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(b) payments for maternity expenses £113.55.
Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to require the Benefits Agency to publish in its business plan and customer charter the precise arrangements for compensation and ex- gratia payments.
Mr. Burt : The contents of the Benefits Agency customer charter are currently being reviewed. The next version of the agency's business plan will be published in spring 1994 and decisions on its contents will be made nearer the time.
Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to act upon the recommendation made by the Social Security Committee in its third report of Session 1992-93 on the priority which should be afforded under the new community care arrangements and by the new independent living funds to people prevented from making a claim to the original independent living fund due to delays in processing claims for disability living allowance and attendance allowance.
Mr. Scott : All applications to local authorities and to the new independent living (1993) fund will be dealt with on their individual merits. However, we will ensure that the trustees of the fund are aware of the committee's recommendations.
Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many disabled people had one or more of the weekly additional requirements for heating or laundry included in their supplementary benefit at the latest available date.
Mr. Burt : Such information as is available is for May 1987. At that date 189,000 people received an addition in respect of heating on the ground of disability. This figure does not include those disabled people entitled to a heating addition of a higher amount for reasons other than disability.
A total of 553,000 people recieved a laundry addition. It is not possible to say what proportion received it on the ground of disability rather than other criteria such as illness, infirmity or inadequate washing facilities at home.
The complicated arrangements of the supplementary benefits scheme were replaced in 1988 by the simpler income support scheme. This aims to direct extra help via premiums to groups identified as likely to have extra needs, such as the disabled.
Source : Supplementary Benefit Statistics Annual Enquiry, May 1987.
Column 332and how many and what percentage of awards were (a) maintained, (b) allowed, (c) disallowed, (d) increased, (e) varied, (f) reduced and (g) outstanding.
Disability living allowance |Number of Reviews|Percentage --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Received |133,234 |- (a) Maintained (Original award upheld) |46,316 |34.8 (b) Allowed (Original disallowance overturned) |28,926 |21.7 (c) Disallowed (Original disallowance upheld) |3,794 |2.8 (d) Increased (Original award increased) |11,501 |8.6 (e) Varied (Rate of award unchanged but duration varied) |1,631 |1.2 (f) Reduced (Original award reduced) |124 |0.1 Others<1> |3,029 |2.3 (g) Outstanding |37,913 |28.5 Notes: <1> Others include reviews that are withdrawn, lapsed, defective or where there are no grounds for a review to be made.
Mr. Burt : The latest available information for income support relates to May 1992. At that time the number of people whose applicable amount included a disability premium was 425,000. The severe disability premium was included in 100,000 cases.
For housing benefit (HB) and community charge benefit (CCB) the latest information relates to May 1991. The number of HB and CCB cases not in receipt of income support with a disability premium or severe disability premium is in the table. Many CCB cases are also in receipt of HB.
|Housing benefit |Community charge |cases |benefit cases ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- With disability premium |163,000 |217,000 With severe disability premium |15,000 |26,000 Note: <1> Source: Income Support Statistics Annual Enquiry, May 1992. <2> Source: Housing Benefit and Community Charge Benefit Management Information System Annual Sample, May 1991.
Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the numbers of people who claimed disability living allowance or attendance allowance prior to 3 September 1992 who would have met the qualifying criteria for the former independent living fund but had still not been notified of the outcome of their claim for either of these benefits by 25 November 1992.
Mr. Hargreaves : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, in the light of the recent report by the National Audit Office on income support for the self-employed, what conditions apply to people who claim income support and are engaged in self-employment.
Mr. Lilley : A person claiming income support may carry out some part time work, but this must generally be for less than 16 hours per week. This is regardless of whether the person is an employee or self-employed. In general, however, they must be registered as unemployed and available for and actively seeking work as an employed earner. In addition, earnings above £5 per week (£15 for lone parents) reduce income support entitlement pound for pound. Some of the coverage of the national audit report in the news media did not sufficiently emphasise these conditions and may therefore have created a misleading impression of the extent to which support for those conducting their own business is available from income support.
The principal benefit for people with children and who are working for 16 hours or more per week is family credit. Family credit is currently paid to 70,000 self-employed people, who receive an average of £55 per week each.
