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Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the proposed lower thresholds for a renovation grant contained in the consultation paper "Renovation Grants : Proposed Test of Resources", for (a) a single disabled person with a disability premium, (b) a single disabled person with a severe disability premium, (c) a married couple, one of whom is in receipt of the disability premium, and (d) a married couple with two children one of whom is in receipt of the disability premium.
Mr. Trippier : The consultation paper proposes that the lower income threshold for the new renovation grants should be related to each household's circumstances. It would be calculated using weekly allowances and premiums broadly similar to those used in the calculation of housing and community charge benefits, with the addition of a £20 per week "renovation grant premium". Using the allowances and premiums currently in force under the housing benefit regulations, the lower income thresholds would be as follows : (
(a) Single disabled person : £68.60 (£3,567 pa)
(b) Single severely disabled person : £94.80 (£4,930 pa) (
(c) Married couple, one disabled : £94.30 (£4,904 pa)
(d) Married couple, two children, one disabled : £122.50 (£6,370 pa)
In each case the applicant is assumed to be between 25 and 59 years old and any children are 11 to 15. Where the applicant is younger a different personal allowance would apply, and there will be a scale of allowances for children of different age groups. There will also be different premiums for people aged 60 or over. The lower threshold will therefore depend upon the precise composition of the household.
Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the proposed upper income thresholds for a grant for eligible works contained in the consultation paper "Renovation Grants : Proposed Test of Resources, amounting to (a) £5,000, (b) £10,000, (c) £15,000 and (d) £20,000 in each of the following cases (a) a single disabled person with a severe disability premium, (b) a single disabled person with a severe disability premium, (c) a married couple, one of whom is in receipt of the disability premium and (d) a married couple with two children one of whom is in receipt of the disability premium.
Mr. Trippier : The upper income threshold for renovation grant eligibility depends upon the cost of eligible works and the composition of the applicant's household. Net income would be assessed according to rules broadly the same as those applicable to housing and community charge benefit and be subject to similar disregards. Using the rules currently in force for housing benefit, the upper income threshold for renovation grant eligibility in each of the cases cited would be as follows :
case Upper net income threshold for renovation grant eligibility-£pw (£pa) by cost of eligible works ------------------------------------------------------------------- |£ |£ |£ |£ Works costing |5,000 |10,000 |15,000 |20,000 (a) Single, disabled |170.48 |257.35 |344.23 |431.10 |(8,865) |(13,382)|(17,900)|(22,417) (b) Single, severely |196.68 |283.55 |370.43 |457.30 disabled |(10,227)|(14,745)|(19,262)|(23,780) (c) Married couple, |196.18 |283.05 |369.93 |456.80 one disabled |(10,201)|(14,719)|(19,236)|(23,754) (d) Married couple, |219.38 |306.25 |393.13 |480.00 two children, one |(11,408)|(15,925)|(20,443)|(24,960) disabled
These figures assume that the applicant is earning, and take into account the appropriate earnings disregards (£15 per week in cases (a) to (c) , £10 per week in case (d) . In
Column 168each case it is assumed that the claimant is between 25 and 59 years old, any children are aged 11 to 15, and that capital after any appropriate disregard is £5,000 or less.
Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the maximum proposed level of grant contained in the consultation paper "Renovation Grants : proposed test of resources" in each of the following cases (a) a single disabled person with a disability premium, (b) a single disabled person with a severe disability premium, (c) a married couple, one of whom is in receipt of the disability premium, and (d) a married couple with two children one of whom is in receipt of the disability premium for a person with savings of (i) nil, (ii) £3,000, (iii) £5,000, (iv) £8,000 and (v) £10,000.
Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he intends to seek powers to rectify the position where local authorities have sought information on poll tax registration forms in excess of his recommendation ; and if he will seek powers to determine what information local authorities are able to seek in future years ;
(2) what guidance he issued to local authorities about the information they should seek on the poll tax registration form ; which information he has concerning local authorities which have asked for information in excess of his recommendation ; what communications he has had with those authorities ; and what advice he has given to them concerning rectification.
