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Column 108and what account was taken in deciding the allowance made for visitors under grant-related expenditure allocation.
Mr. Chope : The number of elderly people and the number of elderly people living alone or on income support are included in the component of the standard spending assessment for personal social services for Kent county council. Retired people are included in the estimates of total population used in other SSA components. Details may be found in the Revenue Support Grant Distribution Report (England) (HC 049) laid before the House on 11 January. Within grant-related expenditure assessment (GREs), 2 per cent. of the control total for the recreation element was distributed on the basis of visitor nights.
Mr. Gale : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the increase in the standard spending assessment for Thanet district council over the 1989-90 grant-related expenditure assessment ; and what is the average standard spending assessment increase for the same period for the other Kent districts.
Mr. Chope : The 1990-91 standard spending assessment for Thanet district council has increased by 6.5 per cent. over the comparable adjusted figure for the 1989-90 grant-related expenditure assessment. The mean-average increase in 1990-91 SSA over comparable adjusted 1989-90 GREA for the other Kent district councils is 18.2 per cent.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will bring forward measures to reduce emission of carbon dioxide ahead of the second world climate conference in November 1990.
Mr. Trippier : Effective measures to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide must be taken in the international context and such measures will be considered at the second world climate conference. Nevertheless, within the Department of the Environment we have recently announced changes to the building regulations, which will result in significant improvements in energy efficiency and we shall continue to keep all areas of our responsibilities under review. The principal sources of emissions of carbon dioxide are from the energy and transport sectors, and measures to reduce these are matters for my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Energy and for Transport.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what percentage of radiation from artificial nuclides entering the North sea emanates from (a) wastes from the nuclear power industry, (b) radioisotope production, (c) uses of radioactivity in medicine, (d) teaching and research operations, (e) fall-out from nuclear weapons testing and (f) fall-out from other sources.
Mr. Trippier : The information is not available in the form requested. Estimated inputs of radioactivity to the North sea from nuclear establishments are contained in the report of the "Quality Status of the North Sea" (1987), a copy of which is in the Library. Also, a European Community study known as "Project Marina", assessing
Column 109the radiological exposure of the population of the European Community from radioactivity in the north-east Atlantic has been undertaken ; a report of which should be published in due course by the Commission of the European Community.
Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the circulation of the Nature Conservancy Council report by V. P. W. Lowe on "Wild and Feral Deer in Great Britain", reference number NCC/NERC contract HF3/05/43.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : I have been asked to reply.
This interim report was circulated in 1979 and 1980 among Government Departments, and some other interested organisations, including the British Deer Society and the Institute of Biology.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the conclusion by the United States Environmental Protection Agency that the toxic elements in the waste held at Wath upon Dearne are not hazardous.
Mr. Trippier : As I have already indicated in my letter to the hon. Member, we accept the conclusion of the report by the Environmental Protection Agency that, on the basis of the specific criteria applied under the US Resource, Conservation and Recovery Act, the wastes are non- hazardous. I am considering, as a matter of urgency, what further action can be taken.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the environmental implications of opencast mining operations.
Mr. Moynihan : The environmental implications of opencast mining operations can often be considerable. It is for this reason that while it is necessary to recognise the economic benefits of mineral production it is essential that the impact of proposals on the environment is carefully assessed, and where necessary an environmental impact statement prepared. It is also necessary to ensure that sites are well managed in environmental terms and restored to a high standard. All mining operations should take account of best environmental practice. Recently published guidelines on opencast mineral workings set tough environmental standards.
Sir Trevor Skeet : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much money is spent annually on ultrasonic gallstone crushing equipment ; and where in the south-east these machines are located.
Mr. Freeman : I have been asked to reply. Extra-corporeal shock wave lithotripters were used originally for treating kidney stones. With assistance from the Department of Health, Trent regional health authority is carrying out an evaluation of the use of a lithotripter in the treatment of gallstones.
Column 110We are aware of one lithotripter located within a National Health Service hospital in the south-east which might be used to treat gallstones. This is at St. Peter's hospital in London. There are also facilities at private sector hospitals.
We have no details of the prices paid for these machines, since these are confidential between the buyers and sellers.
Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will make a statement on the merger proposed in the Wilding report between the Crafts Council and the Arts Council.
Mr. Luce : I shall make an announcement as soon as I have had an opportunity to consider the responses to the Wilding report.
Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Minister for the Arts what recent representations he has received about the Wilding report on funding the arts ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Luce : I have received about 6,000 responses, of which approximately 4,500 are postcards. I shall be announcing my response to the report as soon as possible.
Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will make a statement on the regional implications of the Wilding report.
Mr. Luce : I shall announce my response to the Wilding report as soon as possible.
Mr. Jack : To ask the Minister for the Arts what representations he has received from the north-west about his proposed reorganisation for regional arts administration.
Mr. Luce : I have received a number of representations from individuals and organisations in the north-west area about the Wilding report.
Mr. Pike : To ask the Minister for the Arts what financial support his Department gives to working industrial museums.
