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Residential Homes

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information is made available from computerised police records to social services departments, residential homes and other organisations offering care to vulnerable people who are considering the suitability of applicants for employment.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Arrangements have been set up which allow the police to disclose information to local authorities, the health service and independent schools about those seeking to work in posts with substantial access to children.

The information disclosed would include details of convictions, cautions and bind overs. Other relevant information, such as details of acquittals, or decisions not to prosecute, where the circumstances of the case would give cause for concern, may also be disclosed exceptionally, on the authority of an assistant chief constable. Some of this information may be held in computerised records.

Ashwell Prison (Food Poisoning)

Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement on the recent outbreak of food poisoning at Ashwell prison ; and what steps are being taken to prevent any further outbreaks.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : An outbreak of suspected salmonella food poisoning occurred at Her Majesty's prison, Ashwell on 11 April 1989. 145 inmates reported

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sick between 11 and 13 April. Two were admitted to a local hospital and two to the prison hospital. The remainder did not require hospitalisation. The local authority environmental health officer together with a registrar from the public health laboratory have been assisting prison service personnel in tracing the source of the outbreak.

Investigations continue and once the cause of the infection is known remedial action will be taken.

Football Grounds (Safety)

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on (a) the costs and (b) the reduction in safe ground attendance capacity, of introducing his plan of seating only at all first division clubs.

Mr. Hurd : As I said in my statement on Monday 17 April, the Government will be discussing with the football authorities the implications of moving towards all seated stadia for the major football clubs.

Community Charge

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to ensure that those people who may be exempted from the community charge due to severe mental impairment will still retain their right to vote.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Payment of the community charge is not one of the qualifications for the franchise. It continues to be the duty of the electoral registration officer to have a house-to-house or other sufficient inquiry made as to the persons entitled to be registered to vote.

Broadcasting White Paper

Sir Peter Blaker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the proposals in the broadcasting White Paper on local services.

Mr. Hurd : I am grateful to all those who responded to the invitation to comment on these radical proposals.

As the White Paper undertook, we have considered carefully all the views which have been expressed. In the light of them we have decided to make some adjustments to our original proposals. I am placing in the Library of the House a note which details the modified proposals which we intend to recommend to Parliament.

We continue to believe that there should be a new, flexible technology- neutral framework for local services, leaving operators free to decide upon the best mix of technologies. As the White Paper noted, this will in practice mean at present cable or MVDS, or a mixture of the two. The fact that we are proposing that local operators should in future have the choice to use technologies other than cable does not imply, as some commentators have suggested, that the Government do not foresee a prominent role for cable under the proposed new framework. The advantages of cable over other delivery technologies are well known ; and we have been pleased to see that many recent applicants for cable franchises have plans to exploit these advantages in order to provide telecommunications as well as television services over their networks. The point of the freedom, which we are proposing should be offered to operators, is

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to enable them to choose which delivery technology or combination of technologies to use, based on their commercial judgment of the nature of the services for which there will be a demand.

The new framework will be designed to allow operators themselves to choose the nature and level of service they wish to offer their customers. It is, however, important for all local delivery systems to meet certain standards relating not only to safety and interference, but also, for example, to compatibility between systems and equipment. The Government, after consulting all interested parties, will decide how this is to be achieved.

In line with the White Paper, we propose that the new framework should be based on 15-year local franchises awarded by the new Independent Television Commission (ITC). Although we have considered carefully the contrary opinions which have been expressed, we hold to the view that some form of competitive tender mechanism will be the best method for allocating franchises. It will provide an objective method for choosing between applicants, and also takes account of the fact that successful applicants will be acquiring the exclusive right to use scarce MVDS frequencies. We will be giving further thought to the precise form of the competitive tender mechanism, taking due account of the arrangements decided upon for the allocation of licences for channels 3 and 5.

We envisage that, initially at least, only one franchise is likely to be awarded for any given area. It will be open to the ITC to award a second franchise if it chooses to do so ; but we are no longer proposing that it should be required ; as the White Paper envisaged, to consider advertising a further franchise or franchises for an area a short time after awarding the initial franchise there.