Mr. Gummer : The Government have no plans to introduce a poll tax. It is for community charges registration officers to ensure that any request for information made for the purpose of compiling registers falls within their statutory powers. Guidance on these matters is contained in Community Charge Practice Note No. 8 pubished in November 1988. Copies of all practice notes are in the Library.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has on the progress in the establishment of local arrangements to cover payment by student nurses of the poll tax ; and if he will make a statement.
Most student nurses training under the existing arrangements are salaried and will pay the full personal community charge reduced by any community charge benefit to which they may be entitled. Nursing students training under the proposed Project 2000 scheme will pay only 20 per cent. of the personal community charge like other full time students.
Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the disability organisations which responded to the consultation document entitled "Home Improvement Policy : Proposed Test of Resources".
Association of Disabled Professionals ;
Derbyshire Centre for Integrated Living ;
Disabled Living Foundation ;
Disablement Information Centre and Advice Line, Wakefield ; Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (RADAR) ;
Society for Mentally Handicapped Children and Adults (MENCAP) Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in light of responses from disability organisations to the consultation document entitled "Home Improvement Policy : Proposed Test of Resources", he plans to review his decision to impose a test of resources on disabled facilities grants ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : The proposed test of resources is intended to ensure that those least able to afford the costs of adaptations receive the grants that they need. We do not propose to abandon the principle of the test, but we are not committed to the precise details proposed in the consultation paper. We shall announce our decisions in due course.
Sir John Farr : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if any of the expenditure for 1989-90 by the Rural Development Commission will be for rural development programmes in the county of Leicester.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : There is no rural development programme as such in Leicestershire. The Rural Development Commission makes grants under other headings in the county, as well as providing advice and loans to small rural businesses.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will meet a delegation in July from the National Steel-Framed Home Owners Association and their local members to discuss the problems of steel-framed homes.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment on what grounds the Nottingham city council's estate action application for the BISF estate in Nottingham was rejected ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : The Nottingham city's application for Estate Action resources for the BISF houses was turned down because the scheme did not meet the main Estate Action criterion which is to promote innovation in the way local authorities manage and refurbish their estates.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list each local authority which has applied to his Department under the Housing Act 1988, section 129, for approval for a scheme providing cash incentives for their existing tenants to purchase homes elsewhere ; and if he will list for each such scheme submitted to his Department for approval (a) the total amount of cash which would be made available per annum for the scheme, (b) the total number of households which would be eligible each year for assistance, (c) the minimum level of assistance which the scheme would provide per household, (d) the maximum level of assistance which the scheme would provide per household, (e) the criteria which would be used to select which households would be assisted and (f) the criteria which would be used to select which properties they would be assisted to buy.
Mr. Trippier : The table sets out the local authorities which have sought approval for schemes in 1989-90, the maximum expenditure to be incurred, and the grants to be made available to households. Most of the schemes are limited to tenants of family houses, and in some cases the grant to be paid varies according to the size of the property vacated ; it will be for each authority to determine which tenants to assist if the number of eligible applicants exceeds the funds available. The choice of a new home is left to the recipient of the grant, subject to a price limit.
