky TV for the period from 1 May 2010 to 30 June 2011.

Child Support Agency: ICT

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the original estimate, at current prices, was of the cost to the public purse of the computer system supplied by EDS Systems for the Child Support Agency's payment system; what the final cost, at current prices, was at the time of completion; and whether additional costs have been incurred since completion. [65626]

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Maria Miller: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the child maintenance commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.

Letter from Noel Shanahan:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner as the Child Support Agency is now the responsibility of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the original estimate, at current prices, was of the cost to the public purse of the computer system supplied by EDS Systems for the Child Support Agency's payment system; what the final cost, at current prices, was at the time of completion; and whether additional costs have been incurred since completion. [65626]

The question has been assumed to relate to the CS2 child maintenance system, which was built by EDS and went live in 2003. “The cost to the public purse of the computer system” has been assumed to mean the cost of developing the system, rather than the cost of developing and running the system.

The original outline estimate given by EDS (now Hewlett Packard) in 1999 for the cost of the build of the new CS2 system was £94m. This estimate is disclosed in the National Audit Office's (NAO) June 2006 report “Implementation of the child support reforms”. At today's prices, based on the Retail Price Index at December 1999 and June 2011, the £94m translates to £132.2m.

The actual cost of developing the CS2 system was £225m. At today's prices, based on the RPI at April 2003, when the system went live, and June 2011, the £225m translates to £292.1m.

During the Operational Improvement Plan (OIP), which ran between April 2006 and April 2009, a further £107m was invested in development to the CS2 system. This amount was disclosed in the NAO's December 2009 report on the performance of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission. At today's prices, based on the RPI for April 2009, when the OIP closed, and June 2011, the £107m translates to £119m.

Following the closure of the OIP, two further remedial releases were made on the CS2 system. The cost of release 17, in 2009, was £4.2m. Release 18, in 2010, cost £5.4m. At today's prices, based on the RPI for December 2009 and December 2010 respectively and the RPI for June 2011, these translate to a total cost of £10.1 m.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Child Maintenance

Dame Anne Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what modelling his Department has carried out on the likely range of changes in child maintenance liability that will occur if non-resident parents who are currently subject to a nil assessment for statutory child maintenance purposes are transferred to the future statutory scheme to begin in 2012. [65697]

Maria Miller: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the child maintenance commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.

Letter from Noel Shanahan:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner.

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You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what modelling his Department has carried out on the likely range of changes in child maintenance liability that will occur if non-resident parents who are currently subject to a nil assessment for statutory child maintenance purposes are transferred to the future statutory scheme to begin in 2012. [65697]

The Commission will consult on a package of regulations for the future scheme calculation later this year. This will detail impacts of regulations on the State, employers and individuals using the services, including non-resident parents who are currently subject to a nil assessment under the Child Support Agency schemes. The consultation document will include details of the modelling used by the Commission.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Compensation

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 28 March 2011, Official Report, column 41W, on compensation, what steps he is taking to reduce the need for his Department's agencies and non-departmental public bodies to compensate the public. [63941]

Chris Grayling: The Department makes consolatory payments in certain circumstances where there has been maladministration, as set out in my answer to my hon. Friend of 28 March 2011, Official Report, columns 41-2W. We have a variety of measures in place with an objective of reducing levels of maladministration, and consequentially the amount of consolatory payments made. These include:

a joint DWP/HMRC strategy to reduce welfare fraud and error (published October 2010);

compliance teams in all agencies to ensure processes are being followed correctly;

a published Charter of service standards, to ensure individuals understand the service standards they can expect from any DWP agency; and

embedding the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman's principles of good administration across the Department.

DWP is also committed to using continuous improvement tools across the Department and its agencies to ensure our service is as efficient and effective as possible.

Non-departmental public bodies can also make consolatory payments in certain circumstances where there has been maladministration(1). The Department's NDPBs adopt a proportionate approach with regards to reducing the need to compensate the public. This varies from body to body but includes policies of continuous improvement.

(1) Although CMEC and ILF are taking steps to reduce the compensation which is paid to the public, other NDPBs (HSE and PP/PPF) are not taking any steps as the level of compensation paid out by these bodies has been, historically, very low.

Departmental Carbon Emissions

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2011, Official Report, column 238W, on departmental carbon emissions, whether the sources of low-carbon energy generation on its estate were manufactured in the UK. [67928]

Chris Grayling: The Combined Heat and Power Plant installed in Quarry House Leeds, currently the only source of low-carbon energy generation on the Department's estate, was manufactured in Salford, Greater Manchester by ENER-G Combined Power Ltd.

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Departmental Lost Property

Mr MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what property has been (a) lost and (b) stolen from his Department in the last 12 months; and what the cost of replacement was. [66572]

Chris Grayling: The Department does not hold central records itemising assets taken or lost. Actions are taken at local level—where the information is recorded—and it would incur a disproportionate cost to obtain the information requested.

In all cases of theft the matter is fully investigated and appropriate action taken by the Department. For certain items (such as computers and BlackBerry phones), where the item is not recovered, the police will be informed as a matter of routine.

