|Previous Section||Home Page|
- Total net income: in work Gross earnings |£ per week --------------------------------------------- 100 |128.38 150 |137.07 200 |167.53 250 |200.53 300 |233.53 Note: Total net income is defined as take-home pay plus social security benefits.
Question : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, how many and what percentage of families with children have mortgages distinguishing between working and out of work families and between those who earn : (a) under £150 per week, (b) £150-200, (c) £200-300 and (d) over £300.
The information requested is set out in the table below :
Number and percentage of families with children who have mortgages 1986 Gross weekly earned |Working families with |Percentage of all such |Weekly mortgage interest income |mortgages |working families |000's |£ ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Under £150 |450 |46 |22.90 £150-£200 |580 |62 |21.70 £200-300 |1,400 |79 |26.10 Over £300 |1,420 |88 |40.70 |--- |--- |--- Total |3,850 |73 |30.50
|Unemployed families |Percentage of all |Weekly mortgage interest |unemployed families |000's |£ ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Total |80 |19 |21.30 Source: 1986 Family Expenditure Survey. Notes: 1. A "working family" is defined as one where at least one of the two parents is in full-time employment or self-employment ( working 24 or more hours each week for employees in employment and 30 hours or more for the self-employed). "Unemployed" couples with children are defined by the supplementary benefit status of the head of the family. 2. For working families, gross weekly earned income excluded income from state benefits.
Sir Ian Gilmour : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will republish and complete his reply to the question dated 24 July, from the right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham, showing the effect of the community charge on the numbers of (a) families and (b) persons dependent on means-tested benefits.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The community charge transitional household relief scheme for England announced by my hon. Friend the Member for Wirral, West (Mr. Hunt) on 11 October will have a considerable impact on the numbers of people who will get community charge benefit. Detailed work on these estimates has not yet been completed. I will write to my right hon. Friend after the Government's public expenditure plans for 1990-91 have been made public. In broad terms between a quarter and a third of those liable to pay the full community charge will be entitled to community charge benefit.
Sir Ian Gilmour : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the number of working families with children and a mortgage, whose net incomes after income tax, national insurance contribution, mortgage and local authority rates were within (a) 80 per cent. and (b) 70-79 per cent. of their income support entitlements.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : It is estimated that in 1989-90 approximately 10,000 working heads of families with children and mortgages had net incomes within 80 per cent. of their potential out-of-work net incomes. A further 20,000 had net incomes between 70 and 79 per cent. of their out-of-work net incomes. (Net in-work income is defined as gross wages less appropriate tax and national insurance deductions and housing costs. Full take-up of in-work benefits is assumed where appropriate.)
Sir Ian Gilmour : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he intends to reply to the question from the right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham dated 24 June, showing the number of working families and out-of-work families with children at specified income levels.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish in the Official Report details of those sections of his Department which have been relocated in the last five years, indicating the sites to which they have been moved ; whether consideration is being given to future relocation of London-based sections of his Department to sites outside London ; and whether the central borders of Scotland has been identified as a suitable area for any future moves.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Full details of all moves of sections of the Department over the last five years are not available but they include the following where sizeable numbers of staff are involved : 1985--Legal Aid work transferred to Preston
1987--Retirement pension work transferred to Newcastle upon Tyne 1987-- Agency benefit work transferred to Newcastle upon Tyne 1987--Departmental records work transferred to Nelson, Lancashire 1988--Development work on the computerisation of social security benefits transferred to Lytham St. Annes.
My right hon. Friend the former Secretary of State announced on 16 January 1989 that 1,060 jobs in total would be relocated from London to Glasgow, Wigan and Belfast. This relocation is under way and should be completed during the summer of 1991. The sites for relocation have been chosen in line with the Government policy on relocation announced by my right hon. Friend the former Paymaster General in March 1988 taking into account labour markets, value for money and increases in efficiency.
Under this policy my right hon. Friend the former Secretary of State also announced on 23 June 1988 that he was considering a report on the possibility of moving some of the Department's HQ work away from London. We hope to make an announcement about this shortly.
Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on how the independent living fund is helping disabled people in Suffolk and Norfolk ; how many people are benefiting ; in what ways ; and how much is being paid to them.