Local authority |Maximum expenditure £ |Maximum number of |Grant for eachhousehold £ |households assisted ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Adur |80,000 |8 |10,000 Arun<1> |50,000 |5 |10,000 Bromley<1> |1,000,000 |100 |10-13,000 Carrick<1> |100,000 |20 |5,000 Colchester<1> |150,000 |20 |10,000 Croydon<1> |650,000 |50 |13,000 Ealing |1,500,000 |70 |15,000 Hammersmith/Fulham |200,000 |30 |5-10,000 Haringey<1> |500,000 |38 |13,000 Harrow<1> |200,000 |16 |12,500 Hart<1> |100,000 |12 |8,000 Havering |350,000 |35 |10,000 Hillingdon |250,000 |16 |15,000 Leominster |Details awaited Mendip<1> |80,000 |21 |10,000 New Forest<1> |250,000 |30 |7-9,000 North Beds |100,000 |13 |7,000 North Cornwall<1> |70,000 |13 |7,500 Rochester<1> |200,000 |15 |6-8,000 Rushmoor<1> |50,000 |6 |7-8,000 Shepway<1> |100,000 |8 |13,000 Slough<1> |500,000 |30 |18,000 South Bucks<1> |66,000 |6 |9-11,000 St. Albans |150,000 |12 |13,000 Taunton Deane<1> |275,000 |35 |10,000 Test Valley<1> |250,000 |25 |10,000 Tunbridge Wells<1> |200,000 |20 |10,000 Wandsworth<1> |2,000,000 |150 |13,000 Wealden<1> |60,000 |10 |6,000 Westminster |1,500,000 |100 |15,000 <1>Approved schemes.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's guidance to rent officers in carrying out their new role under the Housing Act 1988, Part V, as from 1 April 1989.
Mr. Trippier : The detailed basis on which rent officers assess the rent paid by, and accommodation occupied by, private tenants claiming housing benefit is set out in the Rent Officers (Additional Functions) Order 1989. Advice on how rent officers might approach their new task-- particularly in circumstances where no direct market evidence is available- -was included in a study of the private rented housing market commissioned by the Department from the consultants Price Waterhouse. Copies of that report were circulated to rent officers and were placed in the Library in February.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are his Department's plans to monitor the impact of the Housing Act 1988, Part I, on (a) the number of homeless households accepted by local
Column 172authorities in England and (b) the ability of local authorities in England to secure housing for homeless households.
Mr. Trippier : Part I of the Housing Act 1988 should improve the supply of rented accommodation and therefore reduce homelessness. Research into its effects will be carried out in due course, as part of the Department's research programme.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was (a) the level of central Government housing subsidy, and (b) the level of discretionary rate fund contributions to local authority housing revenue accounts (a) in inner London, (b) in outer London, (c) in the south-east outside London, (d) in metropolitan areas outside London, (e) in non- metropolitan areas outside the south-east, and (f) in England as a whole in each year from 1981-82 to 1987-88 ; and if he will give this information at constant 1987-88 prices.
Mr. Trippier : The information requested is shown in the table. The rate fund contribution figures (RFCs) are net amounts (the balance between contributions to housing revenue accounts and transfers the other way to general rate funds). For completeness, the information for the GLC/LRB is shown also. The main housing subsidy figures will differ from those published previously because they include subsequent adjustments to the original claims received by the Department and are expressed at 1987-88 prices.
Main housing subsidy (MHS) claimed and net rate fund contributions (RFCs) made (£0.0 million, 1987-88 prices) 1981-82 1982-83 1983-84 1984-85 1985-86 1986-87 1987-88 Area |MHS |RFCs |MHS |RFCs |MHS |RFCs |MHS |RFCs |MHS |RFCs |MHS |RFCs |MHS |RFCs ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (a)Inner London boroughs and Corporation of London |466.0 |287.0 |367.6 |252.7 |321.0 |283.7 |318.2 |217.0 |359.8 |211.8 |328.8 |234.2 |287.1 |227.4 (b)Outer London boroughs |226.2 |89.1 |122.4 |68.2 |84.4 |67.6 |81.8 |40.1 |93.3 |21.7 |80.8 |22.9 |66.0 |11.1 (c)GLC/LRB |105.2 |122.3 |47.8 |126.3 |37.8 |142.1 |30.5 |130.5 |17.5 |144.4 |- |- |- |- (d)South-East-outside London |127.6 |-3.6 |32.3 |0.4 |16.6 |-2.2 |16.3 |-3.1 |23.2 |-7.9 |18.0 |-8.6 |15.9 |-15.3 (e)Metropolitan areas -outside London |327.9 |195.6 |68.6 |167.5 |19.7 |154.9 |25.0 |103.6 |34.5 |65.1 |35.1 |45.2 |30.2 |65.4 (f)Non-Metropolitan areas -outside the South East |344.1 |38.8 |51.5 |33.6 |21.4 |28.9 |22.0 |19.5 |66.9 |13.2 |44.2 |-0.9 |37.4 |-8.4 (g)All England |1,597.0|729.2 |690.2 |648.7 |500.9 |675.0 |493.8 |507.6 |595.2 |488.3 |506.9 |292.8 |436.6 |280.2 Notes: 1. The LRB ceased to operate a Housing Revenue Account after 1985-86. 2. The main housing subsidy figures are entitlements for each financial year and not payments made in that year. 3. The rate fund contributions may not be the final figure for each year but are based on informa tion received by the Department in connection with housing subsidy claims.
