|Previous Section||Home Page|
Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give for each year since 1959 the number of nurses employed by the National Health Service, with each year also expressed as a percentage change on the previous year.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The information is contained in successive volumes of Scottish health statistics published annually by the information and statistics division of the Common Services Agency, copies of which are in the Library. The latest volume published on 20 December 1989 contains information as at 31 March 1989. The provisional figure for 30 September 1989, not yet published, is 42, 350.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will estimate the proportion of under five-year-olds in Scotland who currently attend nursery classes provided by local education authorities in each island and local authority region ; and what the figure was in each of the last five years.
Percentage of 3 and 4 year olds in education authority nursery schools --------------------------------------------- Borders |16.6|15.2|16.6|18.7|19.1 Central |31.2|31.2|37.8|39.2|41.3 Dumfries and Galloway |7.9 |8.7 |12.7|15.8|17.9 Fife |42.2|42.8|48.5|50.4|49.6 Grampian |18.6|18.6|21.2|24.0|30.5 Highland |10.3|10.5|11.6|12.3|12.2 Lothian |43.8|45.3|47.8|47.9|47.3 Strathclyde |27.7|27.6|29.6|30.1|31.3 Tayside |23.0|22.6|25.1|26.5|31.3 Orkney |17.9|18.3|18.3|20.7|21.5 Shetland |11.1|13.6|17.7|18.1|19.4 Western Isles |16.2|0.0 |0.0 |0.0 |0.0 |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- Scotland Total |28.0|28.2|30.8|31.9|33.5 <1>Provisional
Mr. Lang : The British Tourist Authority and the Scottish Tourist Board, as the statutory bodies with responsibility for attracting overseas visitors to Scotland, are fully aware of the potential of the eastern European market. Both bodies will take account of recent developments in considering their future marketing plans.
Mr. Maxton : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a table showing the number of houses completed, by tenure, in each district council and islands council for each year from 1979 to 1989 or to the latest available date.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Speech therapy services are provided almost exclusively by health boards and it is unusual for staff to be employed specifically for work with children. The table shows the whole-time equivalent numbers of speech therapists (provisional figures) employed by health boards at 30 September 1989.
|Numbers -------------------------------------- Scotland |377.6 Argyll and Clyde |33.0 Ayrshire and Arran |21.5 Borders |11.7 Dumfries and Galloway |16.1 Fige |28.1 Forth Valley |18.2 Grampian |45.5 Greater Glasgow |63.7 Highland |15.5 Lanarkshire |31.8 Lothian |56.4 Orkney |1.0 Shetland |0.7 Tayside |31.3 Western Isles |3.1
Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what additional funds he is making available to health boards to enable the structural changes to small practice surgeries in rural areas to accommodate new technology required under the new contract.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The White paper "Promoting Better Health" announced that, in furtherance of our policy of improving practice premises, we shall be increasing the assistance to doctors available through health boards in improvement grants and under the cost rent scheme. Detailed expenditure plans within the totals announced by my right hon. and learned Friend on 6 December have still to be determined and health boards will be informed of their individual allocations by early March 1990.
representatives of Ayrshire and Arran health board and the main contractors, the architects and the consulting mechanical and electrical engineers, relating to claims arising from delays in the completion of Crosshouse hospital, the following settlements have been agreed :--
The health board has accepted an offer of payment by Boissevain and Osmond, architects, of £470,000 together with the abandonment of the architects' claim for outstanding professional fees ;
Column 295The heald board has accepted an offer of payment by Ruck, Willcox & Partners, consulting mechanical and engineers, of £250,000. Melville, Dundas & Whitson, the main contractors, have accepted an offer of payment by the health board of £1.25 million.
In each case, the settlement of the claim is on the basis that each side should meet its own costs.
I am satisfied that this settlement represents a reasonable and acceptable conclusion to this dispute, taking into account the substantial costs that would have been required to pursue these actions to a conclusion.
Mr. Lang : Protecting children from abuse calls for concerted efforts from a wide range of services and professions. We have today issued Scottish Office guidance aimed at boosting efforts to work together, in the best interests of children. The guidance is part of an integrated approach by the Scottish Office to dealing with child abuse. Copies of the guidance document have been placed in the Library.
(2) what safeguards there are against employment training schemes taking on trainees in firms which would otherwise have recruited a worker in the normal way ;
(3) what action he intends to take to ensure that there is no unfair competition between firms using Government-funded employment trainees and schemes.
