|Previous Section||Home Page|
Column 11within the European Community's common commercial policy. Since August 1993 there have been Community-wide quotas on FSU aluminium, which were extended for three months at the end of November 1993. It is not yet known whether there will be a further extension. The problems facing aluminium producers in the European Community and in other countries have complex origins going well beyond imports from the FSU. The United Kingdom and other EC member states have therefore agreed that the Commission should, on behalf of the Community and together with other countries, seek appropriate multilateral solutions for the longer term.
The responsibility for making a dumping complaint would lie with the Community's domestic industry. The Government are not aware of any such complaint, which would be for the Commission to investigate.
Such inquiries are confidential and I cannot comment on whether or not New Vista Travel Ltd. is being, or has been, investigated. Nevertheless, I am prepared to consider any information the hon. Member may provide in the usual way.
Mr. Eggar : My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade established a range of business sector divisions in the Department in 1992 and successfully recruited a business secondee into each of them to help facilitate an informed dialogue between Government and business.
Mr. Ingram : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 17 January, Official Report, column 379, what estimate he has made of the additional costs, net of any reduction in employer's national insurance contributions, to his departmental budget for the financial year 1994-95 resulting from the changes in statutory sick pay provision.
Mr. Eggar : I estimate that no additional costs will arise from the changes in statutory sick pay provision and employer's national insurance contributions, as I explained in my reply to the hon. Gentleman on17 January, Official Report, column 379.
Administrations not to disclose information supplied in confidence by or about applications for export licences.
Ms Glenda Jackson : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) if he will list all east and central European countries subject to European Union textile quotas, giving the per capita income of each country and the date upon which textile quotas on each will be fully lifted ;
(2) what percentage of quotas will be lifted in each of the 10 years of the phasing out of the European Union multi-fibre arrangement ;
(3) if he will list all countries subject to European Union textile and clothing quotas, giving th per capita income levels of each and the dates, under the new general agreement on tariffs and trade, when such quotas will be lifted.
Mr. Needham : The recently concluded GATT provides for a phase-out of the multi-fibre arrangement over a 10-year period commencing from the date of implementation of the total GATT package. The phase-out will consist of four stages for which the following minimal levels have been set :
Stage 1 : From start of year 1 : 16 per cent. of total volume of textile trade based on 1990 figures will be returned to normal GATT rules and any quota restrictions in force on tariff lines included in the 16 per cent. will be removed.
Quotas not liberalised will have their levels increased by 116 per cent. of the prescribed MFA growth factor.
Stage 2 : From start of year 4 : a further 17 per cent. of total volume of textile trade based on 1990 figures will be returned to normal GATT rules.
Quotas not liberalised will have their levels increased by 125 per cent. of the prescribed MFA growth factor.
Stage 3 : From start of year 7 : a further 18 per cent. of total volume of textile trade based on 1990 figures will be returned to normal GATT rules.
Quotas not liberalised will have their levels increased by 127 per cent. of the prescribed MFA growth factor.
Stage 4 : All remaining quotas will be liberalised. The product content of each stage of the phase-out is yet to be agreed.
Following is a list of countries currently subject to European Union textile quotas--under the MFA and other arrangements. The figures indicate per capita gross domestic product in US dollars, in 1991, which is the latest year for which directly comparable figures are available :
|US$ ---------------------------------- Argentina |2,790 Belarus |<1>3,110 Brazil |2,940 Bulgaria |1,840 China |370 Czech Republic |<2>- Hong Kong |13,430 Hungary |2,720 India |330 Indonesia |610 Macao |<2>- Malaysia |2,520 Mongolia |<2>- Pakistan |400 Peru |1,070 Philippines |730 Poland |1,790 Romania |1,390 Russia |<1>3,220 Singapore |14,210 Slovak Republic |<2>- South Korea |6,330 Sri Lanka |500 Taiwan |<2>- Thailand |1,570 Ukraine |<1>2,340 Uzbekistan |<1>1,350 <1> Estimated figures. <2> No figure available. Source: The World bank world development report.
Mr. Neil Hamilton [holding answer 20 January 1994] : The terms of reference and membership of all the business deregulation task forces was set out in the report "Deregulation Task Forces : Proposals for Reform", which was published on 19 January.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his oral answer to the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South- West (Mr. Page), of 12 January, Official Report, column 167, if he will set out how THORP will reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Mr. Eggar : In the context of reducing the United Kingdom's carbon dioxide emissions, my hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade underlined the very important contribution made by the nuclear power generating industry. The thermal oxide reprocessing plant provides a service to that industry, which is valued by the customers, from the United Kingdom and overseas, who have placed more than £9 billion of orders.
Mr. Hain : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what were the numbers of serious accidents and fatalities per 100 miners employed in (a) British Coal pits and (b) private licensed mines in each year since 1964 ;
(2) what were the numbers of serious accidents and fatalities in (a) British Coal pits and (b) private licensed mines in each year since 1964.
