Column 163National and Local Government Officers Association--Cumbernauld Neighbourhood Care Networks (Livingston)
Planning Section Livingston
Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
ScotRail, British Railways Board
Scottish Building Employers' Federation
Scottish Church's Industrial Mission
Scottish Community Woods Campaign
Scottish Consumer Council
Scottish Council for Single Homeless
Scottish Development Agency
Scottish Engineering Employers' Association
Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
Scottish Local Authorities with New Towns (SLANT)
Scottish National Party
Scottish New Towns Housing Association
Scottish New Towns Housing Managers Group
Scottish Old Age Pensions Association
Scottish Society of Directors of Planning
Scottish Special Housing Association
Scottish Trades Union Congress
Scottish Wildlife Trust
Sealand Industries PLC Cumbernauld
Sixth Year Cumbernauld High School
St. Mungos Parish Church
Strathclyde Regional Council
The Building Societies Association
The Kirk Session of Livingston Old Parish
The Royal Town Planning Institute
Town and Country Planning Association
West Lothian College of Further Education
West Lothian District Council
Whinneyknowe and Balgeddie Meadows Residents Association (Glenrothes)
Mr. Michael Forsyth : I shall make an announcement about the representation of consumer views in the NHS when consideration of the management consultants' report and other proposals and comments which have been received has been completed.
Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 23 March 1989] : The pupil-teacher ratios in education authority schools (nursery, primary, secondary and special) were 17.7 in 1978-79 and 16.1 in 1987-88. Universities throughout Great Britain are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what guidance is given to social security officers as to the age at which it is deemed appropriate for pre-school children of single mothers to be placed with child minders when assessing the mothers' eligibility for income support.
Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he hopes to reply to letters dated 27 January and 7 February from the hon. Member for South Hams, in relation to his constituent Mr. George Metters of Marians' Maples, Stoke Gabriel, Totnes, Devon, and his claim for attendance allowance.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) for the week starting 10 April, and each ensuing week, how many people currently in receipt of housing benefit transitional payments in the Leeds, West constituency will cease to become eligible ; and what this is as a percentage of the total number of those claiming transitional payments in the constituency ;
(2) for the week starting 10 April, and each ensuing week, how many people currently in receipt of housing benefit transitional payments will cease to become eligible ; and what this is as a percentage of the total number of those claiming transitional payments.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Until the closing date of 30 June 1989 is reached and all applications for housing benefit transitional payments have been received and assessed, it will not be possible to state how many people will no longer receive transitional payments from 10 April 1989 because of the £2 flat rate reduction, but we estimate that around 40 per cent. will no longer qualify for payments. The information requested is not available by constituency area.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people have been paid housing benefit transitional payments ; of these, how many will lose their transitional protection after 9 April because they have capital in excess of £8,000 ; and how many others will lose their transitional protection because the amount of their payments is less than £2 per week.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Up to 24 March 188,095 people had been awarded housing benefit transitional payments and payments have been made in 180,874 cases. Until the closing date of 30 June 1989 is reached and all applications have been received and assessed it will not be possible to state how many people will no longer receive transitional protection from 10 April because of the £2 flat rate reduction, but we estimate that around 40 per cent. will no longer qualify for payments. It will not be possible to say how many people will no longer qualify for transitional
Column 165protection because their capital has risen above £8,000 since April 1988 until all renewal application forms have been returned to the transitional payments unit.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish a table showing how many people were (a) eligible for and (b) in receipt of family credit in 1988-89, broken down into (i) employees and (ii)
Column 166self-employed, using the first assumption of eligibility and take-up made in October 1987 and the second assumption as described in his answer to the hon. Member for Bolton North-East (Mr. Thurnham), 17 March, Official Report, column 392.
