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Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether he will publish a table showing the gross and net social fund discretionary budget in each year since 1988-89 in (a) cash terms and (b) real terms in 1993-94 prices, broken down into (i) budgeting loans, (ii) crisis loans and (iii) community care grants.
Mr. Scott : The information is in the table. Gross expenditure has risen in real terms since 1988-89. Direct comparisons between net expenditure in 1988-89 and subsequent years would ignore the additional expenditure made possible by the recycling of money received from loan repayments.
Social fund expenditure since 1988-89 all figures are £ million |1988-89|1989-90|1990-91|1991-92|1992-93 |outturn|outturn|outturn|outturn|outturn ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Crisis loans (gross) |17 |22 |28 |37 |43 Budgeting loans (gross) |108 |119 |128 |160 |181 Crisis loans (net) |9 |8 |9 |11 |9 Budgeting loans (net) |68 |25 |22 |38 |27 Community care grants |41 |60 |67 |79 |90 Total gross expenditure |166 |201 |223 |276 |314 Total gross expenditure 1993-94 p248es<1>2548 297 324 <1> Real terms figures have been calculated using the current GDP deflator and may alter. In any event the social fund budget is based on a number of factors, including the level of gross allocation permitted by expected loan recoveries; and is not linked to inflation forecasts.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish figures showing (a) the gross and (b) the net discretionary social fund budget on a per capita basis of the number of income support claimants in (i) cash and (ii) real terms for each year from 1988-89 to 1994-95.
Expenditure and caseload figures for 1993-94 and subsequent years will not be available until after the end of the relevant financial year. However, the net social fund discretionary budget was increased by £5 million in 1993-94 which will lead to significantly higher expenditure in that year.
Social fund expenditure per capita of income support claimants Year |Cash terms |<1>Real terms |£ |£ -------------------------------------------------------- 1988-89 |38.52 |50.81 1989-90 |48.38 |59.69 1990-91 |53.22 |60.62 1991-92 |59.23 |63.52 1992-93 |59.02 |60.90 <1>Real terms figures are expressed at 1993-94 prices and have been calculated using the current GDP deflator and may alter.
Mr. Denham : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what percentage of the benefits claimants who have been awarded compensation for injury and disease and who have repaid benefits to the compensation recovery unit subsequently had their compensation payment reduced because of contributory negligence ;
(2) what is the total sum of money claimed back under the Social Security Act 1990 by the compensation recovery unit from benefit claimants who have been awarded compensation for injury or disease and who have had their compensation payment reduced because of contributory negligence.
Mr. Hague : The Department issued a series of consultation papers in December to promote discussion of the issues raised by the Goode report. The responses to the consultation exercise will inform decision making, and the Government will make proposals in due course.
(2) if he will place in the Library copies of briefing and background papers supplied to members of the advisory panel on assessment of incapacity ;
(3) whether members of the advisory panel on assessment of incapacity have access to the responses to the consultation document on the subject ;
(4) if he will publish the form of invitation to join the advisory panel on assessment of incapacity.
Mr. Scott : The consultation exercise and the associated consultation document seek views from all interested parties on the proposed new, more objective, medical incapacity test. The assessment panel has been formed to help us construct incapacity scales to be used in the test. The work of the panel is an important part of the consultation exercise.
The panel is being asked to complete a series of exercises which focus on technical questions, and to give their individual expert opinions, not to act as representatives. We are not seeking to influence the decisions of panel members, and we hope they will be free from other pressures, although we do encourage them to discuss tasks with colleagues if they wish.
The panel has been drawn as widely as possible from the medical and scientific communities and from groups of and for disabled people so that a full range of views can be heard. We welcome the comments of individual panel members on the wider issues discussed in the consultation document as well as their views on the incapacity scales.
Column 585We are committed to producing a report on the results of the consultation exercise and on the new test. Parliament will then have the opportunity to consider the detail of the new test when the relevant regulations are made. This will allow the widest possible public scrutiny of the methods used.