The information is not available in the form requested. However, the hon. Member may wish to consult figures given in the report "The Framework for Health and Safety in Britain's Coal Mines", which was placed in the Library last October.
Mr. Rendel : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what working definition of "back to basics" is used by his Department ; and what his Department has done in the past three months to implement the policy.
Mr. Scott [holding answer 20 January 1994] : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on Friday 21 January at column 849.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the average weekly level of housing benefit paid to individuals to subsidise private sector rents during the period 1982-83 to 1992-93, inclusive.
Average amount-£/week-of housing benefit for private sector rents in Great Britain. Year<2> |Amount of |Amount of |All Cases |Housing |Housing |Benefit |Benefit (Non- |(Income |Income |Support cases)|Support cases) --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1983 |12.70 |<1>- |<1>- 1984 |15.00 |<1>- |<1>- 1985 |17.20 |<1>- |<1>- 1986 |19.50 |<1>- |<1>- 1987 |20.90 |<1>- |<1>- 1988 |21.88 |14.47 |18.78 1989 |25.14 |15.42 |21.06 1990 |30.88 |18.72 |25.45 1991 |37.20 |24.98 |32.57 1992 |43.20 |29.66 |38.45 Notes <1> Information for housing benefit without income support cases before 1988 is not available. <2> Figures for 1983 to 1987 inclusive are from samples taken in November or December of each year and from 1988 to 1992 from samples taken in May of each year.
Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many cases have now been dealt with in total by the Child Support Agency ; and of that total how many were (a) cases where no form of agreed maintenance was
Column 15in payment before the Child Support Agency became involved and (b) cases where a form of maintenance was in payment before the Child Support Agency became involved.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mrs. Margaret Beckett, dated 24 January 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security asking for various details on the cases dealt with by the Child Support Agency.
Up to 30 November 1993, the latest date for which figures are available, the Agency had processed 157,000 cases, of which 89,600 had resulted in the arrangement of maintenance. Figures are not kept on the number of cases in which a prior maintenance agreement existed. It is estimated however, that 50 per cent. of clients will have an existing arrangement.
I hope you will find this reply helpful.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many (a) letters and (b) telephone calls on the special hotline from hon. Members have been received to date by the Child Support Agency.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Dr. Tony Wright, dated 21 January 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security asking how many letters and telephone calls on the special hotline had been received by the Child Support Agency from Members of Parliament.
To 7 January 1994, the Agency had received more than 3,200 letters from Members of Parliament and had taken 180 telephone calls on the Hotline.
I hope you will find this reply helpful.
Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will disqualify any firm that flouts his Department's guidelines over privatisation bids from taking part in the bidding process and from being involved in any way with the eventual contract.
Mr. Hague : All invitations to tender issued by this Department include specific details of the basis on which tenders must be submitted and require tenderers to produce a declaration of compliance with the stipulated conditions. If, prior to the award of the contract, we become aware that these procedures have been flouted, we will not proceed further with that tenderer.
Year |Sum paid into |NI Fund |(£ million) ------------------------------------------ 1979-80 | <1>2,343 1980-81 | <1>2,848 1981-82 | <1>2,433 1982-83 | <1>2,591 1983-84 | <1>2,807 1984-85 | <1>2,597 1985-86 | <1>2,163 1986-87 | <1>2,412 1987-88 | <1>2,135 1988-89 | <1>1,653 1989-90 |<2>nil 1990-91 |<3>nil 1991-92 |<3>nil 1992-93 |<3>nil 1993-94 |<3> <4>7,589 <1>Treasury supplement. <2>Treasury supplement was abolished from 1989. <3>From 1990-91 the NI fund has been reimbursed for the costs of statutory sick pay and statutory maternity pay recovered by employers, but these amounts have been excluded because they are a reimbursement rather than a contribution to the NI fund. <4>Treasury grant.
Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps he has taken to prevent industrial espionage in the privatisation competition for the computer processing of national insurance records, currently carried out in-house at Longbenton, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Letter from Ann Chant to Mr. Nicholas Brown, dated21 January 1994 :
As Chief Executive of the Contributions Agency I am responsible for answering questions about relevant operational matters. I have been asked to reply to your question about the steps taken to prevent industrial espionage in the competitive tendering for the computer processing of National Insurance records.
The work of the Data Entry operation at the Contributions Agency's Longbenton site falls within the Agency's Market Testing programme. The objective of Market Testing is to provide better value for money for the taxpayer through a very structured purchasing process which entails inviting bids from the private sector as well as the current civil service provider.
The Market Test of our Data Entry service is being carried out in accordance with the procurement policy as laid down by HM Treasury which observes EC Directives on the subject. As part of that process, an intensive set of tender documents which set out the Agency's business requirements has been issued to each prospective bidder. All bidders, including the In-House team, are likely to seek further information in support of their bids. To ensure equal treatment for all, an independent team deals with all enquiries and ensures that responses are copied to everyone involved in the competition. Enquiries can be made in writing, by site visit or exceptionally by telephone. When a site visit has been requested, the company concerned is met by a member of the independent team who escorts the visitors at all times. Questions are restricted to clarifying aspects of tender documentation. In no circumstances will replies be given to questions concerning how competitors' proposals to carry out the work are being developed.
