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Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans the Benefits Agency has to review procedures for assessing applicants for disability benefits for sufferers of CFS/ME. 
Maria Eagle: The Department for Work and Pensions recognises the chronic fatigue syndromes (including ME) as potentially debilitating illnesses. The rules of disability benefits, and the guidance given to those who make decisions on entitlement, as well as those doctors who assist in gathering evidence and interpreting it, already take account of this.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how current spending on housing benefit is divided between (a) local authority, (b) housing association, (c) privately rented and (d) other categories of accommodation. 
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|Rent rebates (local authority tenants)||5,361|
|Rent allowanceregistered social landlord tenants||3,385|
|Rent allowanceprivate tenants||2,932|
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest £ million and are consistent with, and underlie, the forecasts published in the Chancellor's pre-Budget report, November 2001.
2. Figures may not sum due to rounding.
3. The figure for rent allowance paid to social landlord tenants includes housing association and non-housing association accommodation. Separate data on rent allowance paid to housing association tenants only are not collected.
Estimated out-turn expenditure calculated using actual caseload information
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Sir John Stanley: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what amendments the Government are seeking to the September 2001 text of the draft Council regulations on the mutual enforcement of judgments on rights of access to children; and if it is the Government's policy that this Council regulation should take legal effect. 
Mr. Wills: The proposal referred to was an initiative of the French presidency in July 2000, to which substantial amendments were made during the Belgian presidency, and it is expected that it will be subsumed into the recent Commission proposal on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matters of parental responsibility.
Sir John Stanley: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what amendments the Government are seeking to the September 2001 proposal for a Council regulation on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matters of parental responsibility; and if it is the Government's policy that this Council regulation should take legal effect. 
Mr. Wills: The Government support the underlying aim of this proposalnamely, to extend the principle of mutual recognition to all decisions on parental responsibility by establishing a clear and coherent set of rules for attributing jurisdiction, and putting in place arrangements for co-operation between the courts and central authorities of the member states. The Government are concerned to ensure that negotiations take full account of the operation of the 1980 Hague Convention on Child Abduction. Negotiations are still at an early stage, and it is too early to assess whether the proposal should be adopted by Ministers and incorporated into national legislation.
Sir John Stanley: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will list the actions that the Government may take to further the implementation and financing of the conclusions and recommendations of the March 2001 Meeting of the Special Commission to Review the Operation of the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. 
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Ms Rosie Winterton: We will continue to work with the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference and with other States Parties to the Convention in order to take forward the work resulting from the Special Commission. The Final Report on the Special Commission is expected shortly, and the Permanent Bureau is planning to complete its Final Report on Transfrontier Access/Contact in May 2002.
In addition to our standard contribution to the Hague Conference, which this year amounts to £70,514, we have made a grant of £14,452.85 to the Permanent Bureau in the current financial year, in order to assist them in carrying forward their work on children conventions. We have also subscribed a further £5,000 towards the costs of maintaining and developing the International Child Abduction Database (INCADAT).
The UK sent a delegation of senior judges and officials to a conference arranged by the Permanent Bureau at De Ruwenberg in October 2001 at which judicial co-operation and good practice in central authorities were discussed. France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United States were also represented. The Permanent Bureau has begun work on producing a Good Practice Guide, and we will continue to support this.
The Permanent Bureau is currently considering whether to recommend the convening of a follow-up Special Commission later this year, in order to continue work on good practice, on transfrontier contact and on judicial co-operation. If the Special Commission takes place, the United Kingdom will send a delegation.
The Permanent Bureau also now issues questionnaires to newly acceding member states and we will take this into account in considering whether to accept their accessions in relation to the United Kingdom.
We are also providing encouragement and support to countries considering whether to join the convention. My officials have taken part in a conference of southern African countries considering child abduction and other child protection issues in London this week, and I attended and addressed the conference on 23 January.
Mr. Wills: Magistrates Courts Committees have responsibility for the collection of a range of debts imposed through the courts, including not only fines but also fees, compensation, confiscation orders, legal aid contributions and some maintenance orders. It is not possible to separate out just the fines from the total.
Arrears is described as the total of missed lump sums or missed instalments on impositions where deferred payment was allowed. The total amount of money owed to the courts at the end of September 2001 which was in arrears was £224,694,570.
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