Employees Self-employTotal |Eligible |Receiving |Receiving |Receiving ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- October 1987 Forecast for 1988-89<1> |<2>675,000|405,000 |45,000 |450,000 March 1989 |253,000 |24,000 |277,000 Estimate for 1988 |500,000 |(actual) |(actual) |(actual) Notes: <1> As revised to take account of the March 1988 Budget. <2> No direct estimate of the eligible population was made in October 1987, when a projection of the 1988-89 caseload was made on the assumption that the take up rate would be one fifth higher than the FIS take up rate. However, an eligible employee population of 675,000 would follow from the assumption of a FIS take up rate of 50 per cent.
Ms. Richardson : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the latest estimate of the number of people receiving family credit ; and how much he expects to spend on family credit in the financial year 1988-89.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : At the end of March 253,500 families were receiving family credit, and a further 47,000 claims were awaiting determination. The outturn of expenditure for 1988-89 is now expected to be slightly less than forecast in Cm. 615.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people would be entitled to family credit in 1989 if there was no compensation for free school meals or welfare milk in the child credit rates.
Mr. Peter Lloyd [holding answer 20 March 1989] : A specific amount in respect of compensation for free school meals and free welfare milk and vitamins was included on a once-and-for-all basis in the child credit rates set at the start of the family credit scheme in April 1988 but, following the uprating, this element is no longer separately identifiable within the April 1989 rates. The information requested is therefore not available.
Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the total amount spent by his Department in 1988 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases ; and if he will list each management or computer consultancy contract awarded by his Department in 1988, giving in each case the name of the consultancy firm and the subject of the assignment.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The estimated total amount spent by the Department in 1988 on social security-related management and computer consultancy was £35.391 million. The expenditure came partly from the combined DHSS budgets for the financial years 1987-88 and 1988-89. Where appropriate the cost of projects has been apportioned when the work involved both social security and health aspects.
Details of each consultancy awarded by the Department on social security- related matters are as follows :
Firm |Subject of assignment ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Anderson Consulting |Overseas Branch Computer Requirement Anderson Consulting |Operational Strategy Training Development Anderson Consulting |Benefit Branch Computerisation Answerpoint |Local Office Project Applied Systems Engineering |Local Office Project Applied Systems Engineering |Service Management Group Applied Systems Engineering |Central Design Authority Applied Systems Engineering |Family Credit Project Arthur Young |Integrated Complementing System Arthur Young |Performance Based Systems Arthur Young |Quality Assurance Package for Social Security Offices Bell Software |Local Office Project B.I.S. Limited |Tools Feasibility Study B.I.S. Limited |Database Design Support B.I.S. Limited |Strategy Data Administration British Telecom |Local Office Microcomputer Project Cap Industry Limited |Local Office Project Cavendish Tricorne |Overbearing Model (Operational Research Service) Computer Search |National Unemployment Benefit System Computer People |Local Office Project Coopers and Lybrand |Department of Social Security Agency Study C.S.C. |Product Assurance (North Fylde Central Office) C.S.C. |Strategy Security Dataflex |Local Office Microcomputer Project D. E. Barnard Systems |Scrutiny of Printing and Publications Digitus |Self Instruction Unit Computerisation ENATOR |Performance Based Systems ENATOR |Integrated Complementing System EOSYS |Cable Management Falcon Systems |Local Office Microcomputer Project Forvus |Database Management System Gallup |Staff Attitude Survey of Local Offices Gallup |Staff Attitude Survey of Headquarters I.C.L. |National Unemployment Benefit System I.C.L. |Local Office Project Infologistix |Capacity Planning (North Fylde Central Office) Jones Lang Wood |Scrutiny of the Social Security Regional Organisation Logica |Aggregate Performance Indicators Logica |Scrutiny of the Social Security Regional Organisation L.B.M.S. |Quality Assurance M.O.M. |Program Information Control-Artemis M.F.T. |Federal Budgetary Control System NESCO |Local Office Project OASIS |Superannuation Study (North Fylde Central Office) Oxford Centre for Management Studies |Workload Experiment PACTEL |Information Centre (Prototype) P.E. Computer Services |Local Office Project Peat Marwick