Mr. Howard : Water undertakers already take special precautions to ensure continuity of supplies to customers who use dialysis machines. Further safeguards against disconnection of domestic customers will be included in the conditions of appointment of the new water undertakers. Disconnection will not normally be allowed without prior application to the county court for debt recovery, nor where the local social security or social services office has requested a delay to examine the customer's circumstances. No Bill amendment is needed.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Rural development programmes are drawn up for the rural development areas designated in 1984 by the rural development commission. The criteria which the Department laid down for the selection of such areas were :
(a) above average unemployment ;
(b) an inadequate or unsatisfactory range of employment opportunities ;
(c) adverse effects from population decline or sparsity of population ;
Column 173(d) net outward migration of population ;
(e) disproportionate number of elderly people ;
(f) poor access to services and facilities.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he is taking to ensure a sufficient supply of wheelchair housing for people with disabilities who wish to leave residential care or to set up home on their own ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : It is for housing authorities to analyse needs locally and to bid for resources through the housing investment programme system to enable provision to be made--in collaboration with voluntary and private agencies.
My Department will be sponsoring a research project this year to assess what proportion of disabled and elderly people need special accommodation and to examine the most cost-effective methods of provision.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the number of completions of (a) wheelchair housing and (b) mobility housing by (i) local authorities, (ii) housing associations and (iii) the private sector in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available.
Mr. Trippier : Numbers of new completions of wheelchair and mobility dwellings for local authorities and new towns and for housing associations in 1988 appear in table 1.6(b) of "Housing and Construction Statistics", part 1 No. 36 ; figures for earlier years appear in table 6.7(b) of "Housing and Construction Statistics 1977-87" ; copies of both publications are in the Library. No reliable estimates of private sector completions are available.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has commissioned any studies on the operation of bottle re-use schemes, with standard specification bottles, in other countries.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The former Waste Management Advisory Council published a study in 1981 of returnable and non-returnable containers, based on a review of overseas practice. The Government believe that the council's recommendations against mandatory re-use schemes are still valid.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what ministerial permission has (a) been requested and (b) been granted for relaxation of STW discharge consents for South West Water ; and what period of time they are to cover.
Mr. Howard [holding answer 6 June 1989] : On 7 December ( Official Report, column 199 ) I announced a capital programme costing around £1 billion to bring sewage treatment works into compliance with their discharge consents by March 1992. Water authorities may apply for time limited consents for those works to regularise current performance and maintain the current river water quality while improvements take place.
Eighty three applications for such consents have been received from South West Water. A list of those sewage
Column 174works for which these applications have been made has been placed in the Library of the House. None has yet been granted. The capital works will generally be completed by March 1992. The time limited consents for any individual works will cover the period up until commissioning of the upgraded works. Thereafter consent conditions no less stringent than those which currently apply will be imposed.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 6 June 1989] : Discussions on the proposal for an EC directive on habitat protection have continued at three working group meetings called by the Spanish Presidency. A technical and scientific working group has been set up to prepare four of the annexes omitted from the Commission's draft. Many of the points which led member states unanimously to reject the Commission's proposals at the Environment Council on 24 November 1988 remain to be resolved.