The aspect of the White Paper proposals which has attracted most comment is the suggestion that local delivery operators should not, except at the discretion of the ITC, be permitted to retail programme services. The objective of this proposal was to provide additional scope for competition in the retailing of programme services. While we still attach importance to this objective, we accept the argument put by many commentators that the White Paper proposal could inhibit investment in local delivery networks. We now therefore propose that local operators should be able to retail programme services without restriction, and without the need for permission from the ITC. The Government do, however, see a case for injecting some competition into the local delivery and retailing of services by loosening the present restrictions on the development of satellite master antenna television (SMATV) systems. The Cable Authority's policy towards the licensing of SMATV systems has flowed from its statutory duty to exercise its licensing powers in such a way as to promote broadband cable systems. As the White Paper indicated, the ITC will not have such a duty.

We therefore believe that the restrictions placed on SMATV hitherto could not be sustained under the new framework, and we are proposing a significant, though not total, liberalisation of SMATV systems. Under these proposals systems covering single buildings or adjacent pairs of homes sharing a party wall will be automatically licensed by means of a class licence under the Telecommunications Act 1984. Systems larger than this and covering not more than 1,000 homes would be individually licensed under that Act provided that, in the case of an application for a system within a franchise

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area, the local delivery operator (or cable operator) had been given the right of first refusal to provide a service within a reasonable timescale. Unlike local delivery operators SMATV operators would not be granted telecommunications code powers, which would in practice make it difficult for them to build systems covering more than 1,000 homes. This size limit would in any case be applied flexibly. These proposals will be subject to review in the light of experience with any changes in its existing SMATV policy which the Cable Authority decides to make.

Licensed SMATV operators would be able to carry any channels licensed by the ITC or originating from states signatory to either or both of the proposed Council of Europe convention on transfrontier television or the EC directive on broadcasting (assuming they come into affect). A system carrying channels falling outside either of these categories would need to be licensed separately by the ITC. The White Paper proposed that local operators should be liable to levy while they retained a local monopoly. We have, however, been persuaded on balance that it would be sensible not to introduce a new levy on local services. Whereas the White Paper proposed that broadcasting levies should mainly be based on advertising revenue, revenue from locally sold advertising appears at present unlikely to become a major source of finance for local services. Furthermore, we acknowledge the risk perceived by some commentators that the liability to levy might deter investment in a young industry, and we believe that this outweighs the benefits to the public purse of the modest amount of revenue which a levy might have yielded. We have given further thought to the choice of frequencies for MVDS. We have concluded that the pressures on the 2.5 GHz band, the uncertainties surrounding possible future international developments and the limited amount of spectrum that could at best be made available combine to make this band unsuitable for MVDS. We have also ruled out the band 27-29 GHz since the 40 GHz band has similar characteristics and the significant advantages of larger amounts of spectrum, no existing incumbents and is, in part, internationally designated for broadcasting.

The White Paper also canvassed the possibility of frequencies being made available in the 12 GHz band. This band and that at 40 GHz have different characteristics and competing advantages and disadvantages. We shall need to consider further from which band, or bands, frequencies should be allocated to MVDS. In order to assess the reactions of potential users, now that we have put forward these firm proposals on local services, the Department of Trade and Industry will issue a short discussion paper early in May. We fully recognise the undesirability of continuing uncertainty over the choice of frequencies for MVDS, but this is an important decision which needs to take account of the interests of all parties, including other potential users of the spectrum, from whom the Government would welcome views.

Many in the cable industry have argued that the present prohibition in the Cable and Broadcasting Act 1984 on non-EC control of cable licences should be lifted, and that no such prohibition should be placed on local delivery

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franchises under the proposed new framework. We have been giving careful thought to these representations in the context of our consideration of the general question of restrictions on the ownership and control of broadcasting licences. We hope to announce our views on this whole area before too long.

As foreshadowed in the White Paper, we propose that all cable operators awarded franchises before the date of its publication (7 November 1988) should have the right to opt to become

technology-neutral delivery operators under the proposed new framework. We have decided to propose that this right should also be extended to these applications for franchises which had to be submitted by 7 November and which were eventually successful. In both cases the right will apply only to franchise holders who have been awarded a licence by the Cable Authority before it ceases to exist. Under our proposals operators in this category will, if they so choose, be licensed as local delivery operators as of right by the ITC when it is set up. As such they will be entitled to use MVDS to deliver services to the home, subject to the availability of spectrum. It will be for the ITC to decide what frequencies can be made available to any operators who take this option. It may not always be possible for it to make available sufficient frequencies to cover an operator's entire franchise area.

