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Jobcentre Plus

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if his Department was involved in consultation with the Health and Safety Executive prior to the removal of glass security screens from new Jobcentre Plus offices. [14236]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Yes.

Disabled People

Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has for disabled people in work to be charged on their earnings. [17672]

Maria Eagle: This Government are committed to removing barriers to work for severely disabled people, making work possible and making it pay for those who can move into employment. To this end the Departments of Health and for Work and Pensions have both recently announced significant improvements in this area. The Department of Health issued new guidance for local councils setting out a new fairer charging framework for home care services on 23 November requiring councils to disregard earnings in assessing ability to pay a charge by no later than 1 October 2002.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions announced in his uprating statement on 28 November that the earnings rule in the independent living funds will be abolished from April 2002, removing a disincentive for severely disabled people and/or their partners to obtain or retain work, or to seek advancement at work.

Benefit Take-Up

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action has been taken by each local authority in (a) 1999–2000 and (b) 2000–01 to increase benefit take-up; how much each campaign has cost; and how many people are employed by each local authority to improve benefit take-up. [15150]

Malcolm Wicks: The information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

19 Dec 2001 : Column: 367W


Secondment (BP)

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister how many BP employees are on secondment to the Government; for what purposes; and on what terms. [22990]

The Prime Minister: The Government are committed to interchange which promotes the exchange of people and good practice between the Civil Service and other organisations.

Information about individual secondments to Government from outside organisations is not held centrally.

Since May 1997 there have been no inward secondments from BP to the Cabinet Office, including No. 10.

Interception of Communications

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister (1) in respect of the allegations made by Lord Ahmed of telephone tapping, for what reason his spokesman departed from the normal policy of neither confirming nor denying; and if he will make a statement; [24375]

The Prime Minister: As I informed the House on 30 October 1997, Official Report, column 861, Government policy remains as stated in 1966 by the then Prime Minister, the Lord Wilson of Rievaulx. In answer to questions on 17 November 1966, Lord Wilson said that he had given instructions that there was to be no tapping of the telephones of Members of the House of Commons and that if there were a development which required a change of policy, he would at such moment as seemed compatible with the security of the country, on his own initiative, make a statement in the House about it. The then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Lord Bassam, confirmed on 27 September 2000 that this policy extended to Members of the House of Lords.

With this long-standing exception in relation to Members of Parliament, it remains the normal policy of the Government neither to confirm nor deny allegations in respect of interception matters.

National Health Service Review

Dr. Fox: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will publish the terms of reference of the inquiry into the NHS headed by Adair Turner; and if he will publish the final report; [24092]

The Prime Minister: Adair Turner is working with my Forward Strategy Unit to provide advice as required on taking forward the NHS Plan and its objectives. Internal policy advice to Ministers remains confidential. Any decisions made by Ministers in the light of it will, of course, be made public.

19 Dec 2001 : Column: 368W

European Union

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Prime Minister what the purpose is of the proposal to create an elected President of Europe discussed at the European Union Summit; if the proposal is subject to unanimity; and what the policy of Her Majesty's Government is on the issue. [24287]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the right hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. Redwood) in the House on 17 December 2001, Official Report, columns 34–35.

Quality of Life Speech

Mr. Allen: To ask the Prime Minister what progress has been made on the issues outlined in his Quality of Life speech in April; and if he will make a statement. [21926]

The Prime Minister: We are delivering on our commitment to improve the lives of people through the regeneration of our communities and neighbourhoods. The Neighbourhood Renewal Unit was established in April 2001, dedicated to ensuring no one is seriously disadvantaged by where they live. Substantial resources have been made available, including the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund which will provide £900 million over the next three years to improve services in the most deprived neighbourhoods. Proposals in the Police Bill and Local Government White Paper will also take forward the liveability agenda, helping to make our streets and neighbourhoods safer, cleaner and more accessible.


Departmental Spending

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the total expenditure was on (a) advertising, (b) polling, (c) focus groups, (d) design consultants, (e) caterers, (f) production of departmental publications and (g) photographs/photographers by her Department for each year since 1995 in (i) cash and (ii) real terms; what was (A) the annual percentage increase in spending on each category and (B) spending on each category as a percentage of the total departmental running costs; and if she will make a statement. [6922]

Mrs. Liddell: The Government are committed to using only whatever media and channels are judged to be the most cost-effective way to deliver the publicity necessary to support the implementation of policy. Paid advertising is only resorted to after careful consideration of the cost benefits.

As the volume of information requested spans Scottish Office/Scotland Office dates, I shall write to the hon. Member with the information as soon as possible.

Press Notices

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many (a) press notices and (b) consultation documents were issued by her Department during the Summer recess. [9226]

19 Dec 2001 : Column: 369W

Mrs. Liddell [holding answer 23 November 2001]: 59 press notices were issued during the summer recess. They are published on the Scotland Office website, which is freely available to the public. No consultation documents were issued during the period.

Departmental Promotions

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much her Department spent on information literature, advertising and campaign material in the financial years (a) 1995–96, (b) 1996–97, (c) 1997–98, (d) 1998–99, (e) 1999–2000 and (f) 2000–01; and if she will make a statement. [12276]

Mrs. Liddell: The Scottish Office spends on information literature, advertising and campaign material are listed:


YearTotal spend
1999-June 1999878,330

The Scotland Office was established in its present form on 1 July 1999. The spends on information literature, advertising and campaign material since this date are listed.


YearTotal spend
1 July 1999–20001,131.63

Departmental Name Change

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the cost was of re-branding her Department following its name change after the general election. [17863]

Mrs. Liddell: My Department did not change its name after the general election.

Air Services

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions she has had with (a) airline companies and (b) others regarding the extra costs of flights to and from Scotland since 11 September. [22969]

Mrs. Liddell: On 3 December I hosted a meeting attended by most of the major airlines, airport operators, business representatives and development and tourism agencies.

While some of the airlines have experienced additional security costs following the events of 11 September, a number of operators confirmed that they were successfully generating new business.

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