A copy of the background paper used by the assessment panel and a form of the invitation to join the panel have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Ingram : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the projected savings from the arrangements for the dependents of new incapacity benefit claimants under pensionable age during weeks 28 to 52 of any period of sickness.
Note : Estimate expressed in constant 1993-94 prices, rounded to nearest £5 million and is net of offsetting changes in expenditure on income- related benefits.
Mr. Ingram : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the projected savings from the introduction of higher rate incapacity benefit payable to claimaints from weeks 28 to 52 in any period of sickness.
Mr. Scott : It is estimated that paying the higher rate of short- term incapacity benefit between the 28th and 52nd weeks of incapacity will produce net savings of around £110 million in 1995-96, and around £150 million in 1996-97.
(1) Estimates expressed in constant 1993-94 prices, rounded to the nearest £10 million, and net of offsetting changes in income related benefit expenditure.
(2) Estimates take account of the effect on incapacity benefit recipients of the planned changes in the qualifying conditions for the disability premium paid with the income-related benefits.
Mr. Denham : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will exempt benefits claimants who are awarded compensation for asbestos- related diseases from repaying benefits under the Social Security Act 1990.
Mr. Hague : The compensation recovery scheme is now administered under the Social Security Administration Act 1992. We have no plans to add awards for asbesto-related diseases to the list of exempt payments.
Mr. Burden : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to provide means-tested assistance towards mortgage payments for people in low-paid employment who are excluded from income support.
Mr. Burt : We have no such plans. A mortgage benefit scheme which helps such people would be very costly as well as significantly increasing dependence on state assistance both by individuals and the market.
Mrs. Jane Kennedy : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what distinction will be made in payment of the job seeker's allowance between (a) claimants under 25 years old and (b) claimants over 25 years old, from April 1996.
Mr. Burt : Job seeker's allowance will be a single, integrated benefit with unified rates of payment aligned to those for income support. Therefore, differential rates will apply to people aged 18 to 24 and those aged 25 years or over.
Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many times in the last six months he has not accepted the recommendation of the social security tribunal regarding a reduction in the repayment of benefit owed to the Department where the person has been sentenced through the criminal courts and is still in receipt of state benefits ;
(2) how many times in the last six months he has used his powers to overturn a decision of the social security tribunal and instructed that no benefit repayment should be made where a person has been sentenced by the criminal court and is still in receipt of state benefit ;
(3) what discretion the social security tribunal has to recommend that no repayments of state benefits are made where an illegal claim for benefit has been made, and the claimant has been sentenced by the criminal court.
Mr. Burt : Social security appeal tribunals can only determine whether the adjudication officer has applied the law correctly in determining an overpayment. The decision to enforce recovery of an overpayment is a matter solely for the Secretary of State. Therefore there is no discretion nor any recommendation in these circumstances.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much SERPS pension is payable in 1994-95 to a contracted-out employee with average earnings who retired at pension age at the end of each year from 1980 to 1993.
Year of |Amount Award<1> |£<2> --------------------------- 1979-80 |1.56 1980-81 |2.82 1981-82 |3.91 1982-83 |5.18 1983-84 |5.61 1984-85 |6.49 1985-86 |7.28 1986-87 |7.37 1987-88 |8.23 1988-89 |8.82 1989-90 |8.93 1990-91 |8.56 1991-92 |5.90 1992-93 |5.41 1993-94 |5.29 Source: estimate prepared by Government Actuary's Department based on "all persons" average earnings in each year. Notes: <1>Tax year 6 April-5 April <2>Weekly amount of additional pension at proposed rates from 11 April 1994 net of "contracted-out deduction".
Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Langaurgh (Mr. Bates) of 1 December, Official Report, column 598 , if he will give figures for the numbers of employees opted out of state earnings-related pensions in each region of the United Kingdom.