Mr. Winnick : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give the latest position regarding his Department's contact with Walsall council over the latter's refusal to allow blind persons in receipt of the disability living allowance to have the concessionary bus pass.
Mr. Scott : On 24 May, the council wrote to the Department with its further observations on section 73(14) of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992. The Department replied on 25 May and remains engaged in discussions with the council.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what plans he has to introduce regulations on the basis of European Court of Justice Case No. 328/91, 30 March ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) when he now expects the House of Lords to resume the proceedings of the case concerning Evelyn Thomas et al which was referred to the European Court of Justice ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Scott : The European Court has remitted case No. 328/91 back to the House of Lords for final determination. We have not been notified of a hearing date. Legislative proposals will be developed in the light of that determination.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will provide an estimate of the expenditure and caseload take-up of (a) housing benefit for people who are not on income support and (b) community charge benefit.
Column 334benefit for people not on income support is estimated at 83 per cent. by expenditure and 74 per cent. by caseload. Estimates for community charge benefit are not available.
Ms Lynne : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what studies have been made of the cost-effectiveness of providing deaf and hard of hearing people on low incomes with financial support to purchase smoke alarms.
The Attorney-General : I and my predecessor have received written representations from five hon. Members and can recall oral representations from two hon. Members about the Polly Peck investigation and prosecution.
Mr. Hanley : The agency's key targets for this financial year and beyond have been revised to reflect the continuing need to secure economies in defence spending and an increased capability to meet the Department's evolving needs. They build on progress already made by the agency in meeting those targets set at its launch in July 1992. The revised targets are as follows.
Delivery of customer service
(a) About three-quarters of the Agency's business is suitable for coverage by Service Level Agreements with customers, which set out targets and standards for the level of service, timeliness and quality of work. For this part of the business key targets are : (
(i) to increase the coverage to 75 per cent. for Service Level Agreements in the areas suitable ;
(ii) to meet at least 95 per cent. of the timeliness and quality targets set in the established Service Level Agreements.
(b) For the remaining parts of the business (for which Service Level Agreements are not appropriate) the target is to meet at least 95 per cent. of the timeliness and quality targets in each Project Agreement.
(c) For all parts of the business, a key target is to achieve, in the annual Customer Satisfaction Survey, at least 90 per cent. of customers expressing themselves satisfied or better with the timeliness, quality of work, and helpfulness of staff.
Efficiency and use of Resources
(d) The Agency will be expected, by using improved information technology, to produce its routine output more efficiently. The Chief Executive is therefore required to increase efficiency in the production of regular statistical reports by 5 per cent. in 1993-94 and by 10 per cent. over the two years 1993-95. In line with general Ministry of Defence manpower reductions the Chief Executive is, by 1 April 1994, required to complete a reduction in manpower to a level 20 per cent. below the 1990 baseline manning level.
Mr. Brazier : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Dr. Goodson-Wickes) of 10 December 1992, Official Report, column 800, if he can now announce further conclusions about personnel numbers in the Royal Air Force.
Over the next two years, the impact of civilianisation, market testing, developments in technology, economies in the support area and other efficiency measures, will lead to a reduced number of personnel required in the RAF. This reduction is made possible largely because of better use of manpower and resources.
We are taking steps to bring down numbers in line with this changing requirement. In part, this can be done by natural turnover and by reducing recruitment. A number of redundancies will also be required to help adjust imbalances between manpower categories : in certain areas there is a surplus of manpower ; in other areas there are shortages. The precise number will remain under review, but we estimate that up to 2,200 redundancies will be sought before 1 April 1995. The majority of these redundancies are attributable to factors which do not affect the operational capability of the service. The same redundancy terms will apply as for the previous phase of redundancies. Volunteers will now be sought. We hope that, as in the past, the majority of those selected for redundancy will be volunteers.
These arrangements will allow the RAF to reduce its support costs while retaining the ability to meet its operational commitments.
