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Mrs. Currie : The fees of private residential care homes for elderly people paid from private resources are a matter between the proprietors and fee payers. Assistance from public funds towards paying such fees was considered by Sir Roy Griffiths in his report "Community Care : an Agenda for Action". We have received many representations on the regulation of such homes since the publication of Sir Roy Griffiths' report and of the report of the independent review of residential care chaired by Lady Wagner, both of which included recommendations on this matter.
We are currently considering these reports and the responses to them and will be bringing forward our own proposals in due course. Copies of both reports are in the Library.
Mr. David Young : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set up an inquiry to establish why 30 per cent. of seriously injured patients admitted to accident and emergency units die from potentially treatable causes.
Mrs. Currie [holding answer 28 November 1988] : No. We are not aware of any evidence that 30 per cent. of seriously injured patients admitted to accident and emergency departments die from potentially treatable causes. What the recent report of the Royal College of Surgeons on the management of patients with major injuries did put forward was the hypothesis that, of the patients who die, up to 30 per cent. do so from potentially treatable conditions. Most patients who are treated in accident and emergency units will eventually return home lafter treatment.
My hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State welcomed the report on the day it was published. Issues raised by the report are being carefully studied.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security by what percentage total housing benefit for (a) Nottingham and (b) England and Wales has been reduced in the current year in the months for which comparable figures for 1987 are available.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Actual expenditure is collected only on an annual basis and the information for 1988-89 will not become available until mid- 1989. However, the estimated 1988-89 annual expenditure on housing benefit in Nottingham shows a reduction of 1.9 per cent. from 1987-88. The estimated reduction for England and Wales is 2.9 per cent.
Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security which organisation has been commissioned by his Department to undertake research on the behaviour of lone parents receiving benefits, referred to in his answer of 11 November, Official Report, column 225.
Column 263Bradshaw of the social policy research unit at York university and Dr. Jane Millar of the centre for the analysis of social policy at Bath university.
A study of factors influencing the economic activity of lone parents, using family expenditure survey data, has also been commissioned from the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Sir Eldon Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps he is taking to negotiate a new reciprocal agreement with the Government of Australia to ensure the indexation of retirement and widows' pensions being paid to British pensioners who live in Australia and Australian pensioners who live in Britain.
Sir Eldon Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would be the cost of unfreezing the retirement pensions of British ex-service men and their widows now living in Australia.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : I regret that separate statistics are not kept on the number of British ex-service men and their widows who receive United Kingdom retirement pensions and live in Australia. However, the cost of paying full rates of pensions and widows benefits to all United Kingdom pensioners in Australia, including British ex-service men and their widows, is estimated at 1988 rates to be £88 million a year.
Sir Peter Blaker : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what new areas of work have been introduced in the last two years by his Department at their offices at Norcross and Warbreck hill, Blackpool ; and to what extent the newly introduced work is at different grades compared with work previously done at these locations.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : No new areas of work have been introduced in the last two years at the Department's Norcross site. At Warbreck hill the new family credit branch has absorbed the staff of the family income supplement unit, which it replaced. In order to accommodate the additional staff required for family credit, some work had to be moved to Newcastle Central office. The net result has been an increase of 123 posts at Warbreck hill.
The grading of administrative and executive staff employed on family credit work is broadly the same as for staff previously employed on family income supplement, with the temporary addition of management resources to oversee the introduction and early development of the new scheme.
116. Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make a statement on the progress of the Government's inquiry into the circumstances of President Kurt Waldheim's involvement in the capture of British service men.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The review concerning the fate of captured British service men and the involvement, if any, of the then Lieutenant Waldheim is being conducted with all the speed consistent with the proper consideration of evidence and the need for accuracy. I can assure the hon. Member that the work is being brought as quickly as possible to its conclusion and that, as my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, North (Mr. Stewart) promised on 29 February, a report will be published.
Mr. Sainsbury : Anglo-Egyptian defence relations are excellent, as illustrated by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's recent visit to Egypt for the El Alamein commemoration when a full range of matters of mutual interest were discussed with Egyptian Ministers.
Mr. Sainsbury : The improved tender procedures have contributed to the substantially better value for money which is now being achieved. Our commercial approach to defence procurement is also promoting the more efficient use of industrial resources which has stimulated innovative ideas and led to greater export success for British industry.
Mr. Andy Stewart : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has on the number of infantry men in each of the non- communist countries of the world and the standard personal weapons issued to them.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Not all countries publish this information, and a comprehensive unclassified survey covering the many different types and definition of infantrymen and personal weapons cannot therefore be readily produced. However, some material is obtainable
Column 265from open sources, and if the hon. Member would care to write to me with a particular query, I would be pleased to see what could be provided.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Our assessment of the Soviet Union's chemical warfare capability is based in part on classified sources. It would not be in the national interest to discuss such sources in detail.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on progress in evaluation of the prospects for agency status for the Meteorological Office and non-nuclear research establishments.
Mr. Sainsbury : An initial report submitted in the summer put forward a prima facie case for establishing the Meteorological office as an agency. Further work is now proceeding to develop the necessary detailed structures. The report by the Defence research study team into the feasibility of establishing the non-nuclear defence research establishments as an agency was also submitted in the summer. We are now considering the way ahead in the light of its conclusions and recommendations.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, following his comments that the Soviet Union is producing a new submarine every six weeks, plus two new aircraft and eight new tanks each day, if he will make a statement on the basis for this information and how this has been verified for accuracy.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Our assessment of Soviet arms production is based on all available sources of information, some of which are classified. Every effort is made to ensure that our assessments are as accurate as possible.
