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Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he has received about the reliability of social fund data ; and what action he has taken to resolve doubts about the reliability of social fund data.
representations from hon. Members about the reliability of the social fund data. Major budgetary errors were corrected in version five of the social fund software which was issued in July. After release of version six of the software later this month we expect that in general statistical reports will accurately record the present month's figures. However, some cumulative year-to-date figures will continue to be unreliable because of problems in earlier months.
representations about the reliability of social fund data.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what information he has as to the reasons why amounts of community grants paid by local Department of Social Security offices in Bradford vary substantially ;
(2) what examination he has undertaken into the apparent inconsistencies between local Department of Social Security offices in spending budgets allocated under the social fund, including between Department of Social Security offices serving the same district.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : There are a number of possible reasons for differences between the amounts of community care grants paid by the three Bradford offices. The total amounts paid will depend on the number of eligible applications, the purpose of the application, the amount applied for, the relative priorities of different applications and the discretion of social fund officers in deciding whether or not to award a payment.
We are monitoring expenditure by local offices on the social fund, and regional teams have been set up to monitor the quality of decision-making by social fund officers. Social fund officers are expected to exercise their discretion flexibly within the framework of the law and the Secretary of State's directions and having regard to the guidance in the social fund manual. As the social fund is a locally managed discretionary scheme, absolute consistency in spending between different local offices is therefore not feasible.
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many Scottish pensioners who are in receipt of income support are in receipt of transitional addition ; and what is the average level of transitional addition paid.
Sir Ian Gilmour : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will update the reply to Sir Brandon Rhys Williams, the former hon. Member for Kensington, Official Report, 14 July 1987, column 451, in respect of pensioners' gross weekly incomes other than the state basic pension.
Gross income excluding |Single pensioners |Married couples pension (£ per week at 1986 |(thousands) |(thousands) prices) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- less than £5 |480 |120 5-10 |370 |120 10-15 |490 |200 15-20 |550 |200 20-30 |1,000 |300 30-40 |340 |250 40-50 |310 |180 50-60 |160 |130 60-70 |110 |100 70-80 |60 |60 80-90 |60 |80 90-100 |60 |60 100-150 |110 |270 150-200 |80 |100 200-250 |30 |70 250-300 |20 |20 300-350 |10 |40 350-400 |<1> |10 400-450 |<1> |<1> 450-500 |<1> |<1> over 500 |<1> |20 |------ |------ Total |4,160 |2,330 The updated table shows a slight increase in the number of pensioner units in receipt of additional income. Note: Pensioners are defined as individuals in a tax unit which receives some form of retirement pension. Figures are for single pensioners or for married couples where the husband is aged 65 or over. <1> Indicates less than 10,000 cases. Source: Family Expenditure Survey 1986.
Mr. Jack : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list in the Official Report the value of work undertaken by each company supplying any components or undertaking assembly work for the Challenger I tank in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Conway : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the dates and format of official contact between the Royal Air Force or his Department and the dependants or next of kin of the seven airmen killed in the Chinook helicopter crash in the Falklands on 27 February 1987.
Mr. Freeman : It is not practicable to list here each individual official contact with each of the dependants and next of kin of the seven RAF personnel killed in the Chinook accident in the Falkland Islands in February 1987. It is the aim of the service, following the death of a member of the Royal Air Force, to provide to the next of kin as much moral and practical support as may be needed or requested. This aim has been met according to the circumstances, needs and wishes of each of the next of kin.
Initial contacts took the form of visits by senior officers, letters of condolence from both the Royal Air Force and the Air Force Department and consultation over the funeral arrangements. As is customary, a serving RAF officer was appointed as visiting officer to each of the widows, to help in her care and support and to ensure that everything possible was done to help her to adjust to life without her husband. The fiancee of one of the casualties was afforded similar support. Assistance is still available if required. From a practical financial standpoint, there has been considerable direct contact with the next of kin by the Department over pensions, gratuities, estates, probate and tax.
Mr. Conway : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provision his Department has made for the continued education of the dependants of the seven airmen killed in the Chinook helicopter crash in the Falklands on 27 February 1987.
Mr. Freeman : No specific provision has been made, but a child's forces family pension is payable in respect of each eligible dependent child of the deceased until the child reaches the age of 17 or ceases full time education if later. It is not, however, a condition of payment that the pension should be used in respect of the child's education.
Mr. Conway : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what review his Department has conducted of the air-safety of Chinook helicopters following the fatal air crash in the Falklands on 27 February 1987 ;
(2) what was the cause of the fatal Chinook helicopter crash in the Falklands on 27 February 1987.
Mr. Freeman : As the hon. Member is aware, the county coroner of Oxford is conducting an inquiry into this tragic accident. The Royal Air Force has in the usual way conducted its own inquiry, the results of which have been made known to the coroner. Measures identified by the board of inquiry to improve the safety of Chinook helicopters in service with the Royal Air Force have been taken. In accordance with the usual practice, I shall place a copy of the military aircraft accident summary in the Library of the House as soon as the inquest is completed.
Mr. Conway : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects a compensation settlement to be granted to the widows and dependants of the airmen killed in the Chinook helicopter crash in the Falklands on 27 February 1987.
Mr. Freeman : Claims on behalf of the dependants of five of the Royal Air Force personnel who lost their lives on 27 February 1987 were commenced by solicitors acting on their behalf in August 1987. Since then, correspondence has continued between the solicitors and the Ministry of Defence's claims branch, who are awaiting the completion of all necessary inquiries into the incident, including an inquest by HM coroner. Once these have been concluded, it should be possible to come to a decision very quickly on any ex-gratia compensation which might be payable.