Departmental Official Hospitality

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has spent on hospitality for staff since 12 May 2010. [67715]

Chris Grayling: All expenditure on hospitality is made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on principles set out in Managing Public Money and the Treasury Handbook on Regularity and Propriety.

Expenditure on hospitality from May 2010 to June 2011 is less than £3,000. Comparatively expenditure for the financial year 2009-10 was £25,000. We constantly seek to review and drive down expenditure in all areas.

Departmental Photographs

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has spent on photoshoots and videos involving Ministers since May 2010. [67445]

Chris Grayling: Since May 2010 the Department for Work and Pensions has spent a total of £1,990.08 on four occasions when photographs were required of ministerial visits.

All other photography and videos are done internally by DWP staff.

Departmental Redundancy

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has spent on redundancy costs since May 2010. [67447]

Chris Grayling: Since May 2010 1,563 members of staff have left the Department and its agencies under early release schemes at a cost of £70.9 million.

All early releases have all been voluntary and there have been no compulsory redundancies. Releases were all subject to governance processes designed to ensure that they supported business objectives and represented value for money.

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Regulations: Guidance

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what process his Department follows for the production of regulatory guidance; and how many officials of his Department were involved in the production of such guidance on the last date for which figures are available. [67199]

Chris Grayling: Regulatory guidance on social security benefits is contained in the Decision Makers Guide (DMG), an electronic publication which is produced to support the Department’s decision makers. It is also made available to the public via the internet.

The process for production of amended or new guidance in response to legislative changes is that as regulations are made available from lawyers, officials with the relevant subject expertise draft content for the DMG. Once peer reviewed, this new content is immediately issued to all the Department’s decision makers, and also incorporated into the DMG, which is frequently republished.

At present there are nine officials, part of whose role includes responsibility for drafting DMG.

Departmental Responsibilities

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many meetings he has had with hon. Members of each political party since May 2010. [67154]

Chris Grayling: The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith), meets hon. Members every day across all political parties and discusses all aspects of the Department’s business. This includes appearing before Select Committees and attending meetings to discuss reform.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will consider keeping data on the number of times (a) he and (b) officials of his Department have declined a request for a meeting from an hon. Member of each political party. [67177]

Chris Grayling: The current method used by this Department to process and monitor ministerial correspondence does not enable us easily to retrieve the information the hon. Gentleman seeks and there are no plans to change the IT system in use. Any changes would require additional investment. If, in the future, this system were to be updated we would look into this issue.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on how many occasions a request for a meeting by an hon. Member of each political party was refused by (a) a Minister in his Department directly and (b) his Department on behalf of a Minister in November 2010. [67573]

Chris Grayling: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave to him on 12 July 2011, Official Report, column 239W, which was as follows:

“In the main,. Ministers from this Department try not to refuse meetings with Members of Parliament. However, detailed information is not available other than at disproportionate costs.”

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DWP Ministers received over 3,000 pieces of correspondence in November 2010 from Members of Parliament and elected representatives of devolved Administrations; it is not possible to identify separately how many of these requested meetings other than at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Training

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has spent on training for Ministers since May 2010; and what the purpose of the training was in each case. [67446]

Chris Grayling: This Department has spent a total of £3,525 on training for Ministers since May 2010. The purpose of this was for media training.

Disability Living Allowance

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons recipients of disability living allowance aged over 65 years do not receive the mobility component. [67377]

Maria Miller: A claim to disability living allowance, including the mobility component, made before a person’s 65(th) birthday, can remain in payment beyond age 65 as long as the conditions of entitlement remain satisfied, although a mobility component may not be added to an existing claim after that age.

It is normal for pensions and benefit schemes to contain different provisions for people at different stages of their lives. Disability living allowance, which has a mobility component, is intended to focus additional help with the extra cost of disability on people who have the very considerable disadvantage of being severely disabled earlier in life and who as a consequence have less opportunity to work, earn and save compared with non-disabled people. The mobility component remains in payment beyond age 65, to reflect the ongoing disadvantage that people in these circumstances continue to have compared with people who develop mobility problems after age 65.

Disability Living Allowance: Carers

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of carers who will be subject to the proposed benefits cap because their household is not exempt as a result of a claim for disability living allowance or the personal independence payment. [67026]

Chris Grayling: The information requested is not available as sample sizes are too small to yield reliable results for those who are both receiving carer's allowance and subject to the household benefit cap.

Disability Living Allowance: Glenrothes

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people aged 25 to 35 years are in receipt of disability living allowance in Glenrothes constituency. [67376]

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Maria Miller: The information requested is contained in the following table.

Number of disability living allowance recipients aged 25 to 35 (inclusive) in Glenrothes parliamentary constituency , November 2010

All ages 25 to 35

Total

7,440

470

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Figures show the number of people in receipt of an allowance, and exclude people with entitlement where the payment has been suspended, for example if they are in hospital. 3. Parliamentary constituency is based on the Westminster Parliament of May 2010 Source: DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS) 100% data.

