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Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what information he has as to how many properties are now covered by the rural county-based housing associations established under the sponsorship of the National Agricultural Centre Rural Trust ;
(2) what level of support grant was given by Government-sponsored agencies to the rural county-based housing associations for the last financial year ; and what is the current level of Government support ;
(3) what level of support grant was given by Government-sponsored agencies to the National Agricultural Centre Rural Trust for the last financial year ; and what is the current level of Government support ;
(4) how many new housing associations have been created in the current year in rural areas with support from central Government.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 12 December 1988] : The Housing Corporation has nine rural county-based associations currently registered with it of which one was registered this year. Those associations have 50 properties in management wth a further 144 properties approved for funding or in the pipeline.
In 1987-88 the Housing Corporation allocated grants of £4,547,000 to projects by rural county-based associations. This year the corporation has allocated £5,209,000 to such projects.
In 1987-88 the Rural Development Commission gave a grant of £112, 500 towards the National Agricultural Centre Rural Trust's (NACRT's) running costs. The Department has given approval for the Commission to pay grant to NACRT of up to £315,000 in this financial year.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much has been spent to date by the Property Services Agency on alterations to Maxwell house, Holborn, EC1 ; what is the proposed use of the office space in question ; when it will be occupied ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholas Ridley [holding answer 8 December 1988] : Negotiations for Maxwell House began in 1986 on behalf of Customs and Excise as a result of the impending expiry of a lease of one of the buildings occupied by them. Customs and Excise have re-appraised their accommodation needs having regard to the Government's relocation policy and have been able to reduce their requirement for office space in central London. A number of carefully costed options are being considered by Ministers and an announcement will be made shortly. Full account will be taken of expenditure to date on alterations to Maxwell house and its future role as part of the Government's office estate.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) if he will consider seeking to amend statutes in order that a duty be placed upon his Department to ensure as far as is practicable that benefits are taken up by potential claimants as well as being available for claimants ;
Column 532(2) if he will introduce legislation imposing a statutory duty on his Department to encourage the take-up of benefits administered by them.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : No. The Department already aims to ensure that members of the public have ready access to comprehensive, accurate and comprehensible information about benefit entitlement. This is done at national level by identifying the most effective and practical means of communication and also by a wide variety of initiatives taken at regional and local levels to promote awareness of the benefits available.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish a table showing the latest figures for (a) the average length of time in processing claims for attendance allowance and (b) the numbers of cases which have been delayed and the reasons for those delays.
Mr. Scott : The average processing time for attendance allowance claims is currently 7.3 weeks. Claims may take longer than average to process for a variety of reasons. These include difficulties in arranging medical examination of the claimant or in establishing a firm prognosis ; the need to obtain information from the claimant's general practitioner, hospitals he has attended or a consultant ; and inquiries about periods the claimant has spent in hospital or other residential accommodation. Figures are not kept for the numbers of such cases.
Mr. Prescott : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether he has received recommendations from the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council on sensorineural hearing loss for merchant seamen in the schedule of prescribed diseases and injuries ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Scott : As my right hon. Friend announced on 27 October, we shall be bringing forward legislation to extend the upper age limit for receipt of the allowance from 75 to 80, as an interim measure pending our consideration of the series of reports on the survey of disabled people undertaken by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys.
Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people there are in receipt of (a) mobility allowance, (b) attendance allowance, lower and higher rates, (c) war pensioners' mobility supplement, (d) invalid care allowance and (e) severe disablement allowance as at the latest available date.
Benefit |Numbers of recipients -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mobility allowance |<1>554,000 Attendance allowance Lower rate |<2>382,000 Higher rate |<2>259,000 War pensioners' mobility supplement |<3>14,500 Invalid care allowance |<4>108,000 Severe disablement allowance |<2>260,000 <1>At 2 December 1988. <2>At 4 April 1987. <3>At 30 September 1988. <4>At 28 November 1988.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the latest information he has regarding the numbers and proportion of unemployment benefit disqualification cases in the Chesterfield area in which the disqualification was imposed for the maximum period of 26 weeks.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : I regret that this information is not available. We are currently monitoring the operation of the disqualification rules on the basis of a sample of cases across the country. The results of the survey, which will not allow analysis of the position in any single office, should be available next year.
Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security why has his Department's overseas branch failed to pay the attendance allowance for Mr. Bowell junior of 23B La Vallesa, Shangrila, Calpe Alicante, Spain, formerly of 80 Blatchcombe road, Paignton, details of which were set out in his letter to the hon. Member for South Hams on 10 October ; how much is owing ; and when it will be paid.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Arrears of attendance allowance for Mr. Bowell junior, amounting to £774.33 for the period 4 July 1988 to 14 December 1988, have been authorised for payment and will be issued to Mrs. Bowell this week. I very much regret the delay in issuing this payment.
Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will arrange for £269.80, due to Mr. and Mrs. Bowell of 23B La Vallesa, Shangrila, Calpe Alicante, Spain, formerly of 80 Blatchcombe road, Paignton, to be sent to them immediately through his Department's overseas branch ; and why there has been a five month delay in paying their retirement pension.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The Department had not been aware of any problems with Mr. and Mrs. Bowell's pensions. However, checks now show that two payments totalling £334.46 which the Department issued to Mr. Bowell's bank were not received there. The original payments have
Column 534now been stopped and, assuming that they prove not to have already been paid, replacements will be issued urgently.
Mr. McAvoy : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will specify the income sources that were included in his estimate of the increase in pensioners total incomes since 1979, Official Report, 27 October, column 456, and the percentage by which each category increased in real terms over the same period.
Source |Per cent.<1> ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Retirement pension and other state benefits |+19 Occupational pension |+56 Investment income |+64 Earnings |-28 Total gross |+24 Tax and National Insurance contributions |+37 Total net |+23 <1>Percentage increase of average amount (1979-86). Note: In all cases, the figures are rounded to the nearest percentage point.
Mr. Shore : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much of the 23 per cent. increase in the real income of the average pensioner between 1979 and 1986 is due to increases in the national insurance pension, how much to the payment of the state earnings-related pension scheme ; and how much to the payment of occupational pensions.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The information is not available in the form requested. The available information shows that between 1979 and 1986 pensioners experienced an average real increase in gross incomes of 24 per cent. which was broken down as follows :
|Breakdown of 24 per cent. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Retirement pension (including state earnings-related pension) and income-related benefits |41 per cent. Occupational pensions |37 per cent. All other income |22 per cent.
Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the weekly payments from occupational pension schemes by decile or quartile with respect to the number of recipients over pension age ; and what is the median weekly payment from occupational pension schemes paid to recipients over pension age.
Mr. Peter Lloyd [holding answer 5 December 1988] : The information is not available in the form requested. The following table specifies the amount per week (rounded to the nearest 10p) received in 1986 by single and married men and women over pension age in receipt of an occupational pension.
Single Married |Men |Women |Men |Women |Aged 65 and over |Aged 60 and over |Aged 65 and over |With husband aged 65 and |over |£ |£ |£ |£ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1st quartile |3.50 |5.10 |5.70 |2.50 2nd quartile |10.80 |10.70 |17.20 |9.00 3rd quartile |27.70 |23.70 |43.00 |20.50 4th quartile |87.20 |71.10 |131.20 |49.30 Median |16.00 |14.50 |25.70 |13.00
Mr. Peter Lloyd [holding answer 5 December 1988] : The information is not available in the form requested. In 1986 about 3.4 million tax units in Great Britain (that is, single people over pensionable age and married couples where the man is over pensionable age) were in receipt of an occupational pension--a proportion of 50 per cent.
Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the most recent estimate of the cost to the national insurance fund for 1988-89 of the 2 per cent. subsidy payable under sections 1 and 7 of the Social Security Act 1986 ; and how much of this relates to contributions in respect of the year 1987-88.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The general rule is that incentives payable under sections 1 and 7 of the Social Security Act 1986 in respect of 1987-88 and 1988-89, will be paid in 1989-90. The Government Actuary has followed this assumption when deriving the estimate that £310 million of incentives will be paid in 1989-90, of which £80 million relates to contributions in respect of 1987-88, and £230 million relates to 1988-89.