Mr. Scott : The independent living fund enables severely disabled people to live independently in the community by providing regular financial help towards the cost of personal care and domestic support. The fund can also make one-off payments for specific items of equipment if this would reduce care costs. To date, the fund has helped more than 2,000 people, with weekly payments ranging from less than £5 to more than £400. I regret that separate information is not available for Suffolk and Norfolk.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Income support levels were adjusted on a national basis in April this year to include help towards the average contribution to the community charge that recipients would be expected to pay. The amounts included were £1.15 a week for single people aged 18- 24, £1.30 a week for single people aged 25 or over and £2.30 a week for couples. These amounts now form part of the overall benefit levels which will be up-rated from April next year.
(2) how many single pensioners have a total income currently of less than £60 a week.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The latest available information refers to 1986. At that time, 1989 gross incomes of £60 and £80 would have been the equivalent of £51.35 and £68.47 respectively. In 1986, 25 per cent. of single pensioners had gross incomes below £51.35 and 3 per cent. of pensioner couples had gross incomes below £68.47.
Source : Family Expenditure Survey.
Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list in the Official Report the criteria he uses for assessing (a) severe hardship when considering applications for entitlement to benefit from 16 and 17-year-olds and (b) whether individuals in these age groups are genuinely estranged from their parents.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The Secretary of State has the power to direct that, where unavoidable severe hardship would result if benefit were to be withheld, a young person will be entitled to income support even though that young person would ordinarily not be so entitled. Such decisions are made by officials authorised to act on his behalf. Each case is considered on its individual merits and in the light of its particular circumstances. There can therefore be no fixed criteria. Examples of factors which may be considered include : the young person's health and vulnerability, including the threat of homelessness ; the availability of any income or savings ; the prospects of a speedy entry into YTS ; the availability of casual work ; whether the person has any friends or relatives who can offer him or her accommodation or other assistance ; and the financial commitments of the person and the prospect of postponing any payments.
A young person who is estranged from his or her parents, and who has of necessity to live away from home because of that estrangement, may be entitled to income suport during the child benefit extension period. Decisions in such cases are made by adjudication officers. Guidance to adjudication officers is given by the chief adjudication officer in the adjudication officers guide, a copy of which is in the Library.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard [holding answer 30 October 1989] : The Government Actuary estimates that, on the same assumptions as those set out in his report "Review of certain contracting out terms" (Cm. 110), in particular assuming that the weightings by age and sex remain the same, the contracted out contribution reduction in successive five year periods would be as follows :
|Per cent. --------------------------------- 1993-98 |4.8 1998-2003 |4.3 2003-08 |3.9 2008-13 |3.6 2013-18 |3.5 2018 onwards |3.4
These figures assume that the 0.4 per cent. additional margin which has been included in the rebate of 5.8 per cent for 1988-93 will not be added in later periods. The gradually reducing level of the rebate reflects the declining proportion of those contracted-out who will be accruing guaranteed minimum pensions at an accelerated rate.
Mr. Curry : It is not possible to estimate the extent of fraud in the common agricultural policy since, by definition, undetected fraud cannot be measured. In 1988, 482 cases of irregularity (the definition of which goes wider than fraud) were reported by member states with a value of 121 mecu (£82 million). These cases represent about 0.4 per cent. of CAP expenditure in that year.
Mr. Maclean : The Agricultural Development and Advisory Service offers advice to farmers on the conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty and amenity of the countryside. This covers such topics as the retention and maintenance of hedgerows, trees, areas of scrub, ditches and other wildlife habitats as well as, where possible, the creation of new ones.
Sir Gerard Vaughan : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a further statement on the use of bovine somatotropin to boost milk production ; and if he has any plans to amend the Medicines Act 1968 so as to provide for greater control over the use of such substances.
Mr. Maclean : The Scrutiny Committee has recommended that a European Commission proposal to ban the use of BST until the end of 1990 should be debated, and arrangements are in hand. Meanwhile the scientific assessment of BST continues with the assistance of data generated in authorised field trials here and in other countries. The Medicines Act already provides strict safeguard controls by requiring that such substances must be licensed and that they must first be demonstrated to be both safe and effective in use. I have no plans to amend the Act.
Mr. Maclean : We are taking an active part in negotiation of the European Commission's nutrition labelling proposals and hope that a common position will be reached soon. The proposals are similar to the Ministry's nutrition labelling guidelines and provide for a voluntary system of nutrition labelling with a mandatory format so that consumers can compare products more easily. Nutrition labelling would be compulsory only when a nutrition claim was made. There is provision for a three-year lead-in period to allow labels to be changed and, given the close resemblance of the guidelines to the Commission proposals, I hope that manufacturers and retailers will be encouraged to provide as much nutrition information as possible within their resources according to the guidelines until Community legislation is in place.