Education Support Allowance: Breast Cancer

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will take steps to ensure that the education support allowance assessment process and associated procedures take into account the needs of people suffering from breast cancer. [67504]

Chris Grayling: We are determined that the benefits system should support people who are diagnosed with cancer, including breast cancer, in the most sensitive, fair and appropriate way.

Following an internal review we have recently made changes to the WCA so that more individuals undergoing certain chemotherapy treatments will automatically be placed in the Support Group without the need for an assessment.

Additionally, Professor Harrington, as part of his second Independent Review asked Macmillan Cancer Support to look in detail at how the WCA assesses people with cancer and to provide him with any recommendations for further improvements.

We have recently received these recommendations from Professor Harrington. We are considering them carefully to understand whether they will improve the assessment further for individuals with cancer. We will come forward with any proposals shortly.

We will continue to review and refine the WCA to ensure that it is more effective, fairer for all claimants and as a result fairer for the taxpayer.

Employers’ Liability

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the impact of compulsory employer's liability insurance on (i) micro, (ii) small and (iii) medium-sized businesses. [67054]

Chris Grayling: Research conducted for the Health and Safety Executive in 2003 (‘Survey of compliance with Employers' Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI) Act 1969’ Research Report 188) indicated that less than 1% of companies had failed to take out employers' liability (compulsory) insurance (ELCI).

The survey found that 0.9% of micro firms, 0.37% of small firms and 0.6% of large sized firms lacked ELCI.

Further research was commissioned in 2009 and details of the findings will be published in due course.

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Employment: Disability

Mrs McGuire: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what monitoring the Office for Disability Issues has undertaken to ensure that Government Departments have implemented the agreement with his Department on access to work support for the employment and retention of disabled members of staff; and if he will publish the most recent monitoring report. [65084]

Maria Miller: Most civil service Departments do not use the Access to Work programme to provide assistance to their disabled employees and as such none of their employees should receive support from the Access to Work programme.

Instead Departments provide the funding for support and adjustments for their disabled staff.

The Office for Disability Issues does not monitor this.

Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent discussions he has had on the conclusions and recommendations of the Sayce Report on disability employment support. [65693]

Maria Miller: Since the publication of the Sayce review, “Getting in, staying in and getting on”, on 9 June 2011, I have had a number of discussions on its findings.

On 20 June, I met the Minister for Care Services, the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow), the Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, my hon. Friend the Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr Hayes) and the Minister for Children and Families, the hon. Member for Brent Central (Sarah Teather), for an initial discussion on the recommendations, which I accepted upon publication, to create a cross-Government group to address disability employment. I met the Remploy trade unions on 13 July and plan to meet them again. I have also met the principals of the residential training colleges to take their initial views on the report.

I confirmed, when the report was published, that the Government would consult before moving to any decisions on the future strategy for specialist disability employment programmes. The Government's response and a separate public consultation were launched on 11 July 2011. The consultation will run till 17 October 2011. A programme of consultation events is planned over the summer, involving a wide range of stakeholders.

I encourage all interested parties to use the opportunity of consultation to contribute their views to this important subject. Details of the consultation exercise can be found at the following link:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations/2011/specialist-disability-emp-prog.shtml

Alternatively the hon. Gentleman can request a copy of the consultation document by writing to the Sayce Review Consultation Team, Level 3 Steel City House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 2GQ or telephone 0114 2948239.

Employment: Older People

Mr Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to assist people aged over 50 who are unemployed to enter employment. [67309]

19 July 2011 : Column 844W

Chris Grayling: Jobcentre Plus treats jobseekers of all ages equally, and in 2010 we delivered new training to advisers to enhance the support they can offer to claimants who are aged 50 or over. Older jobseekers have the same access to a comprehensive menu of individually tailored help as those under 50 (apart from the specific options for jobseekers aged under 25). Support is tailored to the individual needs of each jobseeker, including help with work-related training and job-search support. Older jobseekers who are eligible can also access Get Britain Working measures, such as Work Clubs, Work Together, and the new enterprise allowance for individuals who are looking to become self-employed.

The newly launched Work Programme will also provide support for those who are more at risk of long-term unemployment. Work Programme providers are free to innovate and design support based on the needs of individuals, and will be paid primarily for the results they achieve in supporting people into sustained employment. All jobseeker's allowance, employment and support allowance and pension credit claimants can access the Work Programme at a time that is right for them.

Employment: Travel Costs

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he plans to take to ensure that people not claiming benefits are responsible for the travel costs of seeking employment. [67503]

Chris Grayling: For people receiving working age benefits, help with the additional travel costs arising from work search is available. In certain circumstances such help may also be available to people not in receipt of benefit, at the discretion of the personal adviser.

Employment: Young People

Caroline Dinenage: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to support young people into work. [67071]

Chris Grayling: Work Experience and Apprenticeships are central to improving the prospects of young unemployed people.

We are funding an additional 80,000 placements meaning that there will be up to 100,000 placements available for young people to undertake a period of valuable Work Experience lasting between two and eight weeks. Claimants in the 18 to 24 age group are eligible for Work Experience and we recently announced the widening of eligibility to include 16 and 17-year-olds in receipt of jobseeker's allowance.