McLintock |Analysis of Questionnaires for Scrutiny of Overseas Branch and for Contributions and Compliance Study Peat Marwick McLintock |Performance Based Systems Peat Marwick McLintock |Integrated Complementing System Price Waterhouse |Financial Management Price Waterhouse |Integrated Complementing System Price Waterhouse |Disaster Planning Price Waterhouse |Career Development Price Waterhouse |Integrated Complementing System Protocol |Service Management (North Fylde Central Office) Resources |Local Office Project R.E.L. |Tempest Testing Rowe and Maw |Model Rules for Guaranteed Minimum Pensions in Occupational Pension Schemes S.B.S. |National Unemployment Benefit System Scopec |Program Information Controls S.D.S. |Local Office Project Slaughter and May |Model Rules for Guaranteed Minimum Pensions in Occupational Pension Schemes Systems Designers |Performance Based Systems Regional Trials Task Force |Local Office Project Task Force |Monitoring Income Support Task Force |National Unemployment Benefit System Telfast |Local Office Project Touche Ross |Recovery of Social Security Benefits from Tort Damage Awards Touche Ross |Performance Based Systems Touche Ross |Financial Information Strategy Study Touche Ross |Integrated Complementing System V.N.G. |Local Office Project W.S. Atkins |Communications Wiring Building Survey
(2) how many community care grant applications have been made and refused at the Neasden integrated local office ;
(3) how much has been allocated for the 1989-90 budget from the social fund for community care grants at the Neasden integrated local office ;
(4) how many social fund loans applications have been made and refused at the Neasden integrated local office.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Information on the numbers of applications for social fund loans and grants processed and awarded, listed by local office, including information on budget allocations and expenditure, may be obtained from the details held in the Library.
Ms. Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish the assumptions and bases on which the social fund community care grants budgets for the Department of Social Security ILOs of Redcar, Eston, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and Stockton were set for the year 1989-90 ; and if he will give the reasons why four of these offices have received a lower budget than for the current financial year.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The note that I placed in the Library on 22 February in response to the question from my hon. Friend the Member for Bury, North (Mr. Burt) at column 682 explains the basis on which the social fund allocations for 1988-89 were made.
The combined effect of the three components in the allocation formula ((i) 1988-89 allocations ; (ii) income support caseload ; (iii) value of awards and the estimated value of refusals for budgetary reasons) means that some offices will gain in 1989-90 in comparison with their 1988-89 allocations and some will lose.
Column 171The allocation formula was applied in the same way to all local offices.
Ms. Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will consider reducing the minimum award of social fund community care grant and budgeting loan payments in respect of fuel reconnection charges, in order to bring the minimum social fund awards into line with the typical reconnection charge.
People on income support are provided with a sum of money within which to budget for their everyday needs, in the same way as others on low incomes. Budgeting loans and community care grants are intended to help with larger items of expenditure. We consider £30 a reasonable sum for a person to accumulate from their benefit. If a person runs into difficulties in meeting his fuel bills the Department can arrange to pay a certain amount of his income support direct to the fuel board so as to avoid disconnection. Where, however, a disconnection has taken place help is available in the form of a crisis loan which may be made if it is the only means of avoiding a risk to health and safety.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : There are no arrangements for local authorities and advice groups to receive bulk copies of the Department's claim forms. All claim forms are readily available from the Department's local offices. Additionally, those for family credit and income support can be obtained from Post Offices. Social fund application form SF100, (maternity payment) is available from ante-natal clinics, and SF200 (funeral payment) is available from registrars.
Sir Michael McNair-Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what benefits a person who suffers kidney failure and is forced to give up work will currently receive ; what level of benefits applied to a person in a similar situation before April 1988 ; what special allowances existed for items, including food, heating, laundry and baths for such people before April 1988 ; and what equivalent benefits are now available.
