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17 Nov 2003 : Column 493W—continued

Pensioners (Council Tax)

Dr. Jack Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners were in receipt of (a) full and (b) partial council tax benefit in Copeland (i) in 1996–97 and (ii) in the last financial year for which figures are available; what percentage of all pensioners in Copeland this represents in each case; and if he will make a statement. [138471]

Mr. Pond: The available information is in the table.

Council tax benefit beneficiaries aged 60 and over in the North West Government Office Region: May 1997 and May 2002

Partial benefitFull benefitTotal
Number of beneficiaries
May 1997143,000181,000324,000
May 2002115,000259,000374,000
Beneficiaries as a percentage of people aged 60 and over in the NorthWest Government Office Region
May 199710.112.822.9
May 20028.118.226.2


1. Figures are based on a 1 per cent sample and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling variation.

2. Valid figures from a 1 per cent. sample are not available by local authority as they would be subject to a high degree of sampling error.

3. Caseload figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand.

4. Percentages have been rounded to one decimal place.

5. Figures exclude any Second Adult Rebate cases.

6. Beneficiaries are classed as claimants and/or partners aged 60 or over.


1. Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System, 1 per cent. sample.

2. ONS, Population Estimates Unit, Mid-1997 and 2002.


Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to amend the FRS17 account measure for company pension schemes; and if he will make a statement. [137121]

Malcolm Wicks: Amendment of FRS17 is not a Government responsibility. It set by the independent Accounting Standards Board for the purpose of providing clarity of liabilities in company accounts. Its full implementation has been deferred awaiting the development of a revised International Accounting Standard, being developed by the independent

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International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). It is anticipated that the revised international standard will be agreed by 2004.

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions by which means pensioners who receive their pension by order book and have not replied to his Department's literature about direct payment by April 2005 will receive their payments. [138797]

Maria Eagle: 90 per cent. of pensioners already have an account suitable to receive Direct Payment.

Key figures on the progress of conversion to Direct Payment are available in the Library and are updated every four weeks.

We will be writing to the remaining pensioners over the next year. In addition we will be making further contact with those who have not responded.

However, we have always recognised that there will be some people who are genuinely unable to operate any type of bank account. For those customers an exceptions method of payment will be available. It is likely that the exceptions method of payment will be a cheque based solution and will be available at Post Office branches.


Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many disabled people were employed by Remploy in each of the last four years. [135285]

Maria Eagle: Remploy directly supports disabled people through employment in one of its businesses, through placement with a third party employer, or by providing ongoing support to an employee of a mainstream employer to enable them to retain employment.

The actual number of disabled people employed by Remploy is different to the number the company supports under WORKSTEP, as it includes a small number of disabled people who are not supported by the programme and excludes a number of people who are supported by Remploy under the WORKSTEP programme, but who are employed by a third party.

Disabled people employed by Remploy

Disabled people supported by Remploy through WORKSTEPOf which employed by third party

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Winter Fuel Payments

Mr. Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate he has made of the number of people who were newly entitled to the winter fuel payment in 2003–04 in (a) North Staffordshire, (b) Stoke-on-Trent and (c) the Stoke-on-Trent South constituency; [137775]

Malcolm Wicks: The information is not available in the format requested. However, for the parliamentary constituencies of Stoke-on-Trent South, North and Central 3,911 winter fuel payment claim forms were issued to people who need to claim a payment for this winter. Of those 2,483 have submitted their claim forms.

We are publicising the availability of winter fuel payments and how to obtain a claim form. Those who need to claim for this winter have until 30 March 2004 to do so.

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) the City of Edinburgh local authority area, (b) Edinburgh West, (c) Edinburgh Central, (d) Edinburgh North and Leith, (e) Edinburgh South, (f) Edinburgh Pentlands, (g) Edinburgh East and Musselburgh will be eligible for winter fuel payments in 2003–04; and how many of these will receive the payment automatically. [138453]

Malcolm Wicks: The information is not available in the format requested. However, such information as is available is set out in the following table:

Winter fuel payments in Edinburgh 2002–03

Parliamentary constituencies
Edinburgh Central11,8154,6307,190
Edinburgh East and Musselburgh15,7456,5709,175
Edinburgh North and Leith12,0454,9107,135
Edinburgh Pentlands14,5606,0808,480
Edinburgh South14,3255,5358,790
Edinburgh West17,7607,51010,250
Local authority
City of Edinburgh83,06533,97549,090


1. Numbers are rounded to the nearest five.

2. Figures taken from the Matching Intelligence Data Analysis Service Winter Fuel Payment 2002–03 exercise.


IAD Information Centre, 100 per cent sample.

The number of people who would receive the winter fuel payment automatically in winter 2003–04 is expected to be similar to those in the table.

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Al Yamamah Programme

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department intends to introduce monitoring of sub-contractor performance in the Al Yamamah programme. [137237]

Mr. Ingram: The Department has no contractual relationship with sub-contractors, whose performance is a matter for the Al Yamamah Programme prime contractor, BAE Systems, and has no plans to introduce monitoring of sub-contractors.

Asset Valuation

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has made to the Treasury concerning the valuation of assets in his Department. [137914]

Mr. Hoon: Officials have held regular discussions and meetings with HM Treasury regarding the Department's financial position, including on the issue of asset valuations.


Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the contracts for consultancy and other work carried out by Bechtel for agencies responsible to his Department in each year since 1997, stating in each case (a) the nature of the work, (b) the value of the contract and (c) the duration of the contract; and if he will make a statement. [137879]

Mr. Ingram: According to our records no contracts have been placed with Bechtel.

Chemical Ali

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on (a) the claim by UK armed forces to have killed the Iraqi known as Chemical Ali in Basra during the conflict earlier this year and (b) the recent claim by the US Administration to have captured Chemical Ali. [136708]

Mr. Ingram: Ali Hassan al-Majeed—"Chemical Ali"—is in US custody.

On 6 April there were indications that Ali Hassan al-Majeed had been in a building in Basra when it was destroyed by coalition aircraft. We said at the time that we believed that a body found was that of Ali Hassan al-Majeed but that we could not be certain until scientific tests had been performed to positively identify it. The tests subsequently proved that the body was not, in fact, his.

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