Mr. Lang [holding answer 14 December] : The employment training programme imposes a substantial training requirement upon placement providers. This makes it financially unattractive to use trainees as substitutes for qualified workers and the use of trainees should not convey competitive advantages. However, where an abuse is attempted normal monitoring procedures should detect it. Furthermore, anyone uncovering evidence of abuse should report his or her suspicions to the Training Agency. All complaints will be investigated fully.
Mr. Kennedy : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what sum he is giving to compensate rural general practitioners for losses incurred by the implementation of the general practitioner contract, expressed as a percentage of the current Scottish rural practice fund.
Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 18 December 1989] : The recommendations of the doctors and dentists review body on the pricing of the new GP contract will be considered when its report is received.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his best estimate of the total level of European regional development fund aid commitments to all eligible public bodies in Strathclyde in each of the years 1984 to 1988.
|£ million ------------------------------ 1984 |58.6 1985 |37.2 1986 |48.6 1987 |50.5 <1>1988 |45.4 <1> Figures exclude some commitment in those parts of Strathclyde within the Highlands and Islands Development Board area.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his most up -to-date estimate of the total of European regional development fund aid commitments to all eligible public bodies in Strathclyde in 1989 and in 1990.
Figures exclude commitment in those parts of Strathclyde within the Highlands and Islands Development Board area.
Mr. Darling: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the proposed level of expenditure allocated to matters concerned with the implementation of the National Health Service reforms articulated in the National Health Service and Community Care Bill in 1990-91.
Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 19 December 1989] : My right hon. and learned Friend announced on 6 December that the provision for spending on health in Scotland in 1990-91 is planned to increase by £220 million compared with the current year. This will bring the provision to over £3 billion (£3,041 million) for the first time. In accordance with normal practice, allocations to health
boards--including recognition of White Paper initiatives--will be determined and notified to boards in the early part of the next year. It will be for boards to decide, in the light of local circumstances, the spending that will be needed to implement the NHS reforms contained in the National Health Service and Community Care Bill. We fully expect that the initial costs will be outweighed in the longer term by improvements in the operation of services and the better management of resources.
Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give for each year since 1959 the number of doctors employed by the National Health Service, with each year also expressed as a percentage change on the previous year.
Column 297are shown in the table together with the percentage change from year to year. The construction of an equivalent time series of 1959 to 1974 would incur disproportionate expenditure and lack consistency because of changes in recording practice.
Year |Number |Percentage |change on |previous year -------------------------------------------------------- 1975 |9,075 1976 |9,267 |2.1 1977 |9,512 |2.6 1978 |9,641 |1.4 1979 |9,839 |2.1 1980 |9,923 |0.9 1981 |10,167 |2.5 1982 |10,229 |0.6 1983 |10,410 |1.8 1984 |10,499 |0.9 1985 |10,509 |0.1 1986 |10,480 |-0.3 1987 |10,476 |0.0 1988 |10,833 |3.4
Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many local offices are now operating a different policy with regard to applications for grants from the social fund than the one operating at the start of the financial year.
Mr. Scott : Applications for awards from the social fund are decided locally by independent social fund officers. In making decisions, social fund officers are required to follow the law and the Secretary of State's directions and take into account guidance contained in the social fund manual. A copy of the social fund manual is available in the Library.
Guidance as to the general level of priority that may be met is given by the area social fund officer (normally the
Column 298local office manager). This ensures that, as far as possible, applications of similar priority receive similar consideration throughout the year. Nevertheless, each application is considered on its individual circumstances. Levels of applications will vary during the year and thus the levels of priority being met in each local office will be adjusted from time to time.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the value in real terms and in relation to average male earnings of (a) retirement pensions, (b) unemployment benefit, (c) sickness benefit, (d) industrial disablement benefit, (e) industrial death benefit, (f) maternity allowance, (g) non-contributory retirement pension, (h) war disablement pension, (i) war widows' pension, (j) attendance allowance, (k) invalid care allowance, (l) severe disablement allowance, (m) mobility allowance, (n) child benefit and (o) one-parent benefit, giving in each case the single and couple rate where applicable and the higher and lower rate in the case of attendance allowance, paid in November 1979 and April 1989 ; and if he will give the cash figure for each benefit in each year.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Comparisons over the period in question are complicated by the change in 1983 from uprating partly based on forecasts of future inflation to upratings based on known movements in the retail prices index to the latest available date. Moreover, in November 1979 long- term benefit rates were increased by 2 per cent. more than forecast inflation to make up for the fact that the forecast underlying the 1978 uprating had proved 2 per cent. lower than the actual growth in earnings of 13.3 per cent. between November 1977 and November 1978. The table gives the figures requested in relation both to November 1978 and November 1979. It also shows the change in the average real value of benefit in the uprating years November 1978 to November 1979, and between April 1988 and April 1989.