The Government are funding up to 250,000 more apprenticeships over the next four years and we are strengthening the links between Work Experience and Apprenticeships. Later this year Work Experience placements will be extended by up to four weeks where employers make a firm offer of an Apprenticeship and that offer is accepted.

We have improved our package of support to provide earlier entry to the Work Programme for more vulnerable young people and are providing additional Jobcentre Plus help for 16 and 17-year-old jobseeker's allowance claimants.

19 July 2011 : Column 845W

Families Against Corporate Killers

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will arrange a meeting with representatives of Families Against Corporate Killers. [67639]

Chris Grayling: Department for Work and Pensions Ministers will consider meeting requests from stakeholders, including Families Against Corporate Killers, as diary commitments allow.

Housing Benefit

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will assess the potential effect of his proposed household benefits cap on the Homelessness Prevention Service run by Edinburgh Cyrenians. [66680]

Chris Grayling: The benefit cap will mean that people on benefit will face choices about housing costs similar to those faced by people in work. But it will not necessarily mean that they will need to move from their home. Even within the limits of this cap, households will still be able to receive significant amounts of financial assistance from state welfare payments and if a member of the household moves into work and becomes eligible for working tax credit they will be exempt from the impacts of the cap.

There is a range of help local authorities can offer to households at risk of becoming homeless including the provision of discretionary housing payments. We have already made an additional £190 million available over the spending review period for this purpose as a result of the changes we have made to housing benefit.

The Government published their impact assessment of the benefit cap in February alongside the introduction of the Welfare Reform Bill.

This made it clear that the assessment sought is not possible to estimate because this would have to be based on behavioural changes

The impact assessment can be found via the following link:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/household-benefit-cap-wr2011-ia.pdf

Industrial Accidents

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2011, Official Report, column 34W, on industrial accidents, if he will assess the effects of (a) proactive workplace inspections and (b) incident inspections on the behaviour of employers and employees. [67025]

Chris Grayling: Proactive activity (of which workplace inspections are a part) and incident follow-up inspections are both important functions of HSE. Their impact on the behaviour of employers and employees however cannot be reliably distinguished from the impact of other functions, noticeably the success of employer and employees in operating an effective and proportionate health and safety system in the workplace.

19 July 2011 : Column 846W

Industrial Health and Safety

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which health and safety stakeholders and representative groups the Minister for Employment has met since the launch of the Good health and safety, Good for everyone strategy on 21 March 2011; and on how many occasions. [67690]

Chris Grayling: Since the launch of the Good health and safety, Good for everyone strategy on 21 March, I have met with the following stakeholders and representative groups, on one occasion each, to discuss health and safety issues:

Chemicals Industries Association

Engineering Employers' Federation

Confederation of British Industry

Alliance of Industry Associations

National Farmer's Union

Environmental Services Association

UK Contractors Group

Trades Union Congress

Association of British Insurers

Zurich

British Chambers of Commerce

Institute of Occupational Safety and Health

The Law Society.

Industrial Health and Safety: Prosecutions

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many employers who have fewer than three employees were prosecuted under health and safety legislation in the last 12 months. [66483]

Chris Grayling: HSE does not hold prosecution data at this level of detail.

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many health and safety prosecutions there were in the last 12 months; and how many of these followed a serious illness or accident involving (a) customers and (b) employees. [66484]

Chris Grayling: From 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011, the Health and Safety Executive completed 518 prosecutions. This figure is based on current information in advance of the release of official statistics for this period in October 2011.

It is not possible to sub-divide this figure to provide the information in the form requested in the second part of the question.

New Enterprise Allowance

Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment he has made of the New Enterprise Allowance National Rollout scheme. [67060]

Chris Grayling: The rollout of the NEA across Great Britain is progressing well and is on schedule to be completed during August.

19 July 2011 : Column 847W

Pensioners: Greater London

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the number of pensioners in (a) the London borough of Bexley and (b) Greater London living in social housing in the latest period for which figures are available. [65565]

Andrew Stunell: I have been asked to reply.

The requested data are not available for the London borough of Bexley.

There were an estimated 149,000 households with a householder of pensionable age, that is aged 65 or over if male, or aged 60 or over if female, living in social housing in London in 2009-10. This estimate is based on data from the 2009-10 English Housing Survey.

Poverty: Children

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the level of child poverty in rural communities in each of the next four financial years. [66354]

Maria Miller: This information is not available.

Modelled tax and benefit reforms announced since Budget 2010 may have a small reduction in overall child poverty in 2011-12 and 2012-13; however, given the uncertainty around these types of estimates, this change may be on the edge of statistical significance. This analysis has not been carried out separately for those in rural communities.

The most recent estimates of rural child poverty are presented as follows. Due to different definitions of rurality in Scotland compared to England and Wales, and the fact that no information is collected on the family resources survey covering rurality in Northern Ireland, it has not been possible to present figures for the United Kingdom as a whole. This also means that the figures supplied for Scotland are not comparable with the other figures presented. For Wales and Scotland, three years of data have had to be combined due to small sample size.