Cable operators who obtain their franchises after this cut-off date and who are awarded a licence by the Cable Authority will, under our proposals, retain their status as operators licensed under the Cable and Broadcasting Act 1984 for the remainder of the terms of their licences. The ITC will discharge in relation to such licences the duties now undertaken by the Cable Authority.


Nursing and Residential Homes

Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the number of (a) nursing homes and residential homes and (b) beds in the Merseyside and north-west regions, by district health authority in (i) the public and (ii) the private sectors.

Mr. Mellor : We do not have this information in the form requested. Information on the number of residential homes and places in the north western social services region, by local authority, in local authority, voluntary and private accommodation for years prior to 31 March 1986 is published in "Residential Accommodation for Elderly and Younger Physically Handicapped People : All Residents in Local Authority, Voluntary and Private Homes year ending 31 March England" and "Homes and Hostels for Mentally Ill and Mentally Handicapped People at 31 March England". Provisional information for 1987 is given in the tables.

There are two experimental nursing homes within the NHS, one of 25 beds for frail elderly patients in Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde health authority and one of 21 beds for elderly mentally ill patients, in Liverpool health authority. The available information on independent nursing homes is published in form SBH 212. Information at 31 March 1988 will be available shortly. Copies of these publications are in the Library.

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|c|Number of residential care homes and places in North Western|c|                   