Table 1: Comparison of benefit rates |Nov. |Nov. |Nov. |Nov. |April |Ratio of |Ratio of |Ratio of |Nov. |Nov. |Per cent. |1978 |1979 |1978 |1979 |1989 |benefit to|benefit to|benefit to|1978 |1979 |change<3> |rates in |rates in |rates in |rates in |rates in |gross |gross |gross |to April |to April |between |cash |cash |April |April |cash |earnings |earnings |earnings |1989 per |1989 per |uprating |1989 |1989 |Nov. |Nov. |April |cent. |cent. |periods |prices |prices |1978 |1979 |1989 |change |change |Nov. |1978-79 |to April |1988-89 |£ |£ |£ |£ |£ |Per cent. |Per cent. |Per cent. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Retirement Pension Single person |19.50 |23.30 |43.42 |44.20 |43.60 |26.9 |27.0 |20.5 |0.4 |-1.4 |7.06 Married couple |31.20 |37.30 |69.47 |70.76 |69.80 |43.1 |43.3 |32.7 |0.5 |-1.4 |7.16 Unemployment Benefit Single person |15.75 |18.50 |35.07 |35.09 |34.70 |21.8 |21.5 |16.3 |-1.1 |-1.1 |5.50 Married couple |25.50 |29.95 |56.78 |56.81 |56.10 |35.2 |34.7 |26.3 |-1.2 |-1.3 |5.35 Sickness Benefit Single person |15.75 |18.50 |35.07 |35.09 |33.20 |21.8 |21.5 |15.6 |-5.3 |-5.4 |0.83 Married couple |25.50 |29.95 |56.78 |56.81 |53.75 |35.2 |34.7 |25.2 |-5.3 |-5.4 |0.87 Industrial Disablement Benefit |31.90 |38.00 |71.03 |72.09 |71.20 |44.1 |44.1 |33.4 |0.2 |-1.2 |6.88 Industrial Death Benefit |20.05 |23.85 |44.65 |45.24 |43.60 |27.7 |27.7 |20.5 |-2.4 |-3.6 |4.13 Maternity Allowance Single person |15.75 |16.50 |35.07 |35.09 |33.20 |21.8 |21.5 |15.6 |-5.3 |-5.4 |0.83 Married couple |25.50 |29.95 |56.78 |56.81 |53.75 |35.2 |34.7 |25.2 |-5.3 |-5.4 |0.87 Non-contributory Retirement Pension Single person |11.70 |14.00 |26.05 |26.56 |26.20 |16.2 |16.2 |12.3 |0.6 |-1.3 |7.32 Married couple |18.75 |22.40 |41.75 |42.49 |41.85 |25.9 |26.0 |19.6 |0.2 |-1.5 |7.02 War Disablement Pension |31.90 |38.00 |71.03 |72.09 |71.20 |44.1 |44.1 |33.4 |0.2 |-1.2 |6.88 War Widows' Pension |25.55 |30.45 |56.89 |57.76 |56.90 |35.3 |35.3 |26.7 |0.0 |-1.5 |6.73 Attendance Allowance Higher rate |15.60 |18.60 |34.74 |35.28 |34.90 |21.5 |21.6 |16.4 |0.5 |-1.1 |7.16 Lower rate |10.40 |12.40 |23.16 |23.52 |23.30 |14.4 |14.4 |10.9 |0.6 |-0.9 |7.32 Invalid Care Allowance Single person |11.70 |14.00 |26.05 |26.56 |26.20 |16.2 |16.2 |12.3 |0.6 |-1.3 |7.32 Married couple |18.75 |22.40 |41.75 |42.49 |41.85 |25.9 |26.0 |19.6 |0.2 |-1.5 |7.02 Severe Disablement Allowance Single person |11.70 |14.00 |26.05 |26.56 |26.20 |16.2 |16.2 |12.3 |0.6 |-1.3 |7.32 Married couple |18.75 |22.40 |41.75 |42.49 |41.85 |25.9 |26.0 |19.6 |0.2 |-1.5 |7.02 Mobility Allowance<1> |10.00 |12.00 |22.75 |22.76 |24.40 |13.8 |13.9 |11.4 |7.3 |7.2 |13.46 Child Benefit<2> |3.00 |4.00 |6.68 |7.59 |7.25 |4.1 |4.6 |3.4 |8.5 |-4.5 |3.41 One Parent Benefit |2.00 |2.50 |4.45 |4.74 |5.20 |2.8 |2.9 |2.4 |16.9 |9.6 |24.30 <1>For Mobility Allowance, the initial uprating period is July 1978 to November 1979. <2>For Child Benefit, the initial uprating period runs from April 1979 to November 1980. <3>The percentage change between uprating periods is calculated as the percentage change in the average real value of benefit during the uprating period April 1988 to April 1989, as compared to the period November 1978 to November 1979. Note: Average gross weekly earnings, all full-time workers on adult rates (Source: New Earnings Survey). Interpolated by the seasonally adjusted monthly index of average earnings, all employees in industries and services (published by DE).
