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An application for increased funding is currently under consideration.
Sir George Young : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will instruct his officials to meet representatives of Centrepoint, Soho urgently following the withdrawal of benefit entitlement fronm 16 to 17-year-olds.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Discussions have taken place at local level about operational arrangements. Officials in headquarters will, however, arrange to meet representatives of Centrepoint to discuss more widely issues arising from the general withdrawal of entitlement to income support from 16 and 17-year-olds.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : In 1985-86, the latest date for which information on administrative costs is available, it is estimated that the average weekly cost per family income supplement beneficiary was approximately 45p. Figures for 1986-87 will be published in the public expenditure White Paper early in the new year. Comparable figures for family credit are not available. In June 1987, the average award of family income supplement was approximately £15 per week. Indications are that current awards of family credit average over £25 per week.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will provide additional information for the most recent comparable period before April stating the average delay between receipt of a claim for family income supplement and the determination of the claim ; and if he will indicate how many claims were then awaiting determination.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give details of the current budget for publicising and promoting family credit and provide information in a comparable form for the previous budget for publicising family income supplement ; and what plans he has to raise awareness of family credit.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The advertising budget for family credit is over £3 million in the current financial year. Family income supplement was last advertised in 1983-84 when some £ million was spent. Both figures exclude expenditure on leaflets and posters where direct comparisons are not possible. For details of current and future publicity I refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. McCrindle) on 4 November at column 810.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will indicate the current level of average delay between receipt of a claim for family credit and the determination of a claim ; and how many claims are awaiting determination at present.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : For clearance time, I refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford (Mr. Shepherd) on 6 December. At the end of November there were 46,773 family credit claims outstanding. Of these, about 32,000 were awaiting replies to inquiries, mainly to employers or the claimant.
Mr. Roger King : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what benefits are available to Terry Flowers of Coventry aged 17 years, who is registered for YTS but unable to obtain a placing and whose bridging allowance has expired ; and if he will entertain a claim from Mr. Flowers for payment of benefit on the grounds of hardship.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Claims for income support under the severe hardship provision will be entertained from any 16 or 17-year-old. However, we can consider making payments only to young people who are actively pursuing a YTS place.
Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make it his policy that his Department's local offices inform local authorities and fire authorities of hostels and other multi-occupied properties which claimants give as addresses for benefit.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Information supplied by benefit claimants is held in strict confidence. The staff in local offices may, however, consult local authority social services and/or fire prevention officers in confidence when in their view there are serious risks to the life or health of an individual claimant arising from the condition of a home or hostel.
Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East on 1 December, Official Report, col. 389, concerning unemployment benefit, what information is available and over what range he will answer questions ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Information relating to age, sex, benefit status and duration of unemployment is collected in respect of a 5 per cent. sample of claimants for unemployment benefit on a particular day at six- monthly intervals. It is not collected in respect of all claimants making claims at a particular unemployment benefit office (UBO).
The only information collected on the basis of individual UBOs is the number of claims made each month. Information is not collected on how many of those claims satisfy the necessary conditions of entitlement yet result in disqualification for benefit.
To collect the kind of detailed information requested by the hon. Member would entail mounting a special exercise. This would be disproportionately costly.
Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security by what percentage the addition to invalidity benefit for a dependent child, including child benefit, is to be increased in April 1989 ; and what was the percentage increase in prices over the 12 months to September 1988.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The child dependency increase payable with invalidity benefit is to be uprated by the best of both worlds approach which my right hon. Friend explained to the House on 27 October. The child dependency increase will rise by slightly more than 6.5 per cent. from April 1989. The addition to invalidity benefit for a dependent child, including child benefit, will be increased by 3.5 per cent. The percentage increase in the published RPI over the 12 months to September 1988 was 5.9 per cent.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the number of three-bladed steel wind turbine generators that have been given planning permission and their locations ; how many are awaiting planning permission and what are their locations ; and if he will make a statement about the relative merits of this source of energy.
However, large three-bladed wind turbines have been or are being constructed in the following locations :
(2) what has been the total of Government expenditure on energy conservation measures in industry, public sector housing and private sector housing for the years 1979 to 1988 ; and what are the projected expenditure levels for energy-saving initiatives for the years 1988 to 1991.
Mr. Peter Morrison : Many of the energy efficiency programmes operated by my Department have been cross-sectoral, so information on total expenditure by sector is not readily available. The programmes of a number of other Government Departments contribute to the improvement of energy eficiency, but it is normally not possible to attribute expenditure between the energy efficiency and the other objectives of the programmes. The table gives expenditure by my Department on energy efficiency programmes, expenditure by the Department of the Environment, the Scottish Office and the Welsh Office on the homes insulation scheme, and an estimate of expenditure by the Departments of Employment and Social Security on the community insulation programme (these payments also contribute towards employment and social policy objectives).
