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Driving at Work

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The Government have no statistics on which to base an estimate of the proportion of drivers who are "at work".

The estimate referred to in Driving at work: Managing work-related safety, that up to a third of all UK road traffic incidents may involve someone who is at work, comes from the conclusions of the Work-related Road Safety Task Group. The task group's report, which was published in November 2001, may be viewed at:

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Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they have taken to ensure compliance with the Health and Safety Executive document of September Driving at Work. [HL4608]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The publication Driving at work: Managing work-related road safety, jointly published by the Health and Safety Executive and the Department for Transport, is a guidance document that has no legal status and does not require compliance. The guidance is designed to raise awareness about employers' responsibilities for work related driving activity, where relevant, under existing health and safety law. It contains advice on how these responsibilities can be carried out, to assist employers meet their obligations.

Jobseekers Act 1995: Actively Seeking Work Obligation

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the obligation under the Jobseekers Act 1995 on claimants to prove that they are actively seeking work carries a corresponding obligation on employers to acknowledge receipt of applications and their rejection where appropriate; and, if not, whether they take the view that there should be such obligation on employers.[HL4634]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: As jobseekers are not required under the Jobseekers Act 1995 to provide written evidence that they are taking reasonable steps to obtain employment it is not necessary to place an obligation to provide written evidence on employers.

When a jobseeker makes a claim for jobseeker's allowance they agree the steps they will take to actively seek work. This is recorded on their jobseeker's agreement and reviewed on a regular basis. Jobseekers are advised to keep any evidence of applications and the steps they have taken, not only for their own records, but to enable further advice and assistance to be provided.

If any doubt arises about the action that a jobseeker is taking, they will be asked to provide additional evidence. If it appears that they are no longer actively seeking employment, a statement will be taken from them. The statement will include details of the steps they have taken, why they think these were the best steps to take, details of anything that restricted their jobseeking activities and an explanation of why the steps agreed on their jobseeker's agreement have not been followed. The personal adviser will also provide a statement explaining why they consider the steps taken to be inadequate.

These statements, together with the jobseeker's agreement and any other evidence supplied by the jobseeker, are then passed to an independent decision-maker. They will look at the evidence and make a decision regarding entitlement to jobseeker's allowance. If benefit is disallowed the jobseeker will be advised of their right to appeal.

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New Deal for Lone Parents

Lord Roberts of Conwy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the total cost of the Government's New Deal for Lone Parents in 2002–03; and how much of the total was received directly by the participants.[HL4647]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The forecast outturn for total expenditure on New Deal for Lone Parents in 2002–03 is £79.08 million. Of this, £15 million was incurred making training allowance payments to lone parents and meeting the additional costs incurred by lone parents through their participation in the programme such as, for example childcare and travel refunds. Elements of this £15 million are paid to third parties and details of the amount paid direct to lone parents could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

National Insurance Numbers

Lord Northbrook asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many national insurance numbers are in issue; and what steps are being made to limit their allocation to those who are entitled to them.[HL4714]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The total stock of national insurance numbers (NINOs) is 71.5 million. The vast majority of NINOs are issued to UK born residents at the age of 15 years and 9 months. The enhanced NINO process (ENP) which almost exclusively affects people entering the UK from abroad, was introduced in April 2001 to ensure a thorough and consistent approach to NINO allocation for benefit applications and for those starting work or in employment. This robust process includes face-to-face interviews for all clients, the provision of document examination tools and comprehensive guidance for interviewing staff. Only when this process is satisfactorily completed will a NINO be allocated.

Paralympic Games 2004: Women's Wheelchair Basketball

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether qualification for the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens will lead to the selection of a Great Britain's women's wheelchair basketball team.[HL4672]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): A team to represent Great Britain will be selected provided that a sufficient number of women meet the selection criteria agreed between the British Paralympic Association and the governing body, the GB Wheelchair Basketball Association.

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UK and EU Parliaments: Costs

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will give their latest estimate of the total annual cost to public funds of the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the European Parliament, expressed in pounds sterling per Member.[HL4687]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Precise comparisons between the cost of the European Parliament and the United Kingdom Parliament are difficult. The latest

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information is as follows. The figures for the House of Commons and the House of Lords have been provided by these bodies, which are independent of government.

The per capita figures in respect of the House of Commons given in my reply of 19 June (WA 146) have been slightly amended for 1999–2000 to 2001–02 in the light of more up-to-date information provided by the House of Commons concerning their total costs. A revised table is set out below.

The second table sets out the latest costs to UK public funds together with the per capita cost of each of the bodies concerned.

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Total Cash Costs (£ million)

European Parliament(1)712.0610.0597.0614.2568.7663.2
of which UK cost is98.9102.790.161.080.491.5
House of Commons 259.7256.3253.9249.1268.4280.3
House of Lords 43.345.345.757.457.666.5

Per Capita Cash Cost per member to UK public funds (£000)

European Parliament(4) 1,1379749549819081,059
of which UK cost is15816414497128146
House of Commons(3)394389385378407425
House of Lords(2)383767818396


Based on calendar years and average £/ecu or Euro exchange rate for the relevant year. The cost to the UK is derived from the UK's financing share after abatement.

Per capita cost based on the number of Peers eligible to sit in the House of Lords at the beginning of each year. The number of Peers has reduced significantly since the House of Lords Act 1999 when 655 hereditary Peers ceased to be Members from November 1999.

Per capita cost based on an assumption of 659 Members.

Per capita cost based on an assumption of 626 seats in the European Parliament.

The 2003-03 figures are based on provisional outturns.

The 2003-04 figures are based on provisional estimates.

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Death Certificates

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will link death certificates with birth records wherever possible and require death certificates to note the deceased's national insurance number so as to help prevent identity theft.[HL4819]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Registrar General who has been asked to reply.

Letter from the Registrar General, Len Cook, to Lord Laird, dated 21 October 2003.

As Registrar General for England and Wales, I have been asked to reply to your recent question on linking death certificates with birth records and the possible inclusion of national insurance numbers on death certificates. (HL4819)

The proposals to modernise civil registration include the linkage of a person's marriage and death record to their birth record, thus creating a through life record. Changes to legislation are necessary and are being taken forward using the provisions in the Regulatory Reform Act.

The Department for Work and Pension is notified each week of all deaths registered in England and

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Wales. There are no plans to include the national insurance number in the information collected at death registration.

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