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Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what has been the annual expenditure on office equipment for his Department in Scotland in the (a) 1998-99, (b) 1999-2000 and (c) 2000-01 financial years; and what the planned expenditure for 2001-02 is; 
Mr. Rooker [holding answer 23 March 2001]: The information on expenditure by the Department on office equipment, fixtures and fittings and general office expenses in Scotland is not collected centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what has been the annual expenditure of his Department in Scotland on (a) buildings and (b) insurance of buildings and staff in the (i) 1998-99, (ii) 1999-2000 and (iii) 2000-01 financial years and what the planned expenditure for 2001-02 is. 
Mr. Rooker [holding answer 23 March 2001]: The information is in the table. It covers only those activities of the Department located in Scotland. Many services provided by the Department to residents in Scotland are located elsewhere.
(89) The Facilities Price is a single unitary charge, that varies for each building, and which is payable to Trillium, the PRIME contractor for the provision of serviced office accommodation. Services included in the Facilities Price are:
Building Management and Maintenance (inc. Customer Service Centre)
External and Internal Cleaning
Security (inc. facilities and equipment)
Catering (inc. facilities and equipment)
(90) Utilities include Standing charges for Gas, Electricity and Fossil Fuels. Actual charges for water and sewerage.
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Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what has been the annual expenditure on vehicles for his Department in Scotland in the (a) 1998-99, (b) 1999-2000 and (c) 2000-01 financial years; and what the planned expenditure for 2001-02 is. 
Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what has been the annual expenditure on training and development for his Department in Scotland for the (a) 1999-2000 and (b) 2000-01 financial years; and what the planned expenditure for 2001-02 is. 
Mr. Rooker [holding answer 23 March 2001]: The annual expenditure on training and development for the Department in Scotland for 1999-2000 was £6,719,482; for 2000-01 was £5,676,701; planned expenditure for 2001-02 will be known mid-April 2001. This expenditure supports the Department's work not only in Scotland but also elsewhere in the UK. Similarly, training undertaken elsewhere in the UK benefits the Department's work in Scotland.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much has been paid in (a) state retirement benefits to pensioners and (b) in Child Benefit to parents residing in each parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom in each of the past five years. 
Mr. Rooker [holding answer 6 April 2001]: Information on annual benefit spending by parliamentary constituency is not available. For 1999-2000 and 2000-01, information is available from a point-in-time scan of administrative data which show numbers of recipients and average amounts of Retirement Pension received by constituency. Similarly, information on numbers of first and subsequent children in each constituency is available for 1999-2000 and 2000-01 from a point-in-time scan. This information has been placed in the Library.
As the information is for a certain point-in-time in each year, any calculation based on the numbers and average amounts would not correspond to the actual annual expenditure in that constituency. Nor would a total so derived match the total spending on the benefits shown in the accounts.
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broken down into (a) Jobseeker's Allowance, (b) Housing Benefit, (c) Council Tax Benefit and (d) other benefits; and what extra support is being offered to the Benefits Agency and local authorities to ensure that these claims are processed quickly. 
Details of the robust measures being taken to ensure that claims to benefit from people affected by the outbreak of foot and mouth disease are dealt with quickly and sensitively were set out by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State in his reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster, Central (Ms Winterton) on 30 March 2001, Official Report, column 794W.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment he has made of the effect of the repeal of Regulation 100 under the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000 on the ability of local authorities to seek recovery of overpayment of Housing Benefit. 
Angela Eagle: Regulation 100 of the Housing Benefit (General) Regulations was revoked to simplify the procedure for local authorities to recover Housing Benefit overpayments. The regulation duplicated the primary power set out in section 75(1) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 and had caused some administrative confusion.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what the procedure is for appealing against the decision of a rent officer regarding the amount of Housing Benefit to be paid to an individual. 
Angela Eagle: Rent Officers do not decide the amount of Housing Benefit payable to a person. The amount of Housing Benefit to be paid is determined by the relevant local authority after they have considered the claim under the Housing Benefit (General) Regulations. If a person disagrees with their award they may appeal against this decision.
Where the Housing Benefit award against which an appeal is made is based on the level of rent set by a Rent Officer, or if the local authority believes the Rent Officer's decision may be erroneous, the local authority has the power to arrange for the Rent Service to revisit the decision. This action is carried out by a Rent Officer other than the one who made the original decision, and normally one from a different rent registration area.
Mr. Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 23 March 2001, Official Report, column 370W on single room rent, what representations he has received concerning the impact of the single room rent in Brighton and Hove; what assessment he has undertaken of the likely impact of the proposed new young person's rent regulations in Brighton
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and Hove; and what consideration was given in drafting the proposed new young person's rent regulations to the submission sent to him by the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavillion on behalf of various agencies in Brighton and Hove. 
Angela Eagle: I am aware of my hon. Friend's representations on behalf of Brighton and Hove to the effect that the current rules were too restrictive and that they should be eased. We gave full consideration to these representations as we did to others. The new rules from July this year are therefore designed to reflect better what the market generally has to offer on a national basis. Moreover, local authorities will have the discretion to provide additional support in individual cases under the new arrangements for Discretionary Housing Payments, which will also apply from July. We are considering how best to monitor their operation.
Our objectives for the single room rent are to ensure that young people have access to accommodation so that they can concentrate on finding work, balanced against our aim of making sure that the benefit system does not provide out of work young adults with better housing than their working peers could afford. We made these objectives clear, including the option of broadening the definition of the single room rent, in our Housing Green Paper "Quality and Choice: A decent home for all" on which we consulted widely.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 23 March 2001, Official Report, column 370W, how many organisations commented in response to the proposals in the Government's Housing Green Paper, "Quality and Choice: A decent home for all", on the single room rent; how many of these responses (a) supported abolition, (b) favoured abolition in preference to a broadening of the definition, (c) supported broadening the definition and (d) supported no change to the current definition; and if he will place these responses in the Library. 
Angela Eagle: Two hundred and five respondents commented on the proposals to broaden the single room rent (SRR) set out in the Housing Green Paper. Information on the views of the respondents is not available in the format requested. However, a detailed analysis of all responses to the Housing Green Paper proposals was carried out by independent consultants. This analysis is available on the internet at www.housing.detr.gov.uk/ information/consult/responses/analysis/index.htm and a copy has been placed in the Library.
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