Mr. Scott : As explained in the White Paper "Caring for People" (Cm. 849), there will clearly be an overlap between the Independent Living Fund and the intended responsibilities of local authorities which will need to be reviewed. Announcements will be made as appropriate in due course.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will take steps to ensure that students on invalidity benefit do not have their housing benefit reduced by the student grant notional element for accommodation ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : To avoid double provision by the taxpayer, the majority of full time students are expected to meet their rent to the level intended for accommodation costs within the student maintenance grant before they have recourse to housing benefit. However this rule does not apply to students on invalidity benefit whose income would fall below income support levels if the reduction was made. These students are able to claim housing benefit for the whole of their eligible rent.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether short-term foster parents are exempt from the (a) availability for work and (b) actively seeking work requirements for income support and unemployment benefit ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : For income support purposes, foster parents and natural parents are treated similarly. To receive income support, single parents fostering children do not have to be either available for, or actively seeking, work. Where there are two parents, one of them has to be both available for and actively seeking work, unless exempted from the requirements for some other reason. To receive unemployment benefit, all claimants normally have to be both available for, and actively seeking, work.
Mr. Scott : The Government are committed to ensuring that the United Kingdom plays a full and active role in the European Community's second action programme in favour of disabled people, called HELIOS. The main purpose of the programme is to promote good practice through links between local projects in the field of disability services, covering vocational training and rehabilitation, and economic, social and educational integration. We encourage United Kingdom projects to meet regularly with each other and with their counterparts in other member states. The programme also includes the development of a project to link national data bases on disability, initially for equipment only. We have designated the Disabled Living Foundation as the first United Kingdom centre to participate in the system, called HANDYAIDS, which is ecpected to come into operation in the course of next year. We are also cooperating with the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation in the organisation of a conference early next year to disseminate information about the programme to a wide range of interested parties.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list any changes to regulations since the invalid care allowance was introduced in 1976 which may affect the entitlement to benefit of someone who has ceased to receive the allowance ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Scott : There have been no changes in regulations specifically directed at former invalid care allowance recipients. If the right hon. Member has a particular problem in mind, perhaps he would write to me.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security to what benefits a person of working age may be entitled after ceasing to be in receipt of invalid care allowance, assuming that he or she satisfies the first contribution condition ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 301does not confer automatic title to any benefit, however, credits awarded during periods of ICA do count towards the satisfaction of the second condition for contributory benefits.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish in the Official Report for the latest available year (a) the number of whole-time equivalent staff engaged on national insurance contribution work within his Department, (b) the proportion of their time spent on each class of contribution and (c) the amount of contributions, by class, recovered as a result of their investigations.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The total number of posts currently allocated by the Department of Social Security to national insurance contribution work is 7,449. However, many of those staff do not spend their time solely on this work and the exact ratio could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Similarly, no information is held on the amount of time spent on each class of contribution.
The value of contributions collected by the Department for the year ending 1988-89 is as follows :
|£ ------------------------------------------ Class 1 |1,559,099,000 Class 2 |323,685,000 Class 3 |25,034,000 Class 4 |2,536,000
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate (a) the cost of changing the national insurance threshold into a tax allowance in 1990-91 and (b) the savings of abolishing the national insurance ceiling in 1990-91.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Using the rates expected to apply in the 1990-91 year it is estimated that removing employees' liability for national insurance contributions on the first £46 of weekly earnings (that is earnings up to the lower earnings limit) would cost about £0.9 billion in a full year. If the upper earnings limit for employees' contributions were to be abolished, the additional income would be about £2.3 billion.
Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will consider restoring the special status of share fishermen in respect of their entitlement to unemployment benefit during regular non-working periods.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Conditions of entitlement to unemployment benefit have always been the same for share fishermen as for all other claimants except insofar as share fishermen have certain additional conditions to satisfy. We have not altered this position. However, we will be monitoring the effect of the recent earnings rule changes on all claimants.
Mr. Colin Shepherd : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he has received about the effect of his proposals concerning the investment of small self-administered pension scheme funds in the company to which they relate ; and what response he has made.
Mr. Newton : In the case of pension schemes covering employees, the proposal to restrict to 5 per cent. investment by the scheme in the company to which it relates has been generally well received. It is widely agreed that it must be right to avoid the risk of "double jeopardy" to both jobs and pensions if a company should get into difficulties.
We have however received numerous strong representations that different considerations apply to small self-administered pension schemes (SSAPs), which cater mainly and often exclusively for shareholding directors, who are themselves normally the trustees, and whose investment decisions therefore can only create that double risk for their own jobs and pension prospects rather than those of other people.
We accept the force of this argument, and have therefore decided that the proposed restrictions will not apply to SSAPs in cases where all members are trustees, each member is a "20 per cent director" as defined for Inland Revenue purposes, and trustee decisions require a "nem con" vote.
Restrictions on SSAP's investments for tax purposes will, of course, continue.
Mr. Newton : The computerisation programme, known as the operational strategy, is proceeding well. The three main systems in the plan are in place--those that administer the income support and retirement pensions, and the departmental central index, which links the various systems. Two of the four area computer centres are now in operation, at Washington managed "in house" by the Information Technology Services Directorate and at Livingston managed on contract by Electronic Data Systems. Forty-two local social security offices are now fully linked with the systems through these centres, and the number is currently increasing by two per week. This progress is beginning to be reflected in significant improvements in the speed and accuracy of the service we can provide to our customers, and I am grateful to the many staff throughout the Department who have contributed to this success.
The next step is to complete the network of area computer centres, in order that the benefits of the new systems can be steadily extended to all social security
Column 303offices and thus to everyone who depends on the service they provide. As has already been announced, these will be at Norcross and at Swindon.
Work is now nearing completion to enable the centre at Norcross to begin operation in January 1990. Following consideration of a tender from Electronic Data Systems, I have decided that this centre will be managed on contract by that company. The contract will be on the same basic terms as their existing management contract at Livingston. As at Livingston civil servants in the area will be free to apply for the new jobs being generated.
The Swindon centre is planned to commence operation towards the end of 1990. The management of the centre will be subject to the outcome of a competitive tendering exercise which I intend to initiate shortly. A formal request for information will be issued.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would be the gross and net cost of reducing the pensionable age for men to 60 years (a) at the present pension rates and (b) with a minimum pension, including guaranteed minimum pension from occupational schemes, for both men and women, regardless of marital status and past contributions, of 80 per cent. of average national earnings.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard [holding answer 6 December 1989] : I regret that information is not available in the form requested. The latest estimates, based on 1985-86 benefit rates, of the gross and net costs to public funds of reducing state pension age for men to age 60 are £4,200 million and £3,000 million respectively.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard [holding answer 14 December 1989] : Applications for housing benefit transitional payments were sent direct to the Department's transitional payments unit in Glasgow where they were processed. The 10 local authority areas which have generated the largest number of applications processed to date are as follows :
|Numbers ---------------------------------- Glasgow |39,153 Sheffield |13,424 Liverpool |12,598 Birmingham |10,401 Manchester |10,241 Edinburgh |9,037 Newcastle-on-Tyne |8,720 Waltham Forest |8,131 South Tyneside |7,839 Newham |7,127
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what research projects are currently being carried out under total or partial sponsorship of his Department ; whom they are being carried out by ; and when they will be completed and published.
Project, contractor and completion date
Survey of retirement and retirement plans--Social survey division, OPCS-- Late 1990.
Study of maternity benefits --Policy Studies Institute--Mid 1990. This study is partially sponsored by the Department.
Mr. Michael Spicer The Government remain on target to complete the privatisation of the industry within this Parliament.
Mr. John Marshall To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on trends in productivity in the coal industry since 1984.