|c|social services region, as at 31 March 1987 (revised)|c|                          

                       Elderly and yo<1>Mentally il<1>Mentally   <2><3>Other client  

                       physically handicappehandicapped          groups              

                      |Homes |Places|Homes |Places|Homes |Places|Homes |Places       


North Western Region                                                                 

Local Authority Homes                                                                

Cheshire              |62    |2,134 |16    |105   |31    |390   |0     |0            

Lancashire            |98    |3,985 |10    |101   |36    |568   |0     |0            

Bolton                |16    |706   |5     |25    |3     |74    |0     |0            

Bury                  |11    |462   |0     |0     |4     |73    |0     |0            

Manchester            |46    |1,842 |19    |111   |41    |311   |1     |16           

Oldham                |21    |671   |6     |41    |4     |89    |0     |0            

Rochdale              |18    |608   |2     |21    |5     |72    |0     |0            

Salford               |21    |831   |3     |40    |8     |127   |0     |0            

Stockport             |17    |637   |10    |50    |18    |130   |0     |0            

Tameside              |13    |459   |1     |6     |5     |103   |0     |0            

Trafford              |12    |521   |2     |6     |2     |55    |0     |0            

Wigan                 |19    |824   |1     |16    |14    |184   |0     |0            

Knowsley              |5     |222   |1     |13    |6     |104   |0     |0            

Liverpool             |30    |1,441 |11    |92    |3     |163   |0     |0            

Sefton                |18    |705   |4     |27    |7     |107   |0     |0            

St. Helens            |7     |316   |1     |20    |4     |93    |0     |0            

Wirral                |26    |983   |1     |10    |18    |187   |0     |0            

                      |----  |----  |----  |----  |----  |----  |----  |----         

Total                 |440   |17,347|93    |684   |209   |2,830 |1     |16           

                      |----  |----  |----  |----  |----  |----  |----  |----         

Voluntary Homes                                                                      

Cheshire              |13    |775   |5     |57    |3     |80    |1     |11           

Lancashire            |20    |691   |0     |0     |7     |175   |0     |0            

Bolton                |3     |74    |0     |0     |0     |0     |0     |0            

Bury                  |4     |392   |0     |0     |1     |62    |0     |0            

Manchester            |8     |233   |1     |39    |0     |0     |0     |0            

Oldham                |0     |0     |2     |39    |0     |0     |0     |0            

Rochdale              |0     |0     |0     |0     |0     |0     |0     |0            

Salford               |7     |201   |0     |0     |2     |29    |0     |0            

Stockport             |1     |36    |0     |0     |1     |12    |0     |0            

Tameside              |2     |83    |1     |11    |0     |0     |0     |0            

Trafford              |5     |122   |0     |0     |2     |45    |0     |0            

Wigan                 |1     |16    |0     |0     |1     |10    |0     |0            

Knowsley              |0     |0     |0     |0     |0     |0     |0     |0            

Liverpool             |21    |719   |2     |38    |7     |156   |2     |29           

Sefton                |24    |1,075 |1     |22    |0     |0     |0     |0            

St. Helens            |3     |94    |0     |0     |0     |0     |0     |0            

Wirral                |7     |172   |0     |0     |3     |49    |1     |14           

                      |----  |----  |----  |----  |----  |----  |----  |----         

Total                 |119   |4,673 |12    |206   |27    |618   |4     |54           

                      |----  |----  |----  |----  |----  |----  |----  |----         

Private Homes                                                                        

Cheshire              |63    |1,083 |1     |17    |3     |26    |0     |0            

Lancashire            |463   |6,768 |2     |13    |17    |123   |0     |0            

Bolton                |25    |405   |0     |0     |0     |0     |0     |0            

Bury                  |10    |181   |0     |0     |0     |0     |0     |0            

Manchester            |48    |700   |6     |98    |1     |28    |0     |0            

Oldham                |28    |528   |0     |0     |0     |0     |0     |0            

Rochdale              |15    |329   |0     |0     |0     |0     |0     |0            

Salford               |8     |194   |0     |0     |1     |12    |0     |0            

Stockport             |41    |588   |0     |0     |0     |0     |0     |0            

Tameside              |19    |319   |0     |0     |0     |0     |0     |0            

Trafford              |43    |613   |6     |36    |0     |0     |0     |0            

Wigan                 |12    |216   |1     |9     |0     |0     |0     |0            

Knowsley              |4     |63    |0     |0     |0     |0     |0     |0            

Liverpool             |24    |496   |1     |25    |0     |0     |0     |0            

Sefton                |109   |1,816 |1     |8     |7     |110   |0     |0            

St. Helens            |3     |92    |0     |0     |0     |0     |0     |0            

Wirral                |58    |946   |2     |30    |14    |82    |0     |0            

                      |----  |----  |----  |----  |----  |----  |----  |----         

Total                 |973   |15,337|20    |236   |43    |381   |0     |0            

<1> Includes unstaffed homes and hostels.                                            

<2> Collected from 1987 onwards.                                                     

<3> Includes alcohol and drug misusers.                                              

Hearing Aids

Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the number of hearing aid centres, and their location, by district health authority.

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Mr. Mellor : Since the procurement and distribution of hearing aids has been administered by Mersey regional health authority on behalf of the National Health Service, a list of hearing aid centres has not been maintained centrally.

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Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has as to the usage of National Health Service hearing aids, once dispensed.

Mr. Mellor : The Institute of Hearing Research estimated in a survey conducted between 1980 and 1986 that 76 per cent. of National Health Institute hearing aids dispensed to adults were in regular use.

Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will take steps to ensure that better information is available to people with a hearing loss as to the help available ;

(2) what is done to ensure that those issued with National Health Service hearing aids are given adequate advice and instruction on how to derive benefit.

Mr. Mellor : Anyone worried about his hearing should first consult his general practitioner. Where necessary, the patient will be referred to a hospital for examination by a consultant who, if appropriate, will refer the patient to a hearing aid centre for the correct hearing aid to be fitted. Audiological technicians will provide advice and information on how to use and maintain hearing aids and all new users are given a copy of the Department's booklet which explains how to use a hearing aid. Some health authorities also employ hearing therapists to assist people requiring particular rehabilitative help.

We are at present giving careful consideration to suggestions for changes in the current arrangements for the provision of hearing aid services in response to the "Fair Hearing" campaign launched by the Royal National Institute for the Deaf.

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NHS Employees (Freedom of Speech)

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what disciplinary sanctions are available to Health Service managers in relation to any public comments made about the National Health Service, the health authority or any National Health Service matter by National Health Service employees ;

(2) what restrictions on freedom of speech are incorporated in the contracts of those working within the National Health Service.

Mr. Mellor : Disciplinary action and the terms of individual contracts of employment for National Health Service employees are matters for individual employing health authorities.

Hospital Statistics

Mr. Knox : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many hospital in-patients were treated in National Health Service hospitals in each year since 1959 ;

(2) how many beds there were in National Health Service hospitals in each year since 1959 ;

(3) what was the size of the in-patient waiting list at National Health Service hospitals on 31 March in each year since 1959 ; (4) how many hospital day cases were treated in National Health Service hospitals in each year since 1959 ;

(5) how many hospital out-patients were treated in National Health Service hospitals in each year since 1959.

Mr. Freeman : The information requested is given in the table.

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|c|National Health Service hospitals activity, 1959 to 1987-88|c|               








































NHS Doctors

Mr. Knox : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many doctors were employed in National Health Service hospitals in each year since 1959, expressed in terms of whole-time equivalents.