Mr. Rifkind : Following the adoption of resolution 836 by the United Nations Security Council on 4 June, a squadron of Jaguar aircraft of the Royal Air Force is being offered to NATO to participate if necessary in air operations to support UNPROFOR authorised by paragraph 10 of the resolution.
We have a battalion group deployed in Bosnia as part of UNPROFOR. We have no plans to send additional major units. We maintain contingency plans to provide additional protection for our forces should circumstances warrant, through both maritime and land based assets. To complement these existing arrangements, a number of Army units and individual officers and men are being placed at readiness to move to former Yugoslavia at short notice to provide a range of options should the need to protect our forces make this necessary. It will not be necessary to deploy them to theatre as part of this precautionary plan.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many liaison officers from the United States Department of Defense have been stationed at his Department's chemical and biological warfare establishment at Porton Down since 1963 ; if he will outline the functions undertaken by such visiting liaison officers ; and how many came as part of the technical co-operation programme ;
(2) what collaboration has taken place between his Department and the Government of Australia in relation to chemical and biological defence since 1962 ;
(3) how many achievement awards have been granted under the technical co- operation programme at the chemical and biological defence establishment at Porton Down in each year since 1963 ; what was the scientific purpose behind each award made ; and if he will make a statement on the role and function of the technical co-operation programme.
Letter from Graham Pearson to Mr. Elfyn Llwyd, dated 10 June 1993
1. Your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Defence asking how many liaison officers from the United States Department of Defense have been stationed at his Department's Chemical and Biological Warfare Establishment at Porton Down since 1963 ; if he will outline the functions undertaken by such visiting liaison officers ; and how many came as part of the Technical Co-operation Programme (Question 16, Order Paper, 27 May 1993) has been passed to me to reply as Chief Executive of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment.
2. Four US Army liaison officers were stationed at Porton Down from 1963 to 1973. After 1973, liaison has continued at a much reduced level through the US Army Standardisation Office in London. The original US Army liaison officers were first appointed in 1942 and pre-date the Tripartite Conferences and the later TTCP. They have their roots in informal World War II co-operation. Their functions appear to have been to act as a channel for the exchange of information and to observe and participate in relevant trials of interest to the United States.
3. Since 1973, there have been a number of attachments of US civilian and military officers to Porton Down who have been engaged in the work of particular Divisions ; they have not had a general liaison responsibility. These attachments have been under either the Technical Co-operation Programme or the UK/US/Canada Memorandum of Understanding on chemical and biological defence. During the past 10 years we have had some six attachments lasting for about a year or longer in addition to short term visits.
Letter from Graham Pearson to Mr. Elfyn Llwyd, dated 10 June 1993 :
1. Your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Defence asking what collaboration has taken place between his Department and the Government of Australia in relation to chemical and biological defence since 1962 (Question 18, Order Paper, 27 May 1993) has been passed to me to answer as Chief Executive of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment.
2. Collaboration between the United Kingdom and the Government of Australia on chemical and biological defence has taken place under the following international agreements which include chemical and biological defence in their scope :
Column 337a. The United Kingdom-United States-Canada- Australia American, British and Canadian Armies (ABCA) agreement between the armies of the four countries. This includes a group known as the Quadripartite Working Group (QWG) which has a Panel on NBC defence.
b. The United Kingdom-United States-Canada-Australia Air Standardisation Coordinating Committee which has a sub group addressing CB defence.
c. The Technical Cooperation Programme which involves the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand is concerned with collaboration in defence research and has a sub group that is active on CB defence.
d. The Anglo-Australian Memorandum of Understanding on Research (AAMOUR) which was preceded by the Australian/UK Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Defence Research and Development and which contained some CB defence related topics.
e. A Memorandum of Agreement between the UK and Australia relating to a joint programme of reseach, investigation and material testing at the JTTRE which was an out-station of the Materiels Research Laboratory (MRL) of the Australian Department of Defence and is now designated as MRL-Queensland. 3. In addition, I would refer you to the replies to several recent questions on the testing of chemical and biological defence equipment in Australia (29 June 1992, Offical Report, Column 412 ; 16 July 1992, Official Report, Column 937 ; and 1 December 1992, Official Report, Column 162).
