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Mr. Ingram : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what benefits savings were made in the first nine months as the result of the collection of child support maintenance ; and what plans he has to revise the targets for the Child Support Agency, in particular those for benefit savings, number of applications and completed assessments, following the recent changes in the rules.
Mr. Burt : For the period from April to December 1993, benefit savings of £214.5 million have so far been reported. This figure does not represent the total amount of savings achieved because some will be scored retrospectively.
The policy changes will have an effect on the agency's achievements against targets this year, but it is too early to be precise about the impact. We do not intend to revise the targets at this stage in the year.
Mr. Ingram : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate both the income from Child Support Agency fees and the Child Support Agency running costs for the first nine months of its operation, both the expected income from Child Support Agency fees and running costs in each year from 1993-94 to 1997-98 ; and what plans he has to increase the fees from April 1994 or at any point during this year.
Mr. Burt : A provisional figure for the agency's total expenditure for the period April 1993 to December 1993 is £70 million. The money collected from fees in this period was £756,000. This reflects the fact that the assessment process is taking longer than expected. The latest information currently available for 1994-95 and 1995-96 is in the table. Information on 1996-97 and revised estimates for 1994-95 and 1995-96 will be available in the DSS departmental report 1994, to be published in March.
A routine review of fee levels will take place in October 1994. There are no plans to increase the fees from April 1994.
Child Support Agency: Financial Provision £ million |1994-95|1995-96 -------------------------------------------------- Total planned expenditure |135 |136 Fees |12 |19 Source: DSS Departmental Report 1993.
Mr. Ingram : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would be the estimated cost of introducing a £5, £10 or £15 disregard on income support for parents with care in receipt of child support maintenance as from, (a) April 1994, (b) October 1994 and (c) April 1995.
Mr. Burt : The full-year costs of a £5, £10 and £15 disregard, assuming one third of lone parents to be receiving maintenance, are in the table. This proportion is broadly in line with what we expect the Child Support Agency to achieve in 1994-95.
5 Cost £ million Disregard |£5 |£10 |£15 ----------------------------------------------------- April 1994 |100 |200 |300 October 1994 |100 |210 |310 April 1995 |110 |210 |320 Note: Estimates based on forecast increase in lone parents in receipt of Income Support, rounded to nearest £10 million.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) which of the public appointments for which he is responsible require advance notice to and consultation with the Chief Whip's office ; and which appointments have been so notified and consulted upon since June 1992 ;
(2) which appointments since 1979 to public bodies or posts for which he is responsible have included candidates nominated by the Chief Whip's office ; if any nominees by this source have been appointed ; and if he will give details.
Mr. Waldegrave : It is not the practice of Her Majesty's Government to answer parliamentary questions about discussions and consultations between Departments and offices of Government relating to public appointments.
Mr. Waldegrave : According to their respective entries in "Who's Who", the schools attended by the members of the Council of the Duchy of Lancaster were Winchester : the Duchy Attorney General, Mr. Timothy Lloyd QC, Ampleforth : the Duchy Receiver General, Major Sir Shane Blewitt KCVO, Eton : the Vice Chancellor of the County Palatine, the hon. Mr. Justice Morritt : and Sir Michael Bunbury Bt, Stowe : Sir Simon Towneley KCVO, Gresham's : Professor Christopher Howes CB, and Charterhouse : Mr. J. R. Sclater.
Mr. Waldegrave : The Advisory Committee on Human Genome Research is chaired by Professor William D. P. Stewart FRS, chief scientific adviser, Office of Science and Technology, and its members are as follows :
Professor Thomas Blundell FRS,
Director-General, Agricultural and Food Research Council ; Sir Walter F. Bodmer FRS,
Director-General, Imperial Cancer Research Fund ;
Professor Sydney Brenner FRS,
Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge ;
Dr. Peter Doyle CBE,
Director of Research and Technology, Zeneca Pharmaceuticals plc ; Professor Malcolm A. Ferguson-Smith FRS,
Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge ;
Dr. Trevor Jones FPS FRSC,
Director of Research, The Wellcome Foundation Ltd ;
Dr. Bridget Ogilvie ScD FlBiol Hon FRCPath,
Director, The Wellcome Trust ;
Professor Michael Peckham FRCP FRCPGlas FRCR,
Director of Research and Development, Department of Health ; Dr. George Poste,
Research and Development Chairman, SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals ;
Sir Dai Rees FRS,
Secretary, Medical Research Council ;
Dr. Geoffrey Robinson,
Chief Adviser on Science and Technology, Department of Trade and Industry ;
Sir Richard Sykes,
Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive, Glaxo Holdings plc.