All figures are consistent with the Government Actuary's report on the uprating and rerating orders, (Cm. 537).
Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what average family credit payment was assumed in the 1988 public expenditure White Paper ; what was the average payment awarded in each month since April ; and what is the average amount now in payment.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The 1988 public expenditure White Paper estimate of £409 million and an average of 470,000 recipients presupposed an average award of £16.73 a week. Indications are that current awards average over £25 a week. Precise information for earlier months is not available. Revised estimates of total expenditure and the numbers of claimants in 1988-89 will be published in the 1989 public expenditure White Paper in the new year.
Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) if he will publish a revised version of tables P1 to P6 of the technical annex to the White Paper "Reform of Social Security" taking into account changes in prices, earnings and other relevant factors since 1985 ;
Column 536(2) if he will publish in the Official Report the figures given in his answer on social security benefits on 7 December, Official Report, column 182, at 1988 prices.
Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish in the Official Report (a) the anticipated end of the year out-turn on the numbers of claimants and levels of expenditure, (b) the most recent figures for the numbers of claimants and levels of expenditure and (c) the anticipated numbers of claimants and levels of expenditure for 1988-89 for (i) funeral payments from the social fund and (ii) maternity payments from the social fund.
Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people have (a) ceased to claim or lost entitlement of income support since April, to the most recent date as a result of (i) finding employment, (ii) the ruling that work expenses are no longer deductible from earnings for income calculations, (iii) the reduction from 30 to 24 hours of the full-time work qualification, (iv) the removal of benefit rights from 16 and 17-year-olds, and (v) other, (b) the amounts saved in each category, (c) what he anticipates the end of year outcome will be for numbers and amounts saved for each category and (d) what he anticipates the numbers and amounts saved in 1988-89 will be.
Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what he anticipates will be the end of year cost of housing benefit transitional payments ; how many claimants he anticipates will have been awarded such payments ; what he anticipates the costs and numbers of claimants in 1988-89 will be following the announcement of the £2 erosion factor ; and how many payments and how much in each of the above will be received by pensioners.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : At the time the transitional payment unit was set up it was announced that £65 million was being made available to cover the cost of the payments. Applications for transitional payments will continue to be
Column 537received until 31 March 1989. Until they have all been received it is not possible to calculate the final cost of housing benefit transitional payments or to give the final number who will receive payments, either now or after the erosion factor is applied. Information on pensioners as a group is not yet available from the unit ; we hope to be able to supply this at a later date.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many more people he estimates would be eligible for cold weather payments if entitlement were extended to income support claimants with children aged under 11 years and with savings over £500.
Mr. Scott [holding answer 12 December 1988] : If eligibility were extended to families with children under 11 and the £500 capital rule were to be abolished, about 1 million more people could be expected to qualify.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list (a) the changes in regulations or procedures which have had knock-on effects on the unemployment figures and (b) the changes made to the basis for calculation of the unemployment figures since 1979, with a brief explanation of the reason for each change.
Mr. Lee : I am sending the hon. Member a list of the changes affecting the unemployment figures since 1979 which was published on page 422 of the October 1986 issue of Employment Gazette, a copy of which is in the Library. Since then there has been one further significant change in the coverage of the unemployment count resulting from the recent extension of the YTS guarantee, and the introduction in September 1988 of new benefit regulations, for under 18-year-olds. Further details are given in an article on page 660 in the December 1988 issue of Employment Gazette.
In addition, as described on page 56 of the August 1988 issue of Employment Gazette , a further minor amendment was made in July 1988 to the denominators used for calculating national and regional unemployment rates, to include those on work-related Government training schemes in line with their inclusion in the statistics of the employed work force. This change did not affect the numbers included in the unemployment count.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, further to his answer of Wednesday 7 December, Official Report , columns 234-36, what would be the current level of unemployment if calculated on the same basis as the 1971 figure.