Column 266nuclear material recovered from the dismantlement of the withdrawn intermediate nuclear force warheads is to be put.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement setting out details of the joint study with the Federal Republic of Germany on the binding of closer links in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, including its cost, time span, number of officials and ministers likely to be involved ; and whether it will include evaluation of non-proliferation measures.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, agreed with Dr. Scholz on 4 October that a joint study should be undertaken on British-German bilateral defence co-operation to consider practical ways in which our already close links can be further strengthened within the Alliance, and to examine the scope for increasing public awareness of them. Work at official level is well underway and my right hon. Friend expects to discuss the matter further with Dr. Scholz later this week. It is too early to say what the outcome of the study will be ; however, it is not at present addressing non-proliferation measures, which are dealt with on a multilateral basis within the Alliance. The costs of the study will be minimal.
Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will be seeking Crown immunity from prosecution for the institutions which are the responsibility of his Department when the anticipated new controls on emissions come into operation.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his agreement with Royal Ordnance for the supply of explosives, propellants and ammunition includes any conditions relating to the maintenance of reserve capacity in Royal Ordnance factories.
Mr. Sainsbury [holding answer 25 November 1988] : The agreement relates only to the requirement for Royal Ordnance to deliver to the MOD, at annually reducing prices, specified quantities of ammunition in the fiscal
Column 267years prior to March 1993. I am satisfied that Royal Ordnance is capable of meeting our foreseeable requirements, supplemented by other supplies as necessary.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the percentage rise in total domestic spending each year since 1978, including the estimate for 1988 ; and what has been the target for each of these years in the medium-term financial strategy.
Percent change in total domestic expenditure |Per cent. ------------------------------ 1978 |14.6 1979 |18.1 1980 |14.9 1981 |9.6 1982 |10.1 1983 |10.3 1984 |7.8 1985 |8.1 1986 |8.8 1987 |9.1 1988 |11.4 Source: United Kingdom National Accounts 1988 Edition (table 1.2) CSO except for 1988 which is an estimate [consistent with the forecast published in the autumn statement.]
There are no "targets" for domestic expenditure in the medium term financial strategy.
Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had on the payment of value added tax on private contracts for the provision of National Health Service ancillary services ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Beith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received about the timetable for the imposition of value added tax on domestic construction ; and what response he has made.
There have been a large number of written responses to the consultation paper issued on 21 June a number of
Column 268which commented on the timetable. The majority of those wanted the implementation date implied by my statement on 21 June (1 April 1989) to be deferred to 1 August 1989. All responses to the consultation paper are being considered carefully. Draft legislation is being prepared for exposure in the new year.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in the Official Report the months since May 1979 in which average building society mortgage rates were below 10 per cent. ; what has been the average charged in the previous two decades ; and if he will consider imposing an upper limit to mortgage interest relief if and when the average rate falls below 10 per cent. to reduce the amount of relief by one-fifth for each half per cent. fall in the rate of interest.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what relative priority the Government accord to (a) further reductions in income tax and (b) an increase in means-tested social security benefits as a means of reducing dependency.
Mr. Norman Lamont : The sound economic policies pursued by this Government have allowed both reductions in the rate of income tax and increases in spending in priority areas. We intend to continue in this way.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the increase in the money supply since May 1979 ; and what contribution was made by the public and private sectors, respectively.
Mr. Lilley : Figures for the money supply are published regularly in the Bank of England "Quarterly Bulletin," "Financial Statistics" and "Economic Trends." Most of the published aggregates are defined as assets of private sector United Kingdom residents. There is therefore no
Column 269public sector contribution. M0 is an exception and includes all currency in circulation, including that held in the public sector. No split between public and private sector holdings is available.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the percentage increase in the real money supply between February 1974 and May 1979 and between May 1979 and the latest date for which figures are available.
Column 270Bulletin," "Financial Statistics" and "Economic Trends." A wide range of price indices and deflators is published in official statistical sources.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on European Economic Community social and regional grants to the United Kingdom and their relation to domestic funding.
Mr. Brooke : Receipts from the Community's structural funds are taken into account each year when the United Kingdom's public expenditure plans are set, thus enabling public spending as a whole--and specifically expenditure on programmes to which the receipts relate--to be fixed and maintained at higher levels than would otherwise have been possible. As regards individual projects and programmes financed by structural fund grants, it is a condition of Community assistance that member states pay a specified share of the total cost from domestic funds.
Mr. Lilley [holding answer 29 November 1988] : This year's Finance Act extended the BES to companies specialising in letting properties on new-style assured tenancy terms. The scheme applies to investment in shares issued after 29 July (Royal Assent) and the indications are that it will be highly successful. The Government are confident that the extension of the scheme will make a significant impact on the supply of private rented housing.
£ million |Royalties |Petroleum Revenue Tax<1>|Corporation Tax before |Supplementary Petroleum |ACT set-off |Duty ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1979-80 |628 |1,435 |250 |- 1980-81 |992 |2,410 |341 |- 1981-82 |1,396 |2,390 |681 |2,025 1982-83 |1,632 |3,274 |521 |2,395 1983-84 |1,904 |6,017 |877 |- 1984-85 |2,426 |7,177 |2,425 |- 1985-86 |2,057 |6,375 |2,917 |- 1986-87 |919 |1,188 |2,683 |- 1987-88 |1,024 |2,296 |1,350 |- <1> Including advance payments
Mr. Peter Lilley [holding answer 29 November 1988] : My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer expects to meet Mr. Camdessus, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, at the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank, next April. He would normally discuss a wide range of international financial issues.