£ millions ---------------------------------------- 1979-80 |2.4 |15.9 |- 1980-81 |4.5 |16.5 |- 1981-82 |6.9 |24.3 |- 1982-83 |9.4 |30.0 |- 1983-84 |11.4 |25.5 |5.4 1984-85 |17.5 |25.3 |8.3 1985-86 |22.5 |28.0 |18.5 1986-87 |24.5 |25.6 |35.5 1987-88 |18.6 |<4>21.6|44.1 1988-89 |<5>20.8|- |- <1> Expenditure by the Department of the Environment and the Department of Energy. <2> Expenditure by the Scottish and Welsh Offices. <3> Estimated expenditure by the Departments of Employment and Social Security. The community insulation programme began in 1981-82, but figures for employment and social security payments which were taken up by community insulation projects in 1981-82 and 1982-83 are not available. <4> Provisional.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The benefits of the national grid will be maintained. It will be established as a separate company owned by the distribution companies who will have the statutory obligation to supply. As the holder of the transmission licence it will have a clear statutory duty to develop and maintain an efficient, co-ordinated and economical system of electricity transmission.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The Government will be taking powers in the Electricity Bill to enable them to contribute towards certain unforeseen nuclear back end costs. All other nuclear costs and risks will be shared, as they are now, between the company and the customer.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what quantities of plutonium originated at the Hunterston Magnox reactors have been exported to the United States under the 1958 mutual defence agreement on atomic energy, as amended in 1959.
Mr. Michael Spicer : Plutonium produced in the generating boards' Magnox reactors was consigned to the United States before 1971 under the United States/United Kingdom defence agreement and, as stated by the then Prime Minister on 21 April 1964 at columns 1097-98, has been used by the United States for civil purposes. Because of the barter arrangements under which plutonium was consigned, it would not be in the national interest to publish the figures.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what proportions of the plutonium created in the Magnox reactors at Hunterston since they were commissioned are now (a) still at the reactor site in spent fuel, (b) at Sellafield in unreprocessed spent fuel, (c) in separate form in store at Sellafield, (d) re-used in the United Kingdom civil or research nuclear fuel, (e) exported under safeguards and (f) exported without safeguards.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make it his policy to ensure that provision for the privatisation of present Electricity Board Magnox reactors includes assurances that no plutonium owned by or created in reactors operated by private companies can be used for military purposes under any circumstances, including those encompassed by national security requirements.
Mr. Michael Spicer : Following privatisation, plutonium will continue to be handled as securely as it is at present. All existing controls on the export and transport of nuclear material will continue to apply. In addition, all civil nuclear material will continue to remain subject to Euratom safeguards and to the terms of the United Kingdom/Euratom/IAEA safeguards agreement. The Government have no plans to transfer any of this material to defence use.
Mr. Michael Spicer : Information on the isotopic composition of plutonium contained in CEGB irradiated fuel is reported to Euratom at the beginning of the month following its dispatch from the power station concerned.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what physical verification of plutonium is conducted by Euratom safeguards inspectors at the material balance area 3 at British Nuclear Fuels Limited, Sellafield.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The main elements of the safeguards inspection arrangements for Sellafield agreed with Euratom were given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Worcester (Mr. Walker) in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and the Border (Mr. Maclean) on 4 June 1986 at columns 594-95.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what proportion of spent Magnox fuel from Hunterston reprocessed at Sellafield was co-processed with spent fuel from the military reactors at Calder Hall and Chapelcross.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The co-processing of civil and non-civil material at Sellafield has been phased out. Since 1986, separate civil and non-civil reprocessing operations have been carried out sequentially, rather than simultaneously.
Mr. Heddle : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what assessments he has made as to the likely effect on (a) his Department's capital building programme and (b) the rent the Department will pay under occupational leases, of implementation of the European Court of Justice's judgment on value added tax on non domestic buildings.
Mr. Parkinson : The Department does not have a capital building programme. It is not possible to estimate the effect of the judgment before landlords have decided whether to exercise their option of charging VAT on rents.
Mr. Jack : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy when he last met the chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board ; and if they reviewed the board's plans to overcome its current operating problems with advanced gas-cooled reactors.
Mr. Michael Spicer : My right hon. Friend and I meet regularly with the chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board and discuss a wide range of issues. The board has work in hand which is aimed at overcoming the operating problems of the AGR's.