Mr. Lee : My Department does not estimate unemployment on any previous definition as it is impossible to estimate what the various effects of changes in coverage of the unemployment count would now be. I refer the hon. Member to page 422 of the October 1986 issue of Employment Gazette and page 660 of the December 1988 issue for more detailed information.
Mr. Nicholls : It is not possible to estimate the total number of people in the employment training client group. However, in October 1988 some 1,143,000 claimants aged 18 to 60 had been unemployed for over six months. There are currently some 97,000 people on employment training.
Mr. Leighton : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether Lloyds Bank, Midland Bank, the Ford Motor Co., British Airways, British Gas, British Coal and Marks and Spencer are participating in employment training.
Mr. Nicholls : The companies listed are not yet involved in employment training as training managers or training agents, although they may be providing places to other training managers. Marks and Spencer, British Coal, British Gas and the Ford Motor Co. are in the process of consultation with the Training Agency about becoming involved in employment training as training managers or as placement providers.
A full list of training agents and training managers will be published in January, although details of employers who are involed in employment training as placement providers will not be included.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment under what conditions claimants on employment training schemes are entitled to child care payments ; and what is the total number of (a) cases who have so far been granted child care payments on employment training and (b) requests for child care support on employment training, in each standard region.
Column 539per child paid on their behalf. Payments are made directly to the child minder, day nursery or creche by the training manager who is responsible for organising the training programme.
Information on the number of employment training participants qualifying for child care payments is not available. It is planned to collect the information at the end of March. The results will be available at the end of April.
Mr. David Young : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will instruct staff at jobcentres to scrutinise cases of persistent refusal by employers to employ particular individuals ; if he will instruct such staff to inquire of prospective employers if they use the services of the Economic League or similar bodies ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholls : It is for employers to make their own decisions about who they should employ. However, staff at jobcentres are already instructed to question employers whom they suspect are not operating within the equal opportunities or other legislation. My right hon. Friend has no plans to amend the present arrangements.
Mr. David Young : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make an assessment of the implications of the activities of the Economic League and similar organisations for the job prospects of those placed on their lists.
Mr. David Young : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will introduce legislation to establish an offence of supplying false information on a prospective employee, or information without the knowledge of that employee, to an employer ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will provide a breakdown on summer school leavers by the following categories (a) the number in higher or further education, (b) the number in employment, (c) the number in YTS and (d) the number on extended child benefit.
Mr. Cope : The estimated number of this summer's school leavers in higher or further education will not be available, for England and Wales, until spring 1989 and, for Scotland, until late 1990. Information on the number of school leavers in employment is not available.
At 31 October, the latest available date, there were 435,200 young people in YTS, but it is not possible to say how many of those left school this summer.
Child benefit is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security.
Column 540indicating (a) the number receiving extended child benefit, (b) the number on bridging allowance, (c) the number not on bridging allowance and who have not yet received an offer of a YTS place and (d) the number on YTS.
Information on the number of young people on bridging allowance is available on request. It is not possible to provide information on the number not on bridging allowance and who have not yet received an offer of a YTS place.
Figures on the number of people on YTS are published monthly in the Employment Gazette.
Ms. Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the average time taken for payments in respect of child care costs for the children of lone parents on employment training schemes to be paid to the carers ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cope [holding answer 6 December 1988] : The arrangements for payment of child care costs for lone parent trainees in employment training should enable training agents and training managers to make the payments without delay, both when a trainee first qualifies for payment and subsequently.
Ms. Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many participants in employment training schemes qualify for child care payments ; what is the percentage take up ; and what is the total cost (a) nationally, (b) in the northern region and (c) in Durham, North-West constituency.
Mr. Nicholls [holding answer 6 December 1988] : Information on the number of employment training participants qualifying for child care payments is not yet available. It is planned to collect information at the end of March and results should be available by the end of April.
11. Mr. Burt : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what were the in-patient waiting list figures in March for the North Western regional health authority ; and what were the figures for the previous year, and 1979.
Column 541resources under the resources allocation working party to the east and west Dorset area authorities ; and what overall increases in total resources have been achieved since 1979.