Previous Section Index Home Page

5 Mar 2008 : Column 2596W—continued

5 Mar 2008 : Column 2597W

Departmental Telephone Services

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which agencies under his Department’s responsibilities use the (a) 0845 and (b) 0870 telephone codes for customer enquiries; how many 0845 and 0870 telephone codes each agency uses; and how much revenue was generated for each of these codes by each agency in each of the last five years. [183887]

Mrs. McGuire: None of my Department’s agencies use 0870 numbers for customer inquiries. Information on the use of 0845 numbers is in the table:

Agency 0845 numbers in use

Child Support Agency


Jobcentre Plus


The Pension Service


Disability and Carers Service


In addition, although not formally an agency, the Department’s debt management service uses nineteen 0845 numbers.

The high number of lines in the CSA reflects a one- time business model which gave each agent a direct dial number that clients could use to contact a specific person. The facility still exists but its use is minimal since the agency adopted an advanced telephony model with an area based single number for clients, which routes calls to the person best equipped to answer the query.

The Department received a rebate of £1,463,738.45 for the period covering 1 October 2005 to 30 November 2007 and this was used to pay for other telecommunication services. No information is available for any earlier period and no breakdown of this figure is available. The Department ceased this arrangement on 14 December 2007 and no longer receives any rebate. This change in arrangement does not affect the charge a customer pays for contacting the Department.

Departmental Translation Services

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of his Department’s translation and interpreting work is outsourced through framework agreements with commercial providers; and if he will make a statement. [189160]

Mrs. McGuire: Under the Race Relations Amendment Act (2000) and the Disability Discrimination Act (1995), the Department has a responsibility to make appropriate provision to communicate with customers who do not speak English or Welsh, or who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, or who provide the Department, at our request, with legal or official documents written in a foreign language.

The Department for Work and Pensions provides a national range of translation and interpreting services across all of its agencies that include, but are not limited to, the following:

5 Mar 2008 : Column 2598W

In order to deliver these services on a national basis the Department for Work and Pensions has established a number of framework agreements via full open tender processes with a number of external providers.

All of the above services are outsourced except for a small number of multi-lingual staff who offer their services on an as required basis within their local office.

Disability Living Allowance: Elderly

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons disability living allowance is not available for the first time to people over the age of 65. [189875]

Mrs. McGuire: The aim of disability living allowance is to focus additional help with the extra costs of disability on people who are severely disabled early, or relatively early, in life.

Attendance allowance provides help with the disability-related extra costs of people who experience the onset of disability after age 65.

Housing Benefit: Administration

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he proposes to introduce a linking rule for customers on housing benefit with short breaks in claims before transferring them to local housing allowance. [189538]

Mr. Plaskitt: We will not be introducing linking rules in the local housing allowance (LHA) regulations

Any linking rules would introduce complexity into the LHA scheme, undermining one of our key objectives, which is to reduce complexity within benefits.

Incapacity Benefit

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the proportion of incapacity benefit claimants who have had a full, independent medical assessment. [181646]

Mrs. McGuire: All new claimants of incapacity benefits have always been subject to medical assessment in order to establish their eligibility to the benefit.

Since 3 April 2000, the Personal Capability Assessment has generally been applied from the outset of a claim although there are some exceptions.

It is not possible to calculate the proportion of incapacity benefit claimants who have had a full medical assessment.

Incapacity Benefits: Industrial Diseases

Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many disablement benefit awards have been paid to those with (a) asbestoses, (b) mesothelioma and (c) other asbestos-related diseases, broken down by (i) region and (ii) sex; how much has
5 Mar 2008 : Column 2599W
been paid in such compensation in each year; and what the total annual value of the payments made has been. [178608]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 31 January 2008]: The available information has been placed in the Library.

Industrial Accidents

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the rate of accidents among (a) temporary, (b) short-term, (c) low-qualified and (d) permanent workers were in each year since 1997. [188388]

Mrs. McGuire: Figures from the labour force survey (LFS) for the three-year period 2003-04 to 2005-06 indicate that the average rate of reportable accidents for all workers (which includes temporary, short-term and permanent workers) is 1,090 per 100,000 workers. The figure for workers in occupations requiring few or no qualifications is 2,070 per 100,000 workers. The structure of questions in the LFS does not allow reliable comparison of separate accident rates for temporary, short-term and permanent workers. The aforementioned rates quoted are not available for each year requested without incurring disproportionate cost.

Industrial Health and Safety

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent representations he has received on funding for worker safety advisers. [188362]

Mrs. McGuire: Recent representations on funding for worker safety advisers in the construction industry have been received from the Strategic Forum for Construction’s Health and Safety Group.