Mr. Conway : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provision for financial support his Department has made for Royal Air Force personnel, killed whilst on duty, separate to that provided by the various service charities including the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : Royal Air Force personnel killed whilst on duty are entitled to benefits under the armed forces pension scheme. The scheme makes provision for short term families' pensions, equal to the deceased service man's basic pay, to be awarded to widows and dependent children for periods ranging from three to nine months depending upon family circumstances. Subsequently, long term widows' and children's pensions are awarded to those eligible. These are index-linked and remain in payment in the case of the widow for life provided that she remains unmarried, and in that of the children until the age of 17 or completion of full-time education if later. In the case of those who are unmarried a lump sum gratuity is paid into the deceased service man's estate.
In addition to these provisions, widows may be entitled to benefits under the war widows scheme administered by the Department of Social Security.
Mr. Conway : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the number and value of any compensation ex-gratia payments made by him to dependants of service personnel who fail to qualify under the provisions of the Crown Proceedings (Armed Forces) Act 1987.
Column 68approximately £130,000 on an ex-gratia basis as a result of an incident during the period between 8 December 1986, when the Government announced their intention to repeal section 10 of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947, and 15 May 1987, when the Crown Proceedings (Armed Forces) Act 1987 became law. A number of such claims are still awaiting settlement, and are the subject of discussions between the Ministry of Defence and the claimants or their legal advisers.
Mr. Speed : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will review the facility whereby male Royal Navy personnel are eligible to purchase specially produced low priced cigarettes and tobacco while serving in United Kingdom shore establishments.
Mr. Freeman : The Admiralty board has recently reviewed this concession--known as the "Blue Liner" concession. Mindful of its responsibility to promote the health and physical fitness of personnel in the Royal Navy, the board has concluded that in the light of medical evidence about the consequences of smoking, it would be inappropriate for the concession to continue. They have decided accordingly that the price of these "Blue Liners" should be increased progressively in order to discourage use of the concession which will be finally withdrawn at the end of 1991. The price will be increased first in April 1989, followed by two further increases in January 1990 and January 1991 to bring prices much closer to those charged for proprietary brands. The extra revenue realised by these price increases will be paid into the fleet amenities fund and will be used specifically to provide benefits for naval personnel.
Mr. Salmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the most recent tests for antibodies against the human immunodeficiency virus were performed on the men of the Queen's Own Highlanders, who returned to Scotland from Kenya in December 1986 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Sainsbury : The MOD has funds available for research in support of the Defence research programme, including extramural research work at higher education institutions. At present there are no agreements placed with veterinary schools.
(2) what approximate proportion of the published results of research funded by his Department is classified ;
(3) if the results of the research into aerobiology being undertaken by his Department at Bristol university will be shared with other nations ;
Column 69(4) what are the research objectives of his Department in the field of aerobiology.
Mr. Sainsbury : My Department's sole objective in carrying out research into aerobiology is to provide information which should assist in the provision of effective protective measures against the threat that chemical or biological weapons might be used against the United Kingdom armed forces. Work carried out at universities is generally not classified and publication is a matter for the universities concerned.
|£ million ------------------------------- <1>1984-85 |10 <1>1985-86 |13 <1>1986-87 |15 <2>1987-88 |15 <2>1988-89 |16 <1> Actual. <2> Estimated.
Ms. Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what projects in British universities his Department currently is funding in the field of aerobiology ; and what further projects he expects to fund.
Mr. Sainsbury : The Chemical Defence Establishment has no projects currently placed with universities or other higher education institutions in the field of aerobiology. There is one proposal being considered.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if, in discussing bids tendered for the contract to replace the Chieftain tanks, he has considered the introduction of penalty clauses in relation to delivery dates and conformity with specification.
Regular Army Bases/Establishments--
The Castle Edinburgh
Highland House Perth
Kentigern House Glasgow
Livingston West Lothian
NATO FSS Balado Bridge, Kinross
Collarfirth Hill Shetland
Mormond Hill Shetland
Mossy Hill Shetland
Saxa Vord Shetland
Fort George Inverness
Sauchiehall Street Glasgow
Balhousie Castle Perth
St. Lukes Aberdeen
Strathearn Road Edinburgh
AGIOS Union Street Aberdeen
Bank Street Dundee
Rutland Square Edinburgh
Queen Street Glasgow
Bridge Street Inverness
Barry Buddon Angus
Cameron Barracks Inverness
Drip Bridge Stirling
JSMTC Bases Ballachulish
Don Street Aberdeen
Prince Charles Barracks Aberdeen
Gordon Barracks Aberdeen
Montrose Road Arbroath
Commerce Street Brechin
Main Street Brora
Glencryan Road Cumbernauld
Yeomanry House Cupar
Ferry Road Dingwall
Latta Street Dumbarton
Duckburn Park Dunblane
Perth Road Dundee
Oliver Barracks Dundee
Mid Craigie Road Dundee
Park Wynd Dundee
Elgin Street Dunfermline
Queen Street Dunoon
Cooper Park Elgin
Brechin Road Forfar
Belford Road Fort William
Baltimore Road Glenrothes
Central Avenue Grangemouth
Lassen House Invergowrie
Gordonville Road Inverness
Union Street Keith
RAF Kinloss Kinloss
Hunter Street Kirkcaldy
Weyland Park Kirkwall
High Street Laurencekirk
Fort Charlotte Lerwick
RAF Leuchars Leuchars
North Street Leven
RAF Lossiemouth Lossiemouth
Broomfield Road Montrose
Queens Barracks Perth