The latest data available from the households below average incomes for 2009-10 shows that in England, before housing costs, the proportion of children in relative poverty is 15% in rural areas compared with 20% in urban areas.

The latest data available from the households below average incomes for 2007-08 to 2009-10 show that in Wales, before housing costs, the proportion of children in relative poverty is 21% in rural areas compared to 28% in urban areas.

The latest data available from the households below average incomes for 2009-10 show that in England and Wales, before housing costs, the proportion of children in relative poverty is 16% in rural areas compared to 20% in urban areas.

The latest data available from the households below average incomes for 2007-08 to 2009-10 show that in Scotland, before housing costs, the proportion of children in relative poverty is 16% in rural areas compared to 21% in urban areas.

19 July 2011 : Column 848W

Notes:

1. These statistics are based on households below average income (HBAI) data sourced from the 2009-10 family resources survey (FRS). This uses disposable household income, adjusted using modified OECD equivalisation factors for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living.

2. Net disposable incomes have been used to answer the question. This includes earnings from employment and self-employment, state support, income from occupational and private pensions, investment income and other sources. Income tax, payments, national insurance contributions, council tax/domestic rates and some other payments are deducted from incomes.

3. Figures have been presented on a before housing costs basis. For before housing costs, housing costs are not deducted from income, while for after housing costs they are.

4. All estimates are based on survey data and are therefore subject to a degree of uncertainty. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response.

5. The reference period for HBAI figures is the financial year.

6. Proportions of children in low-income households have been rounded to the nearest percentage point.

7. Three survey years have been combined for Scotland and Wales because single year estimates are not considered to be sufficiently reliable.

8. Due to different definitions of rurality in Scotland compared to England and Wales, and the fact that no information is collected on the family resources survey covering rurality in Northern Ireland, it has not been possible to present figures for the United Kingdom as a whole.

Rural Areas

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether officials of his Department have had recent discussions with the Rural Communities Policy Unit in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. [67145]

Chris Grayling: Officials in the Department for Work and Pensions have a number of discussions ongoing with counterparts in the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, including the Rural Communities Policy Unit, regarding employment, skills, Jobcentre Plus services and priorities for older people living in rural communities.

Social Security Benefits

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the potential impact on third sector projects of introducing a household benefits cap. [66316]

Chris Grayling: The Government have made no assessment of the potential impact on third sector projects of introducing a household benefits cap.

The benefit cap is intended to increase incentives to work and when someone starts employment and becomes eligible for working tax credit they will be exempt from the cap. We are putting in place the Work programme, which will give unemployed people unprecedented levels of personal support to get them into the workplace.

We expect a broad range of Work programme support to be delivered by a broad mix of organisations, including those from the third sector, so that everyone who enters the Work programme gets the right mix of help for them.

19 July 2011 : Column 849W

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many individuals in each nation of the UK are in receipt of each type of welfare or employment benefit. [66741]

Chris Grayling: The information requested is as follows:

Benefit claimants by country in Great Britain: latest figures

England Scotland Wales

Income Support—November 2010

1,509,170

175,010

103,430

Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)—June 2011

122,222

140,557

71,594

Incapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement Allowance—November 2010

1,654,130

221,560

146,450

Employment and Support Allowance—November 2010

493,710

60,430

39,440

State Pension—November 2010

9,776,260

1,009,040

636,200

Pension Credit—November 2010

2,279,540

274,790

162,690

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)—November 2010

2,591,970

343,210

242,350

Attendance Allowance (AA)—November 2010

1,364,810

146,930

114,210

Carer's Allowance (CA)—November 2010

472,980

49,870

35,440

Bereavement Benefits—November 2010

50,390

6,030

3,140

Widow's Benefits—November 2010

35,980

4,610

2,330

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit—September 2010

7,780

970

870

Housing Benefit—April 2011

4,141,230

472,450

242,470

Council Tax Benefit—April 2011

4,943,110

561,360

324,110

Winter Fuel Payments—2009-10

10,810,140

1,105,760

694,200

Maternity Allowance (MA)—1 September 2010 to 30 November 2010

15,200

1,300

800

Notes: 1. MA is based on a 5% sample and therefore subject to sampling variation, all other figures are based on 100% data. 2. MA figures are rounded to the nearest 100, JSA are unrounded with all other figures rounded to the nearest 10. 3. Figures are based on the timepoint listed. 4. JSA figures are based on claimant count figures and are available at: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/Default.asp All other figures are available on the Department's website at: http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=tabtool 5. DLA, AA, and CA figures are based on people in receipt of an allowance, and exclude people with entitlement where the payment has been suspended, for example if they are in hospital. 6. Incapacity benefit was replaced for new claims with employment and support allowance in October 2008. 7. Widow's benefits include widow's pension and widowed mother's allowance. All claimants of widow's benefits are female. No new claims for widow's benefits have been accepted since April 2001 when they were replaced by bereavement benefits. 8. Bereavement benefits include bereavement allowance and widowed parent's allowance. 9. Housing benefit/council tax benefit refers to benefit units, which may be a single person or a couple. 10. Winter fuel payments data refer to the final payment run, i.e. they include the late payment run figures. 11. Northern Ireland: DWP does not hold statistics for Northern Ireland residents. These may be obtained from the Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland website. Sources: DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study. Jobcentre Plus computer systems. Single Housing Benefit Extract. DWP Information Directorate 5% samples.

