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Annual Leave

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average annual leave entitlement is for staff in his Department in 2002. [64651]

Ruth Kelly: The annual leave entitlement for staff below the senior civil service is:


Information about average leave entitlement can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Insurance Cover

Brian Cotter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what procedures are in place to assess and monitor information compiled by the insurance industry as a basis for determining contracts of cover. [64935]

Ruth Kelly: Determining whether to offer cover, and terms and prices of contracts, are for the commercial judgment of insurers. Except for certain specified circumstances, insurers are free to gather and use whatever obtainable information they believe is relevant. It is in insurers' interests to only use relevant and accurate information. Government does not assess or monitor the compilation of such information.

Flooding

Brian Cotter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations his Department has received on the accuracy of information compiled by the insurance industry relating to flood risks; and what action he plans to take. [64936]

Ruth Kelly: The Treasury regularly receives representations on a wide variety of issues. The Environment Agency is working hard to improve the availability of accurate flood risk information; this includes liaison with the Association of British Insurers.

Nauru

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what counter measures the United Kingdom Government have taken in respect of the Financial Action Task Force recommendations concerning Nauru; and if he will make a statement. [65106]

Ruth Kelly: The UK has implemented all the FATF counter measures against Nauru, through guidance issued by the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group.

UK financial institutions conduct enhanced scrutiny of business dealings with financial institutions from all countries on the FATF's Non Co-operative Countries and Territories list. In the case of Nauru, UK financial institutions would treat business dealings with even greater caution and would be more likely to make a Suspicious Transaction Report to the National Criminal Intelligence Service.

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Ministerial Visits

Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many EU applicant countries he has visited since 1 May 1999. [65402]

Ruth Kelly: The Chancellor of the Exchequer visited Malta on 20 September 2000 to attend the Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting.

Ministerial Meetings

Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last met the Chairman of the IMF. [65401]

Ruth Kelly: The Chancellor of the Exchequer regularly meets Horst Kohler, the Managing Director of the IMF, including at the international meetings of the IMF, World bank and G7 Finance Ministers' Meetings.

Early Retirement

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would have been the impact on (a) tax revenues, (b) pension funds and (c) gross domestic product if all those who have taken early retirement had instead worked until their statutory retirement age for the period 1982 to 2002. [65018]

Ruth Kelly: Between 1984 and 2000 activity rates of individuals aged 50 and over have remained broadly constant at just under 70 per cent., with the male activity rate falling slightly while the female rate has risen. Currently, only 39 per cent. of men are still in employment at age 64, 47 per cent. of women at age 59.

With increasing life expectancy, pensions will have to last longer requiring more pension saving by individuals themselves and through occupational arrangements. The Government have policies in place to enable and encourage people to work longer and save more for retirement. The new deal 50 plus was introduced nationally in April 2000, and has helped over 60,000 older people find work. The Government are also, through the Age Positive campaign, challenging ageist employment practices; and is committed to legislating against age discrimination in employment and training by 2006.

SCOTLAND

Ministerial Training

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much has been spent by her Department on training in leadership skills for Ministers and officials in each of the last five years. [52721]

Mrs. Liddell [holding answer 26 April 2002]: The Scotland Office was established on 1 July 1999.

Since that date my Department has incurred no expenditure in leadership skills for Ministers. Officials in my Department have access to a wide range of training and development opportunities including leadership skills. Leadership is often one element of a wider personal development programme. Information on the amount attributed to development of leadership skills from such programmes could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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Data Protection

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans she has to propose legislation on the application of the Data Protection Act 1998 in relation to unstructured personal information in manual form, so that the rights of access granted to data subjects are the same in Scotland as they are in England; and if she will make a statement. [59207]

Mrs. Liddell: While the subject matter of the Data Protection Act 1998 is reserved, the amendments made by the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to extend the scope of the Data Protection Act to cover unstructured personal data held by UK public authorities (as defined in the Freedom of Information Act) do not apply to such data held by Scottish public authorities. However, the Scottish Executive has indicated that it intends to provide the same rights of access to personal information held by Scottish public authorities as those contained in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as regards personal information held by UK public authorities.

Certified Timber

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will list the refurbishment projects that (a) are in progress and (b) will start within the next six months; and what action is being taken to ensure that these will procure certified timber. [59773]

Mrs. Liddell: My Department has no refurbishment projects in progress or planned within the next six months.

Scottish Older People's Consultative Forum

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many seats the Scottish Older People Advisory Group has on the Scottish Older People's Consultative Forum. [64845]

Mrs. McGuire: The Scottish Older People's Consultative Forum is chaired by the Scottish Executive and considers devolved matters. Therefore, any questions about its composition are for the Scottish Parliament.

ADVOCATE-GENERAL

Ministerial Training

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Advocate-General how much has been spent by her Department on training in leadership skills for Ministers and officials in each of the last five years. [52722]

The Advocate-General [holding answer 26 April 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given today by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

WORK AND PENSIONS

Benefits

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many persons were entitled to receive each benefit and tax credit at the most recent date

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for which information is available; and how many had (a) become entitled and (b) ceased to be entitled, in the preceding 12 months. [35217]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 11 June 2002]: We aim to ensure that people are in an informed position to make choices on whether to claim benefit and we are the first Government to encourage the active pursuit of take-up initiatives as a means of tackling pensioner poverty. On 30 May 2000 we launched the minimum income guarantee (MIG) take-up campaign and this resulted in a further 127,371 successful MIG claims.

The available information on benefit take-up is published in the Income-Related Benefits Estimates of Take-Up in 1999–2000, a copy of which is available in the Library. Tax credits are the responsibility of the Inland Revenue.

Information on the number of people receiving social security benefits is available in the Library in the following publications:


The available information on the number of people who have stopped and started receiving social security benefits has been placed in the Library. In addition, this table gives the number of people receiving bereavement benefits, child benefit, guardians allowance, industrial injuries disablement benefit, invalid care allowance, maternity allowance and reduced earnings allowance.


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