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he has taken to reduce the health and safety risks of (a) migrant, (b) temporary agency, (c) women, (d) young and (e) older workers. [188387]

Mrs. McGuire: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) works to ensure dutyholders properly control risks to all workers regardless of employment or migration status, age or gender. Its recent focus on migrant and temporary workers has included targeted inspection, investigation and enforcement; preparation of advice and guidance; collaborative work with Government Departments and other stakeholders; and research. On women, young and older workers, HSE’s work has included provision of web-based advice and guidance on reducing risks to young workers and to new and expectant mothers; collaboration with other agencies in health and safety awareness raising events; and sponsorship of research on the implications of an ageing work force.

Industrial Health and Safety: Black Economy

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment he has made of health and safety standards in the informal economy. [188363]

5 Mar 2008 : Column 2600W

Mrs. McGuire: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforces the requirements of health and safety legislation wherever it finds failings, regardless of the status of the workers affected. However, formal assessment of health and safety standards overall in the informal economy is by definition extremely difficult. HSE works in partnership with other Government Departments to identify and tackle failings in compliance wherever they occur. A recent example is our involvement in a programme of work to detect illegal employment of migrants in the West Midlands, and the use of information and intelligence arising from this to target inspection at workplaces, some of which were previously unknown to HSE.

Industrial Health and Safety: Stress

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of the health and safety implications of stress at work; and if he will make a statement. [188386]

Mrs. McGuire: Work-related stress is a major cause of occupational ill health, poor productivity and human error. That means increased sickness absence, high staff turnover and poor performance and a possible increase in accidents due to human error. My Department and the Health and Safety Executive recognise the impact that work-related stress can have on the British work force. HSE has therefore developed Management Standards for Work-related Stress, designed to address the key causes of stress at work and help employers, employees and their representatives manage the issue sensibly and minimise the impact of work-related stress on their businesses.

Industrial Health and Safety: Temporary Employment

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he has taken to ensure all temporary and agency workers are incorporated into the legal framework of health and safety. [188364]

Mrs. McGuire: Temporary and agency workers have been protected by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 since it came into force, and by relevant statutory provisions made under the Act since then, including in particular sections of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 applying specifically to workers in these categories. The Health and Safety Executive enforces the legislation in respect of this group in the same way as to any other group, as set out in its enforcement policy statement.

Kelda: Employment

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the likely employment effects of the takeover of Kelda by a private equity group. [189611]

Mr. McFadden: I have been asked to reply.

The acquisition of Kelda Group by Saltaire Water is a commercial matter for the enterprises concerned and their shareholders.

5 Mar 2008 : Column 2601W

Low Incomes: Children

Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department's estimate is of the number of children in (a) the UK, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) England living in families with incomes at or below 60 per cent. of median incomes; and what estimate he has made of the numbers living in such families in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. [189727]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 28 February 2008]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Cardiff, Central (Jenny Willott) on 29 October 2007, Official Report, column 745W.

5 Mar 2008 : Column 2602W

National Insurance Contributions: Females

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of women reaching the age of 68 in 2010 who will have (a) one, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four, (e) five, (f) six, (g) seven, (h) eight and (i) nine years too few of national insurance contributions to claim a full basic state pension. [178293]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Information in the format requested is not available. Estimates of women reaching 61 in 2003-04 (and due to reach age 68 in 2010-11) is provided in the following table. Figures refer to own contribution records only. Some of these women may be receiving higher amounts of basic state pension based on their husbands’ or former husbands’ contribution records.

Number of additional qualifying years needed to reach full basic state pension based on their own contribution record
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Number of women reaching 61 in 2003-04










1. Figures are taken from a 1 per cent. sample of the Lifetime Labour Market Database and so are subject to variation. Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand.
2. The figures in the table relate to cases where the women were deemed to be resident in the UK in 2003-04.
3. Dates refer to financial years i.e. 2003-04 covers the period from 6 April 2003 to 5 April 2004.
1 per cent. Information Directorate datasets, 2003-04.

Pathways to Work: Dorset

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the successful contractor for the Pathways scheme in Dorset will be announced; and when the contract will commence. [190613]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 29 February 2008]: The Pathways to Work service became available in Dorset in December 2006, and was introduced as part of the phase which completed the planned roll-out of Jobcentre Plus-led Pathways to Work in 18 districts across England, Scotland and Wales. Dorset does not receive the Pathways service through the provider-led model, therefore, there will be no overall delivery contract. As in all Jobcentre Plus-led Pathways districts, however, the service is delivered in partnership with local partner organisations.

Details about the availability of Jobcentre Plus-led Pathways services were made available through the use of marketing posters, leaflets and customer letters. Details of the offices delivering the service were posted on the Department’s website in December 2006.

Next Section Index Home Page