Number of people paying class 1 contributions during 1991-92 with an appropriate personal pension or an occupational pension, by region. Region |Number |(thousands) ------------------------------------------------- Total United Kingdom |14,686.7 Northern |813.3 Yorkshire and Humberside |899.5 East midlands |1,049.2 East Anglia |521.2 South-east |4,574.0 South-west |1,145.7 West midlands |1,390.7 North-west |1,642.0 Wales |694.2 Scotland |1,389.4 Northern Ireland |345.7 Region unknown |221.8 Note: Figures relate to numbers of people not number of employments. Data derived from Inland Revenue statistics, 1 per cent. sample.
Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his latest estimate of the number of people holding (a) personal pensions and (b) occupational pensions (i) in total and (ii) in each region of the United Kingdom.
Mr. Hague [holding answer 21 January 1994] : The number of people accruing benefits with personal pensions in 1991-92 was 7.8 million. The number of people accruing benefits in an occupational pension scheme in 1991-92 was 10.7 million. Only the numbers of people with appropriate personal pensions and contracted-out occupational pensions can be broken down by region. Information for 1991-92, the latest year for which information is available, is in the table.
Number of people paying class 1 contributions during 1991-92 with an appropriate personal pension or an occupational pension by region (Thousands) Region |Class 1 contracted |Class 1 |Appropriate personal |contracted-out<1> |out contributions |and contracted-in |pension |only |contributions<1> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Total United Kingdom |8,159.0 |1,197.9 |5,329.8 Northern |481.6 |57.0 |274.7 Yorkshire and Humberside |326.7 |95.2 |477.6 East midlands |559.0 |82.1 |408.1 East Anglia |272.9 |40.8 |207.5 South-east |2,534.4 |396.0 |1,643.6 South-west |639.8 |92.0 |413.9 West midlands |761.5 |103.9 |525.3 North-west |955.0 |120.8 |566.2 Wales |414.1 |54.7 |225.4 Scotland |818.2 |115.4 |455.8 Northern Ireland |212.1 |25.0 |108.6 Region unknown |183.7 |15.0 |23.1 Note: Figures relate to numbers of people not number of employments. Data derived from Inland Revenue statistics, 1 per cent. sample. <1> People who are contracted out for part of the year and contracted in for the remainder.
Mr. Eggar : All EC countries are changing their low voltage supply systems to a nominal voltage of 230/400 volts to provide voltage harmonisation throughout the EC. The United Kingdom decided to do so after extensive consultation.
Column 588The costs to Britain of this standardisation will largely be borne by the electricity supply industry. Estimates put these at £680 million, at 1992 prices, over a 30-year period, together with an annual increase in distribution losses of £20 million.
The benefits are less readily quantified but are those arising from standardisation which brings greater market opportunities to manufacturers, exporters and importers, and to consumers.
Column 589cent./ 10 per cent. to, say, 6 per cent./ 6 per cent. will require the replacement of many distribution transformers. The cost is estimated to be £680 million at 1992 prices assuming a phased replacement programme over a 30-year period.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what agreements were reached at the trade negotiations committee of GATT, held on 20 January, in regards to preparation of a work programme on trade and the environment for the forthcoming Marrakesh meeting of GATT.
to identify the relationship between trade measures and environmental measures, in order to promote sustainable development and
to make appropriate recommendations on whether any modifications of the provisions of the multilateral trading system are required, compatible with the open, equitable and non-discriminatory nature of the system.
It was agreed that the TNC would present the programme of work for adoption as soon as possible and no later than the ministerial meeting in Marrakesh.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what new opportunities will become available to the British nuclear fuel industry following the recent decision of the French nuclear authorities to reopen its fast breeder reactor project at Creys Malville.
Value of United Kingdom exports to Malaysia Year |£ million ------------------------------ 1980 |223.3 1981 |196.2 1982 |210.6 1983 |248.3 1984 |283.1 1985 |281.7 1986 |226.9 1987 |258.0 1988 |310.4 1989 |441.5 1990 |550.7 1991 |582.3 1992 |635.9 Sources: Annual Abstract of Statistics Business Monitor MA20, Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom.
As explained in the answer I gave to the right hon. Gentleman on 6 December 1993, Official Report, column 38, the marking "Not for National Audit Office eyes" is used only in accordance with an agreement between the Treasury and the National Audit Office, under which current documents relating to the handling of relations between Departments and the National Audit Office and Public Accounts Committee are not automatically available to the National Audit Office.