Mr. Mellor : The information requested is set out in the following table :

|c|Hospital medical staff in England and Wales<1>|c|              

Year                  |Whole time equivalent                      


1959                  |16,033                                     

1960                  |16,584                                     

1961                  |16,932                                     

1962                  |17,557                                     

1963                  |17,971                                     

1964                  |18,346                                     

1965                  |18,905                                     

1966                  |19,541                                     

1967                  |20,395                                     

1968                  |21,232                                     

1969                  |22,001                                     

1970                  |22,585                                     

1971                  |23,806                                     

1972                  |25,043                                     

1973                  |26,151                                     

1974                  |26,999                                     

1975                  |28,441                                     

1976                  |29,251                                     

1977                  |30,047                                     

1978                  |30,998                                     

1979                  |32,142                                     

1980                  |33,257                                     

1981                  |34,047                                     

1982                  |34,538                                     

1983                  |35,261                                     

1984                  |35,430                                     

1985                  |35,940                                     

1986                  |36,317                                     

1987                  |36,298                                     

<1>Information is given for England and Wales because it is not   

available for England only prior to 1971.                         


1. Figures include permanent paid and honorary staff but exclude  

locums and staff in the special hospitals.                        

2. To maintain comparability to data hospital practitioners and   

clinical assistants (para 94) have been excluded throughout.      

NHS Expenditure

Mr. Knox : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent on the National Health Service in each year since 1959, at constant prices.

Mr. Freeman : The table shows expenditure on the NHS inclusive of charges in each year since 1959 in constant 1988 prices. The figures have been derived from the United Kingdom national accounts prepared by the Central Statistical Office.

£ million                  

Year     |Gross<1>         


1959     |7,173            

1960     |7,776            

1961     |8,066            

1962     |8,134            

1963     |8,486            

1964     |8,947            

1965     |9,052            

1966     |9,465            

1967     |10,124           

1968     |10,585           

1969     |10,851           

1970     |11,596           

1971     |12,124           

1972     |12,982           

1973     |13,651           

1974     |16,245           

1975     |17,308           

1976     |17,799           

1977     |17,561           

1978     |18,092           

1979     |18,374           

1980     |19,710           

1981     |20,348           

1982     |19,968           

1983     |21,445           

1984     |21,583           

1985     |21,840           

1986     |22,648           

1987     |23,683           

1988     |24,186           

<1>Gross National Health   

Service expenditure at     

1988 prices.               

Dependent Territories (NHS Treatment)

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out the detailed arrangements for implementing the new scheme under which medical referrals to the United Kingdom for free National Health Service treatment will be allowed for patients from the dependent territories of Montserrat, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands and St. Helena ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellor : Detailed arrangements for implementing the scheme, which began on 1 April 1989, are still under discussion with the territories involved. For the moment, however, where cases arise we have suggested that territories should make contact with the Department of Health, which will recommend suitable treatment centres for individual patients. The operation of the scheme will be kept under review in the light of experience.

Sonia Cabey

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if payment is now to be waived of the costs of treating the late Sonia Cabey of Montserrat under the National Health Service at the Brompton hospital ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellor : The Overseas Development Administration has paid the costs of the private treatment received by Miss Cabey.

Organ Transplants

Sir Geoffrey Finsberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what representations he has received seeking assurances that adoptive parents and adoptive brothers and sisters are not precluded from donating organs for transplant ;

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(2) what representations he has received seeking assurances that spouses will not be precluded from donating organs for transplant.

Mr. Freeman : None. The Human Organ Transplants Bill, now before the House, is not intended to deny individuals the opportunity of donating organs for altruistic motives.

Under the provisions of the Bill, the transplantation of a human organ from a live donor who is not genetically related to the recipient will be permitted if certain conditions are satisfied. These conditions will be the subject of regulations to be drawn up following consultation with the profession and other bodies.

Adult Placement Schemes

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if, following the recent conclusions of the survey of adult placement schemes conducted by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys, he proposes to encourage the growth of such schemes.

Mr. Mellor : Adult placement schemes have their place in the full range of community care provision. It is for local social services authorities to decide what services to provide in the light of local needs and opportunities and the overall level of resources available. We are considering the funding and organisation of community care generally in the light of Sir Roy Griffiths' report and hope to bring forward our proposals in the near future.