Mr. Frank Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what estimates he has of (a) the costs incurred by the Central Electricity Generating Board directly because of the necessity to close down each of the Heysham and Hartlepool reactors for a period of several days before refuelling is undertaken, (b) the nett loss of efficiency of these reactors because of this requirement, (c) the total losses of generation and (d) the costs associated therewith to date ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what was the original design intent as to whether the advanced gas cooled reactors at Heysham A and Hartlepool are to be capable of refuelling whilst in a full operational condition ; what is the current operational intent ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what volumes of carbon dioxide gas (a) in pure form and (b) radioactively contaminated have been discharged from each of the Central Electricity Generating Board magnox advanced gas-cooled reactor and nuclear plants, respectively, in each year since 1979 ; and if he will list in the Official Report the volumes and dates of the gas releases ;
(2) what estimate he has made of the contribution to the greenhouse effect of gas build-up from carbon dioxide released from the coolant circuits of nuclear power plants in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The decommissioning of the nuclear power plants at Calderhall and Chapelcross is the responsibility of the operator, British Nuclear Fuels plc. To the extent that Government programmes have benefited from the operation of these plants Government will contribute an appropriate share towards the costs of decommissioning.
beta particles :
1.198 mega electronvolts
gamma rays :
1.294 mega electronvolts
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will publish figures in the Official Report showing the domestic charge for a unit of electricity as a percentage of the price charged to large industrial users in the United Kingdom and West Germany for the latest period for which figures are available.
Column 331available in the Library, the latest information comparing prices in England and Wales with West Germany is as follows :
Pence/KWh |Domestic price |Industrial price |Domestic as percentage of |industrial ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- England and Wales |6.81 |3.37 |202 West Germany |9.41 |4.43 |212 Notes: 1. The domestic price is for a consumer with an annual requirement of 3,300 KWhrs. 2. The industrial price is for a large consumer with an annual maximum demand of 10 MW at a load of 80 per cent. 3. The comparison is of prices as at 1 July 1988.
Mr. Frank Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether, in the past or currently, the British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. Magnox fuel reprocessing plant at Sellafield has been utilised for the production of the reprocessing or irradiated fuels to yield fissile plutonium for the atomic weapons programme ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what was the average price paid (a) per therm of gas and (b) per kilowatt hour of electricity by domestic consumers in Britain in 1979, 1987 and 1988 at constant prices deflated by the retail prices index.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The average prices paid by domestic consumers in Great Britain, deflated to 1987 constant prices using the retail prices index, are shown in the following table. Data for this year is not yet available.
Electricity penceGas<1> pence per therm kilowatt hour ---------------------------------------- 1979 |5.35 |1979-80|33.6 1987 |5.50 |1987-88|41.7 <1> Prices for gas are available only for years ended 31 March.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what was the annual cost of heating a small semi-detached standardised house in England, Scotland and Wales by (a) gas, (b) electricity, (c) coal and (d) oil in 1979 and 1987 ; and what are the projected costs for 1988.
Mr. Peter Morrison : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Langbaurgh (Mr. Holt) on Monday 7 November 1988 at columns 22-24 ; this provided the costs of heating a standardised two bedroom house in four regions of the United Kingdom as at April 1988. The four regions were, the West Country, the South-East, the North-East and Scotland. Comparative figures for Wales as of the same date are as follows :
Calculated costs of heating a two bedroom house by fuel in Wales Gas |Electricity|Coal |Oil £ |£ |£ |£ ------------------------------------------------------------ 115-200 |133-245 |123-230 |95-165 (190-280) |(205-320) |(265-370) |(156-225) Figures in brackets include water heating.
Indices showing the change in the average United Kingdom costs of heating a house with different fuels (taking April 1988 as 100) measured in real terms are as follows :
Indices of real energy costs domestic sector (April 1988=100) |Gas |Electricity|Coal |Oil ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |84 |97 |92 |115 1987 |105 |100 |105 |114 1988 (April) |100 |100 |100 |100
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether (a) all buildings and (b) all nuclear materials stored or processed at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority's Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell have been under full safeguards by (i) the International Atomic Energy Agency and (ii) Euratom since 1979.
Mr. Michael Spicer : All civil nuclear material in the United Kingdom is subject to Euratom safeguards and the terms of the United Kingdom/Euratom/IAEA safeguards agreement. Harwell carries out contract R and D work for MOD which involves the presence of unsafeguarded material. This is entirely consistent with the United Kingdom's international safeguards obligations. The details cannot be disclosed for national security reasons.