19 July 2011 : Column 850W

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost to his Department was of administering benefits in respect of each nation of the UK in the last financial year for which figures are available. [66742]

Chris Grayling: The information requested is shown in the following table:


£ million

Total DWP 2010-11 administrative expenditure

5,866

England

4,772

Wales

340

Scotland

549

Northern Ireland

0

Outside UK

204

Source: DWP Resource Accounts 2010/11 and DWP statistical and accounting data.

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of families receiving benefit entitlements in the UK who also receive benefits from another EU member state due to the social insurance contributions of a partner working in that member state. [67370]

Chris Grayling: Migrant workers within Europe may receive benefits from more than one member state. This is a consequence of the European rules on social security co-ordination. These rules cover benefits for old age, survivors, invalidity, unemployment, industrial injury and prescribed diseases, sickness, maternity, and family.

If someone makes a claim to a UK benefit, we ask them to provide details of any relevant income and that might include details of foreign contributory benefits received by members of the family. We use that information to assess their entitlement to UK benefits. However, we do not keep a separate record of such information and are not able to estimate the number of partners who may be receiving a contributory benefit across the range of social security benefits.

Third Sector

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which charities and voluntary organisations Ministers in his Department have visited since 12 May 2010. [67448]

Chris Grayling: DWP Ministers have visited the following charities and voluntary organisations since 12 May 2010:

Minister Date Organisation Location

Secretary of State

30 July 2010

Bromley By Bow Centre

London

 

2 September 2010

Stepping Stones

Belfast

 

22 September 2010

Forth Sector

Edinburgh

 

30 September 2010

Our Place at Work

Ellesmere Port

 

18 November 2010

Victory Outreach

Gwent

19 July 2011 : Column 851W

19 July 2011 : Column 852W

 

10 February 2011

New Lanark World Heritage Site

South Lanarkshire

   

Robert Owen Institute

Motherwell

 

17 March 2011

Toynbee Hall

London

 

7 March 2011

Clockwise Credit Union

Leicester

 

25 March 2011

Amber

Devon

 

1 April 2011

Forth Sector

Edinburgh

 

6 April 2011

Oakwood Youth Challenge

Wokingham

 

12 July 2011

Working Links

Caerphilly

   

Tydfil Training Consulting Ltd

Pontypridd

       

Minister for Disabled People

16 June 2010

Breakthrough UK

Manchester

 

17 June 2010

Barnet Carers Centre

Barnet

 

30 June 2010

Access to Work

London SE1

 

13 July 2010

Project Search Site

Colney, Norwich

   

Norse Commercial Services

Norwich

 

20 July 2010

Essex Coalition of Disabled People

Chelmsford

 

25 August 2010

Remploy

Coventry

 

23 September 2010

Bsafe Centre

Blackpool

   

Independent Living Centre

Blackpool

 

26 October 2010

St Mungo's (two centres)

London

 

16 November 2010

Social Firms

Dorking

 

1 December 2010

Apasenth

London

 

13 December 2010

Newham Coalition of Disabled People

London

 

25 January 2011

Leonard Cheshire Care Home

Rustington, Littlehampton

 

8 February 2011

St Agnes Leonard Cheshire Care Home

Banbury, Oxfordshire

 

17 February 2011

Holly Croft Care Home

Biggleswade

 

22 February 2011

Onkar Care Home

Leicester

   

Relate

Doncaster

 

17 March 2011

New Life Centre for Disabled Children

Cannock

 

29 June 2011

MENCAP Employment Services

Wallington

 

30 June 2011

Action for Children's Centre

Ashington

   

Finchale Residential Training College

Finchale

       

Minister for Welfare Reform

11 August 2010

Shaw Trust

Trowbridge, Wilts

 

29 October 2010

Ley Community

Yarnton, Oxfordshire

 

26 November 2010

Scottish Association for Mental Health

Edinburgh

   

Redhall

Edinburgh

 

25 January 2011

East London Housing Partnership

Olympic Site E10

 

4 March 2011

North City Training, Dunanney Centre

Rathcoole NI

   

Spectrum Centre, Shankill Road

Belfast NI

   

New Life Counselling Steps to Work

Belfast NI

 

28 June 2011

Centrepoint

London

       

Minister for Employment

3 August 2010

Working Links

London

 

21 September 2010

Bron Afon Community House

Cwmbran

   

Rhondda Life Ltd

Ferndale

 

11 October 2010

Community Restart

Burnley

   

Cornerstone

Aberdeen

 

28 October 2010

Wise Group

Glasgow

 

3 November 2010

Stepping Stones

Belfast

   

Springvale Training

Belfast

 

11 November 2010

Youth Charter

Manchester

 

31 January 2011

St Helens Chamber of Commerce

St Helens

 

10 February 2011

Rethink

London

19 July 2011 : Column 853W

19 July 2011 : Column 854W

 

