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Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if his Department was involved in consultation with the Health and Safety Executive prior to the removal of glass security screens from new Jobcentre Plus offices. 
Maria Eagle: This Government are committed to removing barriers to work for severely disabled people, making work possible and making it pay for those who can move into employment. To this end the Departments of Health and for Work and Pensions have both recently announced significant improvements in this area. The Department of Health issued new guidance for local councils setting out a new fairer charging framework for home care services on 23 November requiring councils to disregard earnings in assessing ability to pay a charge by no later than 1 October 2002.
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions announced in his uprating statement on 28 November that the earnings rule in the independent living funds will be abolished from April 2002, removing a disincentive for severely disabled people and/or their partners to obtain or retain work, or to seek advancement at work.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action has been taken by each local authority in (a) 19992000 and (b) 200001 to increase benefit take-up; how much each campaign has cost; and how many people are employed by each local authority to improve benefit take-up. 
19 Dec 2001 : Column: 367W
Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister (1) in respect of the allegations made by Lord Ahmed of telephone tapping, for what reason his spokesman departed from the normal policy of neither confirming nor denying; and if he will make a statement; 
The Prime Minister: As I informed the House on 30 October 1997, Official Report, column 861, Government policy remains as stated in 1966 by the then Prime Minister, the Lord Wilson of Rievaulx. In answer to questions on 17 November 1966, Lord Wilson said that he had given instructions that there was to be no tapping of the telephones of Members of the House of Commons and that if there were a development which required a change of policy, he would at such moment as seemed compatible with the security of the country, on his own initiative, make a statement in the House about it. The then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Lord Bassam, confirmed on 27 September 2000 that this policy extended to Members of the House of Lords.
The Prime Minister: Adair Turner is working with my Forward Strategy Unit to provide advice as required on taking forward the NHS Plan and its objectives. Internal policy advice to Ministers remains confidential. Any decisions made by Ministers in the light of it will, of course, be made public.
19 Dec 2001 : Column: 368W
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Prime Minister what the purpose is of the proposal to create an elected President of Europe discussed at the European Union Summit; if the proposal is subject to unanimity; and what the policy of Her Majesty's Government is on the issue. 
The Prime Minister: We are delivering on our commitment to improve the lives of people through the regeneration of our communities and neighbourhoods. The Neighbourhood Renewal Unit was established in April 2001, dedicated to ensuring no one is seriously disadvantaged by where they live. Substantial resources have been made available, including the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund which will provide £900 million over the next three years to improve services in the most deprived neighbourhoods. Proposals in the Police Bill and Local Government White Paper will also take forward the liveability agenda, helping to make our streets and neighbourhoods safer, cleaner and more accessible.
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the total expenditure was on (a) advertising, (b) polling, (c) focus groups, (d) design consultants, (e) caterers, (f) production of departmental publications and (g) photographs/photographers by her Department for each year since 1995 in (i) cash and (ii) real terms; what was (A) the annual percentage increase in spending on each category and (B) spending on each category as a percentage of the total departmental running costs; and if she will make a statement. 
Mrs. Liddell: The Government are committed to using only whatever media and channels are judged to be the most cost-effective way to deliver the publicity necessary to support the implementation of policy. Paid advertising is only resorted to after careful consideration of the cost benefits.
19 Dec 2001 : Column: 369W
Mrs. Liddell [holding answer 23 November 2001]: 59 press notices were issued during the summer recess. They are published on the Scotland Office website, which is freely available to the public. No consultation documents were issued during the period.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much her Department spent on information literature, advertising and campaign material in the financial years (a) 199596, (b) 199697, (c) 199798, (d) 199899, (e) 19992000 and (f) 200001; and if she will make a statement. 
|1 July 19992000||1,131.63|
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions she has had with (a) airline companies and (b) others regarding the extra costs of flights to and from Scotland since 11 September. 
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