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Doncaster Health Authority (Chairman)

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the name of the new chairman of the Doncaster health authority, the date his appointment will commence, his terms of contract, and his annual salary ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellor : The current chairman has resigned with effect from 1 June 1989. The name and term of office of the new chairman will be announced shortly. Chairmen are entitled to receive remuneration which currently stands at £11,868 a year. If they choose not to receive this they may in certain circumstances be eligible to claim financial loss allowance.


Social Security Appeal Tribunals

Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish information on (a) the total number of appeals, (b) the number of appellants who were represented, and (c) the number of appellants in both these categories where appeals were successful for each of the social security appeal tribunals in the Strathclyde and County Durham areas for each of the years since 1980.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : National administrative statistics for social security appeal tribunals are not disaggregated for areas smaller than a social security region.

Information is not available in the form requested prior to 1984. The tables give the required information from 1984 to the quarter ending September 1988 (the latest figures available).

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|c|Social Security appeal tribunals|c|                                                                                                                                         

Period                   |Total number of appeals |Total number represented|Total in claimant's     |Total number not        |Total in claimant's                              

                         |heard                                            |favour                  |represented             |favour                                           



Nine months ending                                                                                                                                                             

 December 1984           |11,252                  |3,332                   |1,551                   |7,920                   |1,355                                            

12 months ending                                                                                                                                                               

 December 1985           |19,003                  |6,133                   |3,016                   |12,870                  |2,304                                            

12 months ending                                                                                                                                                               

 December 1986           |22,561                  |6,464                   |3,203                   |16,097                  |2,959                                            

12 months ending                                                                                                                                                               

 December 1987           |31,819                  |9,713                   |4,922                   |22,106                  |4,138                                            

Nine months ending                                                                                                                                                             

 September 1988          |36,467                  |11,921                  |6,990                   |24,546                  |6,554                                            


North East                                                                                                                                                                     

Nine months ending                                                                                                                                                             

 December 1984           |11,757                  |2,757                   |1,141                   |9,000                   |1,400                                            

12 months ending                                                                                                                                                               

 December 1985           |18,724                  |4,003                   |1,677                   |14,721                  |2,206                                            

12 months ending                                                                                                                                                               

 December 1986           |20,040                  |4,288                   |1,951                   |15,752                  |2,702                                            

12 months ending                                                                                                                                                               

 December 1987           |27,198                  |5,106                   |2,231                   |22,092                  |3,312                                            

Nine months ending                                                                                                                                                             

 September 1988          |27,364                  |5,905                   |2,850                   |21,459                  |3,597                                            

Siemens Printers

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many Siemens ND3 printers are used by his Department, either in-house or through a private contract ; and what is the location of each.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The Department has a total of seven Siemens ND3 printers in use, located at the following buildings :

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Location                                        |Number of printers in use                          


DSS, Government Buildings, Moorland Road,                                                           

 Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire                   |3                                                  

DSS, Hesketh House, 22-202 Broadway, Fleetwood,                                                     

 Lancashire                                     |2                                                  

DSS, Durham House, Town Centre, Washington,                                                         

 Tyne and Wear                                  |2                                                  

None is in use through private contract.


Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will take steps to ensure that after 9 October all refuge rents, of however short a duration, will be paid.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : From 9 October people who now receive income support at hostel rates (including those in refuges) will be treated in the same way as hostel dwellers not on income support and will need to claim housing benefit to help with the accommodation element of the hostel charge. The housing benefit regulations already allow entitlement to housing benefit to accrue on a daily basis, provided the liability is daily. Regardless of the basis on which housing benefit is calculated it cannot be paid more frequently than weekly, and normally no more often than fortnightly. It will generally be for the claimant to pay any balance of the charge which housing benefit does not meet (including any amount for fuel or meals) from their income support or other resources.

Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if, after 9 October, young women claimants will be paid the same amount of income support as other women in refuges, whether they are parents or not.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : From 9 October 1989 the normal income support rules will apply to all women living in refuges. Their applicable amount will be made up of a personal allowance plus allowances for any dependent children living with them and any premiums which may be appropriate. All of these elements are related either to age or to whether or not the claimant is a parent.

Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when details of transitional payments to refuges will be made available.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : We are introducing special arrangements to assist existing hostels and claimants after the implementation of the changes to income support for hostel dwellers in October 1989. Payments to hostels will initially be made by DSS local offices, and subsequently from a central unit which will be set up in the Department. This unit will be responsible for monitoring the effects of the reform on individual hostels, and making payments to compensate for resulting loss in revenue from charges currently met by income support. In finalising these arrangements consideration will be given to the views of the hostel sector through discussions which are already under way.

Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what extra financial help will be given to local authorities to assist in the extra workload when housing benefit replaces board and lodgings payments for women and children staying in refuges.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Proposals for supporting local authorities' costs in handling the additional workload arising from the inclusion of hostel dwellers in the housing benefit scheme are due to be discussed shortly with the local authority associations. Local authorities will be advised of the additional support to be made available to them as soon as these discussions have been completed.

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Income Support

Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security where after 9 October, the shortfall between a woman and two children being entitled to £80.40 board and lodgings and the new £61.75 income support will come from ; and whether there will be any conditions attached to any shortfall money given.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : From October 1989 people living in hostels, in common with the majority of households, will be eligible for housing benefit to help with their accommodation costs and normal income support to help with other necessities. Claimants living in hostels at the time of the change who would otherwise suffer a drop in their disposable income, after the full hostel charge has been met, will receive special payments from the Department. These payments will continue for as long as the claimant continues to live at the same hostel. They will be reduced only as normal income support rates increase.


Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement setting out details of the costs of the proposed enhanced pensions referred to in his Department's letter reference LS619/243/2 DML/17/89 which will be payable to staff on leaving his Department.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : It is not possible to detail the costs of pensions under flexible early retirement (FER) as each case is assessed according to grade, salary, number of years reckonable service, age, etc. As the actual decision whether to retire is for the officer alone, it is not possible to anticipate the number of payments. Provision is however made within the Departmental budget.

Shettleston Office

Mr. David Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he is now able to state the exact date when work will start on the construction of his Department's new office in Shettleston.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : I am unable to state the exact date, but present indications are that work will start on site at the beginning of next month.

Taxes and Benefits

Mr. Squire : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will update his answer to the hon. Member for Hornchurch, 17 February, Official Report, column 393, to take account of the freeze in child benefit in April.

Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will update the answer of 17 February to the hon. Member for Hornchurch, (Mr. Squire) Official Report, column 393, concerning marginal tax and benefit withdrawal rates facing households, to take account of the proposed benefit uprating in April and the estimated effect of the changes to the national insurance system announced by Mr. Chancellor in the 1989 Budget.

Mr. Peter Lloyd [holding answers 22 March and 7 April 1989] : Taking account of the effect of the March 1989 Budget and the reform of the employees' national insurance contributions reforms which occur in October, it is estimated that in 1989-90 a total of 420,000 working

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heads with 1 million adult and child dependants may sometimes experience combined marginal rates of deduction exceeding 50 per cent.


House Condition Survey

Mr. John Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will publish by (a) tenure, (b) income and (c) age of head of household, the following information gathered for the English house condition survey (a) the number of homes with rising damp, penetrating damp, slight would mould growth, serious mould growth, excissive draughts, (b) the number of houses with seriously defective, defective, just acceptable, satisfactory and unknown dampness and provide written material used in instructing surveyors on how to intepret these categories and on how to decide whether a dwelling was unfit for human habitation under the Housing Act 1955 for reason of dampness or other reason and (c) to tabulate slight and serious mould growth by main types of exterior wall ; (2) if he will publish by (a) tenure, (b) income, (c) age of head of household, (d) employment status, (e) age of dwelling, (f) type of heating system and (g) main fuel type, where applicable, the following information gathered in the interview survey for the English home condition survey : (i) questions 19a, 19c, 19d, 19f, (ii) questions 21 to 23c, (iii) questions 24 to 26b, (iv) questions 28 to 42, (v) question 44 and (vi) question 48.

Mr. Trippier : As my right hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government indicated in Standing Committee G on 20 April, information on these topics will be published in a supplementary report on the English house condition survey.

Housing Investment

Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list at 1987-88 outturn prices local authorities' housing capital investment (a) in Greater London, (b) in other metropolitan areas, (c) in non-metropolitan areas, (d) in the non-metropolitan areas in the south-east and (e) in England (i) during 1980-81, (ii) during 1982-83, (iii) during 1984-85 and (iv) during 1986-87 (1) in new building, (2) in renovation of their existing stock, (3) in renovation grants, (4) in loans to housing associations and (5) in other housing activities.

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