1 April 2011

Action Acton

Acton, London

   

Prospect Training

Gloucester

 

29 June 2011

Salvation Army

Ipswich

 

12 July 2011

Papworth Trust

Wellingborough

 

15 July 2011

Shaw Trust

Stafford

       

Minister for Pensions

12 July 2010

Age UK

House of Commons, London

 

5 August 2010

London Older Peoples Assembly

London

 

29 September 2010

Carers Advice and Resource Establishment (CARES)

Smethwick, Birmingham

 

30 September 2010

Extra Time—a programme for older people run by Bristol Rovers FC

Horfield, Bristol

 

6 October 2010

Trinity Community Centre

Gateshead

 

12 October 2010

Age Concern Hampshire

Winchester

 

10 February 2011

Digital Inclusion

Worksop

 

1 March 2011

South West Seniors Forum

Taunton

 

30 March 2011

West Midlands Life Forum

Birmingham

 

24 May 2011

The Pensions Advisory Service

London

Universal Credit

Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent discussions he has had with housing associations on the effects on their tenants of the proposed introduction of universal credit. [65683]

Chris Grayling: The Department for Work and Pensions have direct discussions on universal credit, and the housing element of universal credit, with a range of stakeholder groups including housing associations.

We have also said that there are advantages in paying the housing component to individuals, but we also recognise the importance of stable rental income for social landlords. We are considering a range of options for achieving this, such as the use of direct debits and other protection mechanisms which could safeguard landlords' incomes. Moreover, we are retaining a facility in universal credit for direct payments to landlords.

Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) whether his Department has made an estimate of the (a) cost of ending existing commercial housing benefit contracts as a result of the introduction of universal credit and (b) cost of paying compensation to (i) local authorities, (ii) housing associations and (iii) contractors for early extension; [67067]

(2) how many housing benefit staff employed by (a) local authorities, (b) housing associations and (c) contractors are expected to transfer to his Department under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations to administer universal credit. [67069]

Steve Webb: The Welfare Reform White Paper sets out that the Department for Work and Pensions will be responsible for organising the delivery of universal credit. It also states that we will continue to pay housing benefit to working age customers until we can migrate them successfully on to universal credit, currently expected to be by October 2017. We have yet to settle on the precise details of how the transition will work, and the effects on housing benefits staff. This approach will ensure an orderly transition, and ensure that we have people with relevant skills and experience to support claimants both in work and out of work, as they migrate to the new credit.

We will continue to work with colleagues in HM Revenue and Customs and local authorities to test new ways of working and consider how, in the longer term, we can build on the best capabilities of current organisations to provide a consistently excellent service to claimants and ensure value for money. This work will also confirm whether and how TUPE will apply for those staff affected in all organisations.

Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department has made any assessment of (a) the number of housing benefit staff who may be made redundant under his proposals to introduce universal credit and (b) the cost to (i) local authorities, (ii) housing associations and (iii) contractors of such redundancies. [67068]

Steve Webb: It is still too early to say how many staff, and what skills and experience will be required for universal credit. Decisions about TUPE and redundancy cannot be made until there is much more definition around the specific roles required to deliver the new universal credit. Although it is anticipated that fewer staff will be required compared with the legacy benefits, it is too early to say which staff and organisations will be affected. The impact on local authority staff will be affected by the design of the council tax benefit replacement, and decisions about the delivery model for universal credit.

Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the assets and systems used to provide the housing benefit service will transfer from local authorities, housing associations and contractors to his Department under his proposals for universal credit; and if he will make a statement. [67070]

Steve Webb: The systems and processes for universal credit are still under development and the requirements will depend on future delivery options. As many local

19 July 2011 : Column 855W

authorities use the same assets and systems to provide council tax and housing benefit, decisions about the assets and systems cannot be made until the future design of the council tax benefit is known.

Universal Credit: Carers

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of carers in receipt of means-tested benefits who will be ineligible for an earnings disregard when they move onto or begin to claim universal credit. [67027]

Chris Grayling: Departmental modelling estimates that, in steady-state universal credit, approximately 20% of households with a carer who would have received means-tested support under a continuation of the current system of benefits and tax credits, would not be eligible for an earnings disregard in universal credit.

Universal credit modelling is conducted using the Department's' Policy Simulation Model. This is a static microsimulation model based on 2008-09 Family Resources Survey data and, as such, estimates should be treated as indicative only. Estimates have been adjusted to take account of the current imperfect take-up of benefits and the improved take-up rate under universal credit. Carer households are defined as those where an adult is providing informal care for 35 or more hours a week.

Universal Credit: Free School Meals

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost implications for schools of administering free school meals under the universal credit. [67034]

Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the level of administrative costs for schools administering free school meals under the universal credit. [67066]

Chris Grayling: Defining entitlement to certain passported benefits is the responsibility of other Departments and devolved Administrations. Free school meals are the responsibility of the Department for Education.

The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) have been commissioned to carry out an independent review on passported benefits on behalf of the Government and will present advice in a non-binding report by the end of January 2012.

The SSAC launched a public consultation looking at passported benefits which is open until 22 July.