The Agency has strict guidelines for staff on how to deal with any telephone enquiries. In brief, a response will not be given until the bona fides of the enquirer have been established, and in any case of doubt about the propriety of a question staff must refer the matter to a senior officer before a response is given.
The Agency treats very seriously any attempt by a competitor to obtain information which they are not entitled to receive. Any report of such activity would be thoroughly investigated and, if proven, could result in the exclusion of the offender from the bidding process.
Column 17I hope that I have clearly explained the very serious view that the Agency takes of an exercise of this nature, and that I have been able to reassure you that measures are in place to prevent any competitor gaining an unfair advantage in the tender process. If you have any further queries on the matter I would be only too pleased to discuss them with you.
Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many investigations were carried out for benefit fraud in each year since 1978-79 ; and what was the success rate in each of those investigations.
Mr. Hague : The administration of benefit fraud is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the right hon. Member with such information as is available.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mrs. Margaret Beckett, dated 21 January 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about benefit fraud. I regret that I am unable to provide all the information you requested but I hope that the following is helpful.
The sector fraud organisation was set up in its present form only in January 1991 and although it is constantly refining the way in which statistics are maintained, figures for the period you requested are not available. Figures for the year ending 31 March 1992 are incomplete. However, from the information that is available, it is estimated that approximately 526,000 investigations were undertaken. Of these, approximately 250,000 had a positive outcome. In the year ending 31 March 1993 investigations were undertaken in approximately 560,000 cases of which 270,000 had a positive result.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many awards of the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance were made (a) between February 1992 and March 1993 and (b) between April 1993 to the present ; and how many were made (i) on the grounds that the person was severely mentally impaired and displayed severe behavioural problems and (ii) under the deaf-blind provisions.
N |February 1992 to|April 1993 to |March 1993 |November 1993 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Deaf/blind provision |136 |30 Severely mentally impaired |<1>1,911 |<1>308 All higher rate mobility components<2> |235,500 |90,800 <1> New claims awards only-does not include awards made following review or appeal. <2> The source for these figures is a 5 per cent. sample.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many (a) requests for reviews and (b) appeals to a disability appeal tribunal concerning disability living allowance have been received by his Department.
Column 18Department since May 1993 for (a) compensation and (b) ex-gratia payments resulting from delays in (i) disability living allowances and (ii) attendance allowance ; and what was the number and percentage of successful applications and the total amounts awarded by each benefit.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many payments have been made under the special compensation scheme for claimants who claimed (a) disability living allowance or (b) attendance allowance after February 1993 ; and what is the total amount paid.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what weekly increases will be made to recipients of (a) invalid care allowance, (b) industrial injuries benefit and (c) war pensions unemployability supplement from April specifically in respect of compensation for VAT on fuel.
Mr. Scott : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 30 November 1993 at columns 437-50 his proposals for the uprating of benefits from April 1994. Included in the proposed rates of benefit is extra help, over price indexation, for costs arising from the introduction of VAT on domestic fuel, as follows :
Weekly amount/single person rate |Pence --------------------------------------------------------- (a) Invalid Care Allowance |20 (b) Industrial Injuries: disablement benefit |- death benefit-higher rate |50 -lower rate |15 unemployability supplement |50 Workmen's Compensation-Supplementation- Scheme-maximum rate of lesser incapacity allowance |20 Pneumoconiosis, Byssinosis and Miscellaneous Diseases Benefit Scheme-partial disablement allowance |20 (c) War Pensions unemployability supplement |50
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many disability living allowance claims are being paid to parents on behalf of disabled children under the age of 16 years where the parents do not receive any social security benefit by types of other income.
Mr. Scott : The latest information available is for 28 February 1993. Twenty-one per cent.--236,000--of the 1,145,000 people in receipt of disability living allowance were also receiving income support. Note : The source for these figures is a 5 per cent. sample.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the reasons for paying severe disablement allowance, invalid care allowance and severe disability premium at different levels from April 1994 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Scott : Severe disablement allowance, invalid care allowance and severe disability premium have all been uprated from April 1994 in line with the increase of 1.8 per cent. in the retail prices index. In addition, in line with our promise to provide help with the cost of VAT on fuel for certain groups, such as disabled people, 50p has been added to the weekly amount of severe disablement allowance, and 20p to the weekly amount of invalid care allowance. Anyone who is entitled to the severe disability premium will also be entitled to either the disability premium or the higher pensioner premium, both of which include an additional amount intended to help with the extra cost of fuel bills. To increase the severe disability premium as well would provide this help twice over.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what number and percentage of disability living allowance recipients are not in receipt of any social security benefit, by type of other income.