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John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the funding for the Health and Safety Executive in (a) 200304 and (b) each of the last three years, broken down by region. 
|Budget1 (£ million)|
John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many health and safety inspectors there are in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales, and how many there were in each year since 1998. 
Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many health and safety inspectors are employed by his Department; and how many were employed in each of the last five years; 
The Department for Work and Pensions does not employ Health and Safety Inspectors. However, since 2002 it has been responsible for sponsoring the Health and Safety Executive (HSE); the
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number of Heath and Safety Inspectors employed by HSE in each of the last five years is given in the following table.
|1 April 1998||1,437|
|1 April 1999||1,497|
|1 April 2000||1,507|
|1 April 2001||1,534|
|1 April 2002||1,625|
|1 April 2003||1,651|
Mr. Pond: Our overall strategy for reforming housing benefit is to improve administration, promote choice and responsibility, enhance work incentives and reduce levels of fraud and error in the system.
We are abolishing the need to automatically reclaim housing benefit after a set period, and in October we launched Rapid Reclaim for Housing Benefit. This has removed barriers to taking and declaring work by reducing concerns about the delays in reclaiming benefits if a job does not last.
And in his most recent Budget statement, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer reaffirmed our commitment to reform housing benefit. He announced new measures to apply the 30-hour disregard in housing benefit and council tax benefit to those working between 16 and 29 hours per week; to change the hospital downrating rules so that there will be no reduction in benefit for those in hospital for up to 52 weeks; and to extend the housing benefit run-on to people receiving incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance.
Income support gross benefit expenditure in Scotland for 200203 was £1,521,323,469.27. This figure is not available broken down by local authority area but is available by district and local office, and this information has placed in the Library.
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Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reason the Plain English Campaign's Crystal Mark does not apply to the section on collecting and using information on page 6 of the Information about Pension Credit leaflet, ref. PC1N 04/03. 
Malcolm Wicks: The section in question derives from the requirements of the Fair Processing Code of the Data Protection Act 1998 and is common to a number of the Department's forms and leaflets. Minor changes to the original wording suggested by the Plain English Campaign were not considered to be consistent with its intended meaning.
Mr. Flight: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many outsourced IT contracts have been signed by his Department in each year since 1997; how much each of these contracts is worth; with whom they are signed; how many have been renegotiated; how many are still in place; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: The question covers periods prior to the establishment of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in June 2001. This reply therefore relates to outsourced IT contracts signed by the former Employment Service and the former Department for Social Security, both of whom had made their own contractual arrangements prior to merging to form DWP. No further outsourced IT contracts have been signed since the formation of DWP.
IT Partnership Agreement: On 1 August 1998, the Employment Service outsourced its IT work in a contract with Electronic Data Systems. In October 2000, the agreement was revised to reflect major new investment in IT and telephony to improve services for jobless people and employers in the Modernising Employment Service (MES) Project.
Strategic Outsourcing Business Allocation (SOBA): On 1 September 2000, the Department of Social Security outsourced the provision of its IT design, development, delivery functions and operations to Electronic Data Systems, as prime contractor of the Affinity consortium.
In 200203, the Department spent £103 million on IT maintenance, although this figure does not include any local service agreements that may have
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been negotiated outside the central contracts. £4 million was spent on software licences and £142 million was spent on hardware, mostly in connection with the provision of new desktop IT equipment in the Department. Software costs are often not separately identified from the hardware to which they relate.
The above information does not include costs of licenses, software and hardware where these are provided via PFI/PPP service contracts. In these circumstances, the costs form part of the service charge and are not separately identified.
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