Letter from Graham Pearson to Mr. Elfyn Llwyd, dated 10 June 1993 :
1. Your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Defence asking how many achievement awards have been granted under the Technical Co- operation Programme at the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment at Porton Down in each year since 1963 ; what was the scientific purpose behind each award made ; and if he will make a statement on the role and function of the Technical Co-operation Programme (Question 21, Order Paper, 27 May 1993) has been passed to me to answer as Chief Executive of the Chemcial and Biological Defence Establishment.
2. At their 25th Anniversary meeting in October 1983 the Non-Atomic Military Research and Development (NAMRAD) Principals agreed that they should establish an award to mark outstanding collaboration in defence research undertaken under the auspices of the Technical Co-operation Programme (TTCP). The basic purpose of the award is to provide recognition to defence scientists and visibility to defence research which adds to the defence postures of all countries. Only outstanding co-operative research work is considered for such awards and must represent original research which can provide breakthroughs in defence technologies. The first award was made in 1985 and there have been three awards to CBDE scientists as follows :
(a) In 1985 an award was made for research in the field of "Ion mobility spectrometry for chemical warfare agent detection". (
(b) In 1990 an award was made for research on the chemcial and biological threat of aerosolized agents.
(c) In 1991 an award was made for work on the specification for ASC/TEDA charcoal.
3. Insofar as to the role and function of the Technical Cooperation Programme are concerned, I would refer you to the reply given by the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, The Right Honourable Archie Hamilton, MP, of 1 December 1992, Official Report, column 160 which sets out the original purpose behind the TTCP. The Technical Co-operation Programme provides a means of acquainting the participating countries with each others defence research and development programmes so that each national programme may be adjusted and planned in recognition of the efforts of the other nations. This process supplements each programme with the knowledge and capabilities of the other countries, avoids unnecessary duplication among the national programmes, promotes concerted action to identify and close important gaps in the collective technology base, and assure to each
Column 338country the best technical information available for advice to their Governments and military forces on all matters related to defence research and development.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) of 24 May, Official Report, column 456, what is his estimate of the amount of fissile plutonium contained in the 12,000 warheads to which he refers.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what matters were discussed and what decisions taken in regard to nuclear non- proliferation in NATO's defence planning committee and nuclear planning group in Brussels on 25 to 26 May.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the number of F3 Tornados to be modified under the Airwork Services contract prior to the termination of the Airwork Ltd. F3 Tornado modification contract.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when he expects to decide on legal action against Airwork Ltd. with respect to damage caused to F3 Tornados in the course of the modification contract carried out at RAF St. Athan in 1992-93 ;
(2) what estimates he has made of the cost of rectification of the damage done in the course of the F3 Tornado modification contract carried out by the Airwork Ltd. at RAF St. Athan.
Mr. Aitken : The Department intends to claim against Airwork Ltd. for the cost of rectifying damage to Tornado F3 aircraft and other financial penalties arising from Airwork's failure properly to execute the aircraft modification contract. It will take some time to establish the full extent of these costs.
Column 339to the damage caused to F3 Tornados in the course of the Airwork Ltd. modification contract carried out at RAF St. Athan in 1992-93.
Mr. Aitken : The Defence Research Agency has been tasked by my Department to provide independent advice on the structural assessment which has been requested from the aircraft design authority--Deutsche Aerospace-- for the relevant sections of the airframe.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the impact on United Kindom defence capabilities of the grounding of non-airworthy F3 Tornados damaged in the course of the modification contract carried out by Airwork Ltd. at RAF St. Athan.
Mr. Aitken : It has no significant impact on United Kingdom defence capabilities. The fleet strength includes an allowance for aircraft which are lost or grounded as a result of accidents or in-service modification programmes.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations were made by Airwork Ltd. regarding the termination of the contract for F3 Tornado modification work carried out at RAF St. Athan in relation to the company's maintenance contracts in the middle east.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations were made by Airwork Ltd. for an extension of the turn- round time for F3 Tornado modification work carried out at RAF St. Athan ; what response was made by the RAF ; and what was the final decision in relation to possible extension.