Work Capability Assessment

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his policy is on work capability assessment tests for people diagnosed with a progressive condition. [66731]

Chris Grayling: The work capability assessment (WCA) is an assessment of an individual's functional capability. It focuses on the effects of a person's condition, not their diagnosis, as individuals can be affected in very different ways by the same condition.

19 July 2011 : Column 856W

In assessing individuals with a progressive condition, the WCA will take into account the effects of their condition on their capability for work, including the likely speed of progression. Individuals who are allowed the benefit will be reassessed at regular intervals to see if they still meet the conditions for entitlement. Any changes in their condition and resultant changes in their capability for work will be picked up at this time.

Work Capability Assessment: Illnesses

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will amend his Department's ESA50 questionnaire to include specific questions on whether the respondent is suffering from a terminal illness. [67691]

Chris Grayling: We aim to treat people with terminal illness (defined as less than six months to live) sensitively and to ensure they are allowed the additional support of the Support Group as quickly as possible, without the need for a face-to-face assessment. To do this, employment and support allowance has special rules that ensure individuals who claim the benefit because they are terminally ill do not have to fill out an ESA50 questionnaire or attend a face-to-face assessment; instead, in the vast majority of cases, they are placed in the Support Group on the basis of medical evidence from their general practitioner or treating health care professional.

Such medical evidence is usually provided in the form of a DS1500. If further clarification or evidence is deemed necessary, requests are normally made direct to the general practitioner or treating health care professional. As a result, we do not intend to modify the ESA50 questionnaire to include specific questions about terminal illness.

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether there are any circumstances in which a terminally ill person in possession of a DS1500 form and migrating from incapacity benefit to employment support allowance would be required to undergo a work capability assessment. [67692]

Chris Grayling: Anyone who claims employment and support allowance because they are terminally ill and they meet the criteria for terminal illness (that they have less than six months to live), such as through evidence on a DS1500 form, will not be required to undertake a face-to-face assessment. Instead they will be fast tracked into the Support Group where they will receive unconditional support.

Individuals who do not meet the criteria for terminal illness may have to undergo a face-to-face assessment.

Defence

Afghanistan: Armed Forces

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he plans to take to maintain security levels in Afghanistan during the transfer of combat duties to Afghan security forces in 2012; and if he will make a statement. [66306]

19 July 2011 : Column 857W

Dr Fox [holding answer 18 July 2011]: The transfer of lead security responsibility across Afghanistan to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) is a process that will be complete by the end of 2014. As this process continues, coalition forces, along with Afghan forces, will continue operations to protect the population and degrade the insurgent threat.

We are confident that, by the end of 2014, the ANSF will be capable of preventing terrorist organisations from again using Afghanistan as a base from which to threaten the UK’s national security.

Aircraft Carriers: Fuels

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to page 36 of the National Audit Office's report on Carrier Strike, HC 1092, what his policy is on the conclusions in respect of air-to-air refuelling. [66985]

Peter Luff [holding answer 18 July 2011]: Work is under way to assess the most cost-effective means of

19 July 2011 : Column 858W

providing an embarked air-to-air refuelling capability in support of the Department's future Carrier Strike capability.

We anticipate completing this work by March 2012 and will use its output to inform future decisions on the Carrier Strike programme.

Armed Forces

Michael Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many citizens of each Commonwealth country have (a) applied to enlist and (b) enlisted in the armed forces in the latest year for which figures are available. [67080]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 18 July 2011]: The information requested is provided in the following table. Please note that a direct correlation should not be drawn between the applicant and entrant figures; those listed as entrants may have applied in a previous year while those applying in the period given may not have entered the services until a later date or at all.

2010-11

Naval Service applications Naval Service entrants Army applications Army entrants RAF applications RAF entrants

Antigua

1

1

1

Australia

16

4

11

3

1

Bahamas

1

Bangladesh

1

7

1

1

Barbados

1

Bermuda

1

Botswana

2

2

Cameroon

1

19

6

Canada

15

3

7

3

Cyprus

1

1

Dominica

7

3

Fiji

60

13

58

30

1

Gambia

20

2

60

34

Ghana

14

143

65

1

Grenada

8

8

3

Guyana

2

1

3

India

12

54

14

1

Jamaica

22

1

32

15

2

Kenya

9

3

34

28

1

Malawi

1

1

26

24

Malaysia

1

1

Malta

3

2

Mauritius

1

8

7

1

New Zealand

8

4

13

9

Namibia

1

Nigeria

36

2

71

24

1

1

Pakistan

6

8

2

Papua New Guinea

1

1

Rwanda

1

1

Seychelles

1

4

2

Sierra Leone

1

7

5

South Africa

78

29

85

69

3

Sri Lanka

4

3

2

2

1

St Helena

1

2

St Lucia

3

11

3

1

St Vincent

64

9

18

4

Swaziland

2

Tanzania

1

4

3

Trinidad

10

1

2

2

Uganda

5

16

8

1

19 July 2011 : Column 859W

19 July 2011 : Column 860W

Zambia

6

1

4

Zimbabwe

28

3

8

3