Mr. Knox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what system his Department operates to ensure that recipients of grant aid under section 16 of the Housing and Planning Act 1986, and section 73 of the Housing Act 1985 are accountable to his Department for expenditure and performance ; and whether that system takes into account such factors as the size of the grant made by the Department, and the administrative capacity of small organisations in receipt of such grants.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 26 May 1989] : The formal conditions of grant for organisations contain the expenditure and performance targets and rules designed to secure the necessary accountability for the proper and effective use of funds. Any organisation unable to meet these vital terms would not receive grant aid. Monitoring by my Department is through audited claims and accounts, general and specific reports and through visits and meetings with the organisations concerned.
Mr. Franks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will exercise his powers under section 22(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1982 to require the Audit Commission to order an extraordinary audit into loans made by the Barrow-in-Furness borough council to Barrow Borough Transport Ltd.
Mr. Franks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek to obtain a copy of the report by the chief executive of Barrow-in-Furness borough council dated 20 April and entitled "Inquiry into the Formation of Barrow Borough Transport Ltd. and the Borough Council's Investment in the Company".
|Persons ------------------------------------------------ Rent rebate (public sector) |490,000 Rent allowance (private sector) |75,000
Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if, in light of the Social Security Advisory Committee's report entitled, "Benefits for Disabled People : a Strategy for Change," he is examining ways in which a partial incapacity benefit for disabled people could be introduced.
Mr. Scott : I have noted the views of the Social Security advisory committee. We shall look at the need for a partial incapacity benefit when we examine existing benefit provision against the findings of the OPCS surveys.
(2) when he plans to conclude discussions with local authority associations on the implementation of section 7 of the Disabled Persons Act 1986 ;
(3) when he plans to implement section 7 of the Disabled Persons Act 1986.
Mr. Scott : We cannot at present indicate when we will implement section 7 as we are still in discussion about the costs, which the local authority associations estimate at more than £100 million a year. We hope to reach firm conclusions later in the year.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish the number of prosecutions and convictions for social security frauds in Scotland in each of the past ten years, giving the sums of money and the number of people involved ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 176security frauds in Scotland are detailed in the table. Information relating to the sums of money involved is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Statistics prior to 1984-85 are not available.
|Total |Benefit fraud |Instrument of payment |fraud -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Prosecutions 1984-85 |463 |306 |157 1985-86 |541 |327 |214 1985-87 |791 |578 |213 1987-88 |769 |430 |339 1988-89 |986 |566 |420 Convictions 1984-85 |444 |301 |143 1985-86 |529 |320 |209 1986-87 |777 |569 |208 1987-88 |754 |424 |330 1988-89 |950 |550 |400
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much money he estimates has been lost in each year since 1979 as a result of fraudulent social security claims and how many persons have been successfully prosecuted in (a) England and Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Strathclyde and (d) Greenock and Port Glasgow.
The numbers of successful prosecutions instigated by the Department in respect of fraudulent social security claims is as follows: |Great Britain<1> |Scotland<2> |Strathclyde<2> |Greenock and Port |Glasgow<2> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1979-80 |16,236 |- |- |- 1980-81 |18,369 |- |- |- 1981-82 |13,856 |- |- |- 1982-83 |11,312 |- |- |- 1983-84 |5,987 |- |- |- 1984-85 |6,550 |301 |- |- 1985-86 |6,586 |320 |176 |3 1986-87 |6,203 |569 |147 |9 1987-88 |6,931 |424 |181 |3 <1> Includes both fraudulent benefit claims and fraudulent instrument of payment encashment. Separation of figures not available. <2> Relates only to fraudulent benefit claims. Earlier information is not available.
14. Mr. Gow : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many houses and flats are owned by local authorities in Scotland ; and what proposals he has to give to their tenants the opportunities to become owner occupiers.
In the light of the continuing success of the Government's right-to-buy policy, we have no plans at present to change the current statutory arrangements.