Mr. Luce : The many working industrial museums around the country play an important part in preserving our industrial heritage. Funding from the Office of Arts and Libraries for local museums in England is disbursed via the Museums and Galleries Commission (MGC) and the network of seven area museum councils and a number of working industrial museums benefit from these funds. Additionally, the Science museum, on behalf of the MGC, administers a grant scheme which has recently expanded in scope to assist with the preservation as well as the purchase of industrial and scientific material. In November 1989 I announced an increase of £1 million over the next three years to the local museums purchase funds, of which this is one.
The MGC is also able to offer professional advice and operates a capital grant scheme to assist with the cost of
Column 111housing collections. Area museum councils give grants for restoration and conservation and also offer advice on a wide range of subjects, including interpretation, training and marketing and management.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will make a statement on public spending plans for the library service.
Mr. Luce : I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave him on 11 December 1989 ( Official Report, column 447 ).
Mr. Stern : To ask the Minister for the Civil Service whether he has any plans to announce further candidates for agency status.
Mr. Luce : Ten executive agencies have been established so far, and Departments have announced a further 43 activities as candidates for agency status. In addition, a variety of activities are currently being considered internally by Departments as potential candidates for executive agency status, and I expect that a number of these will be formally announced as candidates in due course.
Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Minister for the Civil Service, what specific financial, efficiency and quality of service targets he has approved for the Civil Service college for the current year and for the longer term.
Mr. Luce : The Civil Service college executive agency's primary measure of performance will be its ability to cover its costs from income. Other targets for the current and next four years are as follows :
|1988-90|1990-91|1991-92|1992-93|1993-94 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Student |20,000 |20,000 |20,000 |20,000 |20,000 Student days |77,000 |76,000 |75,000 |75,000 |75,000 Course days |4,900 |4,700 |4,545 |4,545 |4,545 Ratio of course days to student days |15.7 |16.2 |16.5 |16.5 |16.5 Percentage of students at Grade 7 and above |23.8 |25.5 |27.5 |30.0 |33.2 Private sector students |420 |500 |600 |870 |1,200 Percentage |2.1 |2.5 |3.0 |4.4 |6.0 Course evaluation indicators in top two (of six categories per cent.) |76 |77 |78 |79 |80
In addition, there are targets for "cost per student day". For 1990-91 and subsequent years, additional targets will be set in respect of an overall value-for-money indicator, the percentage of students studying for externally validated qualifications, examination pass rates, and the college's incomes from consultancy as a percentage of total incomes.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many applications for funeral payments were granted from the social fund during the last 12 months for which he has figures available ; and what was the average amount paid.
Mr. Scott : In the 12 months ending November 1989 a total of 41,247 funeral payments were awarded. The average payment was £522.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list by location for south Yorkshire, the Department of Social Security offices that are due to close during the coming year ; how many staff will be transferred ; and to what locations.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : A review of the organisational pattern of all local offices is under way, including those in south Yorkshire. No firm proposals have yet been
Column 112produced. Full consultation with all interested parties will take place in the normal way at the appropriate time if any changes are proposed.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what account is taken of the wind chill factor in determining the temperature information for cold weather payments.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list individually the new description of the areas covered by national climatological message stations, in relation to cold weather payments.
Mr. Scott : The changes to the descriptions of areas linked to the national climatological message stations in the schedule to the Social Fund Cold Weather Payments (General) Regulations 1988 (SI 1988/1724) are listed in regulation 3 of the Social Fund Cold Weather Payments (General) Amendment Regulations 1989 (SI 1989/2388).
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what number of people living within the (a) Doncaster and (b) Wath-on-Dearne Department of Social Security areas, are in receipt of income support for the latest available date for which he has figures ; and what are the figures for 12 months ago.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The information is set out in the table :
-------------------------------------- Doncaster (East) |10,164|10,039 Doncaster (West) |12,951|13,388 Wath-on-Dearne |7,118 |7,552 Source: 100 per cent count of cases in action. The figures given include a small number of cases not actually in receipt of benefit.
Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what specific financial, efficiency and quality of service targets he has approved for the Resettlement Agency for the current year and for the longer term.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The Resettlement Agency was initially set the following specific targets, which are subject to annual review : Efficiency and effectiveness of Units
(a) To achieve a cumulative reduction of a least 1.5 per cent. per annum in the running costs of DSS resettlement units net of accommodation charges over the next three years (ie 1989-90 to 1991-92) without reducing standards. The savings will be made available for redeployment within the Agency budget, in accordance with nil cost package. The chief executive will produce proposals for use of the 1989-90 savings to the July 1989 meeting with Under-Secretaries.
(b) To establish a training strategy for staff, by March 1990. (
(c) To present manpower proposals, based on the 1988-89 staff inspection to the September 1989 meeting with Under-Secretaries. (
(d) To devise a scheme to assist resettlement units' managers to compare the effectiveness of units on a common basis, with an interim report in March 1990.
As provided for in the financial plan, to close :--
1990-91 2 Units
1991-92 4 Units
Efficiency and effectiveness of replacement provision
To commission and mount a research study to monitor the 36-bed direct access hostel opened in January 1989 and run by the London borough of Lewisham as part of the scheme to replace the Camberwell resettlement unit in 1985. The objective will be to examine the service provided both to ensure value for money and that a good standard of care and resettlement results.
Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment his Department is making of the adequacy of disability benefits to meet daily living costs and extra costs of disability.
Mr. Scott : The findings of the surveys of disability carried out by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys (OPCS) between 1985 and 1988 clearly showed that in general the benefits paid to meet the extra costs of disability, attendance allowance and mobility allowance, are more than sufficient to cover the average extra costs of disability. The initial results of a follow-up to the OPCS surveys in the family expenditure survey confirm these findings. The OPCS surveys provided comparisons between the incomes of disabled people and their counterparts in the general population but did not assess the adequacy of income maintenance benefits paid to disabled people.
Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether, in the last six months, his Department has issued revised guidelines to doctors assessing fitness for work of people in receipt of disability benefits.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he has any plans to revise restart interviews, availability for work tests, and actively seeking work requirements, as they affect people who receive benefit as a result of their disablement.
Mr. Scott : Payment of most benefits for the disabled does not require disabled people to be available for, or actively seeking, employment. In the case of unemployment benefit and income support on the basis of unemployment, regulations provide for full account to be taken of any limitations imposed by disablement. We have no plans to alter this approach. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Employment has responsibility for the administration of the law governing claims for unemployed people, including the conduct of restart interviews.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if, pursuant to his statement on benefits for the disabled of 10 January, the new disablement employment credit will be available to all those who gain low-paid work after claiming a state benefit relating to their disablement ; if there will be a child care addition ; and if those on the benefit will receive additions for work expenses related to their disablement.
Mr. Scott : The Government propose that the new disability employment credit to be introduced in April 1992 will be available to people receiving the new disability allowance or to those who were receiving invalidity benefit, severe disablement allowance or the income support or housing benefit disability premium before starting work. Claimants will also need to satisfy a doctor that they are only partially capable of work. Precise details of the new benefit are still to be considered.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will consider extending the scope of the mobility allowance scheme to cover applicants who can show that they would have qualified for the allowance if they had made application before becoming 66 years of age and are now prevented from receiving the allowance only because they were unaware of the cut-off age of 66 years ; and if he will estimate the costs involved in any such extension.
Mr. Scott : Although mobility allowance can be claimed during the year in which a person is aged 65, the medical eligibility criteria need to be fulfilled before the person reaches that age. We regard a year as a reasonable period to allow for making a claim, especially as the steady growth in the number of recipients indicates that the existence of the allowance is widely known. I regret that it is not possible to provide a reliable estimate of the cost of an extension of the upper age limit for claiming.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what further plans he now has to increase the availability of mobility allowance ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 115Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what consideration he is giving to the introduction of a costs allowance for disabled people not helped by either mobility allowance or attendance allowance.
Mr. Scott : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security announced on 10 January, at columns 941-52, that the Government propose to introduce a new disability allowance for people of working age and below which will extend help with the extra costs of disability to people with moderate to severe disabilities who do not at present qualify for mobility allowance or attendance allowance. For people whose disability begins before age 65, the new allowance will subsume the help currently given through attendance allowance and mobility allowance within a common structure and extend help to people with care and mobility needs who do not currently qualify for attendance allowance or mobility allowance.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment his Department has made of the cost of implementing a comprehensive disability income scheme along the lines proposed by the disability benefits consortium.
Mr. Scott : The comprehensive disability income scheme described by the disability benefits consortium in its paper circulated on 15 December 1989 is not described in sufficient detail for a reliable estimate of its cost to be made.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether his Department has produced advice on the disclosure of statistical data which are derived from information that concerns living individuals, so as to ensure that the disclosure in question does not identify individuals ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : This Department has not produced advice on the disclosure of statistical data. The Government statistical service produced and published in 1984 a document which provides strict guidance in this area and the Department closely follows this advice--"The Government Statistical Service Code of Practice on the Handling of Data Obtained from Statistical Enquiries", Cmnd. 9270. A copy is available in the Library. The relevant sections are contained in pages 5 and 6 of the paper.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security to which organisations his Department has circulated copies of the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys reports for comment.
Mr. Scott : Copies of the OPCS reports dealing with the prevalence of disability and the financial circumstances of disabled people were sent by the Department to the following organisations of and for disabled people :
Access Committee for England
Action for Research into Multiple Sclerosis
Column 116Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus
British Diabetic Association
British Epilepsy Association
Centre on Environment for the Handicapped
Disablement Income Group
Disabled Living Foundation
Help the Aged
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland National Association for Mental Health
National Council for Carers
Parkinson's Disease Association
Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation
Royal National Institute for the Blind
Royal National Institute for the Deaf
Royal Society for Mentally Handicapped Children and Adults Scottish Council on Disability
Scottish Society for the Mentally Handicapped
SENSE--National Deaf-Blind and Rubella Association
Wales Council for the Disabled.
These organisations received only copies of the reports dealing with the circumstances of adults and not those dealing with children.
A federation of over 80 organisations of and for disabled people.
Copies of these reports were also sent to a number of other bodies with an interest in issues concerning disabled people such as Motability and the local authority associations.