I also refer my hon. Friend to the debate on nutritional labelling in Standing Committee on 1 November 1989.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether there has been any change in the incidence of diseases in cod and other fish caught in British coastal waters in the past year.
Mr. Curry : The evidence is that there has been no change in the incidence of disease in cod or other fish caught in British coastal waters in the past year. Disease is a natural phenomenon in fish as in all animals and can vary seasonally.
Mr. Maclean : Research carried out by the Ministry has established that the tenderiser has no effect on the living animal. In the event of a delay between treatment and slaughter the enzyme is excreted harmlessly.
(2) what information he has on the presence of residues of the tenderiser papain in butchers' meat.
Mr. Maclean : To be effective, papain must be present in the meat during cooking. It is introduced at levels of less than five parts per million. Cooking activates and then destroys the enzyme. It is a natural vegetable protein approved as safe for use in food by the United Kingdom's expert advisory committees.
Mr. Curry : Under the terms of the scheme, participants may use land for permanent or rotational fallow, for woodland, or for a range of non- agricultural uses. The most popular option is permanent fallow, which has attracted about 80 per cent. of uptake.
Mr. Beith : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many prosecutions have been initiated as a result of the discovery by his Department of free-range eggs which have not been packed in a packing station being sold from shops. ;
(2) how many staff are employed by his Department in ensuring that free- range eggs are not sold in shops unless they have been through a packing station ;
(3) what is the best estimate of the total number of shops in the United Kingdom currently selling free-range eggs which have not been packed in a packing station ;
(4) what was the total cost to public funds of the visit made by Mr. Sweetman, of the regional egg marketing insepectorate, at Leeds, to the Good Life shop, Wooler, on 1 November, in connection with the sale of free- range eggs ; and what was the amount of time spent by the officer concerned (a) in travelling for the purpose of the visit and (b) at the premises ;
(5) whether he has any plans to publicise to consumers and to retailers the regulations restricting the sale of free-range eggs from shops which have not been packed in a packing station.
Mr. Curry : EC regulations require that all hens' eggs sold by retail (other than eggs sold by the producer directly to the final consumer on the producer's own premises, by door-to-door deliveries or in a local public market) are graded and packed by authorised packing centres. This applies to free range eggs as well as to those produced in other systems.
Column 467Enforcement of the regulations at retail level is a matter for local authorities and not my Department, and I have no estimate of the number of shops which currently breach the regulations. When requested, my egg marketing inspectorate gives assistance to the local authorities but it is not possible to identify what proportion of this assistance is devoted to the enforcement of the rules specific to free range eggs. The visit in question was made during the course of routine visits in Northumberland in the period 1-2 November by the regional egg marketing inspector.
The present rules concerning the sale of free range eggs came into operation on 16 July 1985 and were publicised (with other changes to the regulations) in a trade press notice of 17 July 1985 (a copy of which I have placed in the Library of the House). This was reinforced by a further press notice on 27 August 1987 (a copy of this is also in the Library). My Department has taken pains to explain these rules to all who enquire about them or whose businesses include the marketing of eggs. We shall continue to offer such advice as necessary.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what international co-operation in research into bovine spongiform encephalopathy is currently being undertaken by Her Majesty's Government.
Mr. Maclean [holding answer 2 November 1989] : An international collaborative project to determine the transmissibility of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to mink is currently being planned with colleagues in the USA.
International co-operation in research into BSE has been and will continue to be discussed in various international fora, including the EEC and the Organisation Internationale des Epizooties. In addition, a round table on BSE, attended by US and European delegates, was held in the United States of America in June 1989. From these discussions further collaborative research studies may be instituted.
I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) on 18 October at col. 129-30.
Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether, when an unemployed claimant is at a review interview and an employment service counsellor expresses doubt about whether they are available for or actively seeking work and completes a UB672, the claimant is entitled to ask for and receive a copy of the UB672 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholls : A copy of the UB672 would not normally be issued to the claimant as the form is an internal document used by the employment service to refer cases of doubt to the independent adjudication authorities.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will review the enterprise allowance scheme to ensure that adequate security of income is provided for potential entrepreneurs with family responsibilities who are dependent on social security.
Mr. Eggar : The enterprise allowance scheme is not a benefit. It is intended to supplement business income during the early months of trading while the business is being established. The allowance is higher than previous benefit for 70 per cent. of entrants. Recipients with family responsibilities may also qualify for in-work benefits such as family credits depending on their circumstances.
