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Benefit Payment Methods

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of benefits claimants have moved to a system of (a) automated credit transfer and (b) direct payment of benefits into a bank account since this service has been available. [34795]

Malcolm Wicks: Over 40 per cent. of benefit claimants are already paid by ACT directly into a bank or other account. The number is rising by two to three percentage points every year, showing that the status quo is not an option, because people are already voting with their feet.

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Jobseeker's Allowance

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many jobseeker's allowance claimants have had their benefit reduced as result of non-compliance in basic skills courses. [30344]

Malcolm Wicks: Six sanctions have been applied in the JSA basic skills pilots areas testing mandatory attendance on basic skills provision.

Community Sentence Orders

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which areas are piloting the provision in the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000 to reduce benefit for claimants who breach community service orders; and how many claimants in each area have been sanctioned since the pilots began. [27767]

Malcolm Wicks: There are four probation service areas piloting the provisions of the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000 relating to the reduction of benefit for people who breach community sentence orders. The four areas are Derbyshire, Hertfordshire, Teesside and West Midlands (as detailed in SI 2001 No. 2619 (C.86)).

The pilot began on 15 October 2001. As at 1 February 2002, a total of 272 warning letters had been issued to those referred to court for breach proceedings. On 1 February 2002 four claimants had been sanctioned: three were from the Teesside pilot area and one from West Midlands. A slow start was expected because the measures do not apply retrospectively to breaches occurring before that date.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

Emergency Planning

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will introduce (a) a programme of emergency loans for businesses affected by disaster and (b) a disaster-planning unit to produce disaster plans for foreseeable disasters. [37590]

Mr. Leslie: Advice to businesses on handling emergencies and planning for business continuity is available on the website www.ukresilience.info. The Government advice is that individual businesses should ensure that they are adequately insured.

In addition, the Government have asked the Small Business Service (SBS) to undertake an analysis of the existing financial support from the public and private sector for small businesses affected by disaster. Working with HM Treasury the SBS are identifying current market provision and will report back to Government with its findings and recommendations.

The Civil Contingencies Secretariat in the Cabinet Office is co-ordinating the work being done in support of the Civil Contingencies Committee's current comprehensive review of the country's plans for dealing with emergencies.

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Central Office of Information

Mr. Collins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to revise and publish the guidelines governing the political impartiality of the Central Office of Information. [37157]

Mr. Leslie: None. As with all civil servants, staff in the Central Office of Information are required to conduct themselves in accordance with the requirements of the Civil Service Code. The Guidance on the Work of the Government Information also applies.

Union Duties

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many staff in his Department, agencies and non- departmental public bodies receive paid leave to undertake union duties; how many days they are allocated; and what has been the cost to public funds in each of the last four years. [36203]

Mr. Leslie: The information is as follows:


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Accountancy (Secondments)

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will publish a list of the employees of (a) Arthur Andersen, (b) Deloitte and Touche, (c) Ernst and Young, (d) KPMG and (e) PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants who have been seconded to work for the Government in each year since 1997. [33416]

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many staff were seconded between (a) PWC Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers, (b) Ernst and Young, (c) Deloitte and Touche, (d) KPMG and (e) Andersen and his Department in (i) 1999–2000, (ii) 2000–01 and (iii) April 2001 to the latest date for which figures are available. [33862]

Mr. Leslie: The information provided has been collected from Government Departments. Departments provided details of when any secondment started, to avoid double counting. A secondment covers all periods from three months to three years or more. When any secondment is set up great care is taken to ensure that no conflict of interest issues arise.

Arthur AndersenDeloitte and ToucheErnst and YoungKPMGPricewaterhouseCoopers
1997–9821119
1998–9931213
1999–200012345
2000–0111624

Energy Industry

Tom Brake: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the value was of each sponsorship of Government (a) Departments and (b) events there has been by (i) BP, (ii) Shell, (iii) Exxon-Mobil, (iv) Enron, (v) Conoco, (vi) Texaco and (vii) TotaFinaElf (viii) in the last five years; when each occurred; if he will place related documentation in the Library; and if he will make a statement. [33220]

The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State: In line with the Government's commitment in their response to the sixth report from the Committee on Standards in Public Life, details of individual amounts of sponsorship valued at more than £5,000 will be disclosed in Departmental Annual Reports.

Advertising

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what has been the expenditure of his (a) Department, (b) agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies on newspaper advertising by title in each year since 1997. [26992]

Mr. Leslie: Expenditure on newspaper advertising since 1997 is as follows.

£000

DepartmentAgencies
1997–98237
1998–99242
1999–200055214
2000–0169711

Expenditure for non-departmental public bodies is included within the Department figures and could be separately identified only at disproportionate cost.

The vast majority of the increase in advertising and spend between 1998–99 and 2000–01 was for recruitment advertising for open competition posts.

Each campaign may use national and regional media. The target audience/message to be conveyed influences our choice of media. For national advertising, a mix of broadsheets and tabloids have been used frequently. For regional advertising, space has been taken in many prominent regional newspapers as well as hundreds of more local papers.

A breakdown of their expenditure on newspaper advertising by title could be supplied only at disproportionate cost.