Mr. Scott : People who become incapable of work due to kidney failure whose contract of service with their employer continues would usually be entitled to statutory sick pay from the fourth consecutive day of incapacity. Where the employment terminates, the person is self- employed, or statutory sick pay is not payable for any reason, sickness benefit would be payable instead, provided that the usual contribution conditions were satisfied. After 28 weeks of incapacity, invalidity benefit replaces sickness benefit automatically. It would also replace statutory sick pay in cases where the contribution conditions for sickness benefit would have been satisfied at the beginning of the incapacity. In addition to these benefits, people suffering with renal failure who require
Column 172help dialysing for at least two occasions a week, either at home, as an in-patient in a private hospital or in a self- care unit may qualify for lower rate attendance allowance. There has been no change in the level of any of these benefits since April 1988 other than the usual uprating.
Depending on their circumstances people with renal failure may also receive income support, which replaced supplementary benefit in April 1988. The level of supplementary benefit paid reflected the individual's circumstances such as size of family, if any, housing costs, special needs, and other income. There was no fixed level of benefit for any claimant. The only special allowance particular to people with renal failure was a dietary addition. All other special allowances, for example, for heating, laundry and baths were available to all claimants on the same terms. The system of special allowances has been replaced by one of flat rate premiums. The disability premium is available to people receiving attendance allowance, mobility allowance or supplement, invalidity benefit or severe disablement benefit. It is also available to people with an invalid carriage, those registered blind and those incapable of work for 28 weeks or more. In addition attendance allowance recipients who live alone qualify for the severe disability premium, providing no-one is receiving invalid care allowance for their care.
(2) how his Department is monitoring the effects of the 1988 benefits changes on young people aged 16 and 17 years and 18 to 24 years.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The Department is monitoring all the effects of the 1988 benefit changes on young people through the usual statistical sources, and through representations made by local authorities, voluntary organisations and other groups concerned with young people. As a result of his monitoring a package of measures to assist those of this group identified as having particular difficulties was announced in my hon. Friend's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Lester) on 13 March at columns 27-28.
Ms. Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give the latest estimates of (a) how many young people aged 16 and 17 years have applied for discretionary payments of income support in order to avoid severe hardship, (b) how many young people have been awarded such payments, (c) what is the average time taken from the point of application to the point of payment of such awards and (d) what is the average duration of such awards.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : During the period 12 September 1988, when general entitlement to income support was withdrawn from 16 and 17-year-olds, to 23 March 1989 a total of 6,027 decisions were made under the Secretary of State's discretionary power to avoid severe hardship. A direction to enable income support to be paid was given in 3,908 instances. These figures relate to the number of decisions made, not to the number of young people involved. Some young people have made more than one application. Processing times are not available for these cases separately from other income support claims, but the
Column 173commitment to make decisions within 24 hours of the full details of the case being referred to headquarters has been met. The length of direction given in each case is normally linked to an estimate of when a YTS place is likely to be available for the young person concerned. Information to calculate the average durations of directions is not collected.
Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security in what circumstances single parents in receipt of income support have to make themselves available for work ; and whether he has any plans to require that single parents in receipt of income support whose youngest child reaches the age of 12 years will have to make themselves available for work.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) whether people with HIV on income support qualify for any specific benefits related to the needs caused by their HIV antibody status ;
(2) if he is intending to review the six month qualification period necessary to receive the disability premium for people with HIV infection on income support.
Mr. Scott : People whose HIV antibody status renders them incapable of work can qualify for the income support disability premiums on the same basis as all other sick and disabled people. There are no benefits specifically for people with HIV. But those who receive payments from the Macfarlane trust receive the full benefit of such payments, which are disregarded in the calculation of their income support entitlement. We have given a commitment to review the qualifying conditions for the disability, and other, premiums in the light of our continued monitoring of the scheme and the results of the OPCS surveys into disabilities.
Mr. Lord : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what measures he is taking to reduce the gap between Government funds provided for elderly residents of nursing homes and the cost of their accommodation.
From 10 April the limits are being increased. Elderly people in nursing homes will be able to claim up to £190 per week, or up to £213 in London, plus a personal expenses allowance of £10.05.