Employees in Employment and Self Employed for Northern Region (June each year) (Thousands) |Employees in Employment|Self employed ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1983 |1,057 |91 1984 |1,059 |92 1985 |1,057 |104 1986 |1,061 |105 1987 |1,068 |108 1988 |1,094 |113 1989 |1,088 |117 (Unadjusted for seasonal variations)
Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many registered unemployed persons there were in Liverpool on the latest available date ; and how many registered job vacancies there were in Liverpool on that date.
Mr. Nicholls : The following information is available from the Library. In September 1989, there were 66,636 unemployed claimants in Liverpool travel-to-work area. In the closest aggregation of jobcentres there were 3,469 unfilled vacancies. Research shows that nationally only about a third of vacancies in the economy are notified to jobcentres.
Mr. Nicholls : No. The Government welcome measures taken by employers to help employees, including part-time employees, combine work and family responsibilities such as the provision of creche facilities, flexible working hours and family leave. However the Government consider that it is for employers and employees to decide which arrangements best suit their individual needs and resources.
Miss Emma Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what further measures his Department is taking to encourage workplace creches and other child care provision to enable mothers to return to work ; and what representations he has had on this subject.
The Government welcome measures taken by employers including assistance with child care, flexible working hours, more part-time work and at higher occupational levels, and family leave. However, we believe that it is for employers and employees to decide which arrangements for combining work and family responsibilities best suit their individual needs and resources.
The Government are also taking steps to encourage the growth of childcare provision to assist working parents through the ministerial group on women's issues of which I am a member. The group recently announced progress on its five point plan designed to pave the way for the provision of child care to suit family needs. Within the last two years I and colleagues in the Employment Department have answered 12 questions in this House on this subject, received 29 letters from hon. Members and 34 from members of the public.
I have discussed the question of child care with my Advisory Committee on Women's Employment. This committee includes the chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, my hon. Friend the Member for Broxbourne (Mrs. Roe), the hon. Member for Barking, (Ms. Richardson), representatives of the CBI, TUC and the Women's National Commission. I have also had discussions with the National Council for One Parent Families, the Working Mothers Association, and Pre-School Playgroups Association, Gingerbread and the National Childminding Association.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report details of those sections of his Department which have been relocated in the last five years, indicating the sites to which they have been moved ; whether consideration is being given to future relocation of London-based sections of his Department to sites outside London ; and whether the central borders of Scotland has been identified as a suitable area for any future moves.
Column 470Runcorn and Sheffield over the next two to three years. This represents another major dispersal of head office jobs in the employment department group to the north ; and will mean that since 1979 over 5,000 administrative head office jobs have been relocated in the north. Previous major dispersals have been to Runcorn, to Sheffield, where the Manpower Services Commission was based and Bootle where parts of the Health and Safety Executive are now based. When considering possible regional locations I looked at a range of factors and sites and concluded that, for operational and logistical reasons, jobs should be moved only to those locations where my Department has existing headquarters establishments.
When this stage of relocation is complete more that four out of five of my Department's administrative head office jobs will be located outside London. I am persuaded that there is unlikely to be scope for any further relocation.
Mr. Nicholls : The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 laid upon the Health and Safety Commission and Executive responsibility for virtually all aspects of industrial health and safety, and most aspects of the protection of the public from work activity. Within this overall competence, the Commission or Executive have acquired the following new responsibilities since 1979 :
(i) carriage by road, classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances ;
(ii) notification of new substances before they are placed on the market and of existing substances ;
(iii) action under the European directive on the control of industrial major accident hazards, including new responsibility for protection of the environment from hazardous installations ; (
(iv) mains gas safety ;
(v) asbestos licensing ;
(vi) the enforcement of part 3 of the Food and Environment Protection Act and its related Control of Pesticides regulations ; (
(vii) responsibility under the Control of Pesticides Regulations for the registration and assessment of non-agricultural pesticides. (
(viii) new and expanded nuclear safety work including preparations for licensing UKAEA sites and responsibilities from April 1990 in connection with nuclear safety research.
In addition new or substantially expanded work has been acquired in connection with the control of dangerous substances in harbour areas, radiation and noise and the health and safety implications of the development and use of new technology including programmable electronics and biotechnology. There has also been a significant growth of EC activity and directives in areas affecting safety and health, and a significant growth in public and international interest in relevant environmental and major hazards issues.