Mr. Lester : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 19 January, Official Report, column 645, if a subsidy may be paid by the Government to British Coal if the mine in question is not expected to return to profit shortly without the aid of a subsidy.
Mr. Eggar : The aim of the subsidy is to provide temporary financial support to pits that have long-term potential, to provide them the time needed to reduce costs and become competitive. In order to qualify for subsidy my Department must therefore be satisfied that the pit has a realistic chance of supplying coal on a commercially viable basis in the longer term, without the need for subsidy.
Mr. Sainsbury : The provision for regional enterprise grants in 1993 -94 in England is £8.8 million. Forecast capital expenditure by English Estates on behalf of my Department in 1993-94 is £71 million.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many copies of the final recommendations document of his deregulation task forces were printed ; at what cost ; to whom were they distributed ; and if he will make a statement on the proposals for reform contained in the documents.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : A total of 10,000 copies of the booklet setting out the proposals of the seven business deregulation task forces have been printed at a cost of £1,100. Copies were made available to Members via the Vote Office and were distributed to Government Departments, the press, business and consumer organisations, people who submitted evidence to the task forces and members of the public on request. Of the 605 proposals, 250 have been agreed, 280 are under review and 75 have been rejected.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : The principal methods of assessing whether regulations are an undue burden upon business are compliance cost assessment and risk assessment. The CCA methodology is set out in a booklet "Checking the Cost to Business : A Guide to Compliance Cost Assessment" and guidance on risk assessment is given in a booklet "Regulation in the Balance : A Guide to Risk Assessment". Copies of both booklets have been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how much has been spent on information technology in each of the last five years within the Insolvency Service ; and what is the projected expenditure over the next five years.
|£ million ------------------------------ 1989-90 |1.9 1990-91 |2.0 1991-92 |1.5 1992-93 |3.0 1993-94 |5.2 1994-95 |3.5 1995-96 |2.6 1996-97 |2.5 1997-98 |2.5 1998-99 |2.5
The current and earlier years figures include, where appropriate, capital expenditure paid, on behalf of the Insolvency Service, from the DTI's capital computer budget.
Figures for 1994-95 onwards include committed current and capital expenditure plus minor amounts for project enhancements. Future major projects are excluded as these are yet to be quantified or approved.
Column 592successfully obtained by the Insolvency Service for each of the last five years ; and how many of those cases in each year were prosecuted under each of the relevant sections of the Insolvency Act 1986.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : The numbers of bankrupts successfully prosecuted by my Department on reports received from the Insolvency Service were 249 in 1989, 209 in 1990, 220 in 1991 and 192 in 1992. The total for 1993 will not be known until all court returns have been received.
Information on the number of convictions obtained under the relevant sections of the Insolvency Act 1986 and associated legislation is regularly published in the Insolvency Service general annual report, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many directives he has issued in each of the last five years for the institution of disqualification proceedings showing the number issued (a) after receipt of a report from the Official Receiver and (b) after receipt of a report from insolvency practitioners.
|In official |In insolvency |Total |receiver cases|practitioner |cases --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1988-89 |201 |218 |419 1989-90 |160 |302 |462 1990-91 |204 |295 |499 1991-92 |304 |396 |700 1992-93 |164 |400 |564 1993<1> |50 |273 |323 <1> 9 months to 31 December 1993.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade which aspects of the report of the Nuffield committee on bio-ethics in relation to the use of genetic screening information by insurance companies are being considered by his Department.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given to him by my right hon. Friend the Lord President on 11 January 1994, Official Report, column 83. My Department, in consultation with others, is considering those aspects of the report concerned with the balance to be struck between the commercial freedom of insurance companies, considerations of public health and the individual's right to privacy.
Employees of British Nuclear Fuels plc are members of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority pension schemes. There is no pension fund and consequently no
Column 593surplus as these schemes are unfunded public service pension schemes. Payments to members are met through class IV, vote 3 of the supply estimates.