Mr. Waldegrave : The citizen's charter said that public services should not, through Crown immunities, be shielded from inspection and enforcement on such matters as health and safety regulations. It will take time, however, to bring all existing legislation into line. As legislative opportunites arise, Crown bodies are being brought within the regulatory provisions which apply to others, falling short of exposing the Crown itself, as opposed to negligent employees, to criminal prosecution. Meanwhile, Crown bodies are expected to behave as if they were bound by the regulations.
As a result of food safety and environmental legislation in recent years, if a Crown body is found to be falling below standards, enforcement authorities can go back to the courts for a declaration of non-compliance, which would be followed by immediate corrective action.
The Health and Safety Executive will be sharpening procedures for serving Crown notices for infringement of health and safety legislation and will be considering the implications of removing Crown immunity.
In addition, the Home Office has recently completed a review of the Fire Precautions Act 1971. The question of Crown immunity is one of many aspects being considered.
Mr. Waldegrave [holding answer 7 February 1994] : My private office does not have a paper shredding machine. Within my Department, including agencies, there are nine shredding machines. COI and HMSO, which are separate departments for which I am responsible, have 50 shredders and nine compactors between them.
Mr. I. Harvey
Mr. R. Kathoke
Dr. J. Morton
Sir R. Riley
Mr. Neil Hamilton : Manufacturing industries in the north-west will continue to benefit from a large part of the region retaining assisted areas status. Companies in those areas are eligible for financial assitance under schemes such as regional selective assistance and regional enterprise grants.
Manufacturing industry in the region will also benefit from objective 2 areas which allow for improvements in infrastructure. The north-west has a number of areas designated by the EC, including west Cumbria as far south as Barrow, large parts of east Lancashire, the greater and more industrial part of Greater Manchester, the smaller industrial part of west Lancashire, Widnes and Runcorn, Ellesmere Port and Neston. Of course, objective 1 scheduling has already been designated for the Merseyside county.
Mr. McLoughlin : I cannot yet say when my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade will be able to make a statement about Parcelforce ; the future of the business is still being considered, alongside the main Post Office review. We are, however, still firmly of the view that Parcelforce belongs in the private sector, because it is a business which competes with private sector parcels companies for the very large majority of its services.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : The Director General of Fair Trading advises me that he has recently received the results of the independent research which he commissioned on this subject. He is currently considering this before deciding what action he should take, if any.
Mr. Heppell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade which organisations were consulted by his Department on each of the recommendations of the business deregulation task forces before they were agreed and action proposed in the DTI document, "Deregulation : Cutting the Red Tape".
Mr. Neil Hamilton : The deregulation advisory panel and the seven business deregulation task forces were set up specifically to convey the views of business and did not therefore include any consumer representatives.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will quantify the long-term project support given by the Export Credits Guarantee Department to Malaysia towards each of (a) the Pergau dam project, (b) defence and defence-related contracts and (c) other projects, in 1990-91 and 1991-92.
Mr. Needham : In 1990-91 and 1991-92 the Export Credits Guarantee Department issued guarantees worth £945 million in support of United Kingdom export projects with Malaysia. Of this total £417 million related to the Pergau dam project and £458 million to defence business.
Mr. Needham : Given the strength and competitiveness of the United Kingdom defence industry I would expect orders to have been placed by most countries visited ; exports would not be licensed to certain countries where it is thought inappropriate or where there are internationally agreed embargoes. It would not be possible to provide a detailed answer except at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list all the overseas visits that have been made by Trade and Industry Ministers since June 1987 ; and what was the purpose of each visit.
Mr. Needham : Information on all overseas visits by all Trade and Industry Ministers for any purpose since June 1987 could only be made available at disproportionate cost. The following Trade and Industry Ministers have made trade promotion visits overseas to date in the financial year 1993-94.
The President of the Board
The Minister for Trade
Czech Republic--September 1993
Hong Kong/Korea--April 1993
China/Taiwan/Hong Kong--October 1993
The Minister for Energy
The former Minister, the hon. Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh)
Column 224Slovenia--March 1993
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Technology Zimbabwe/Tanzania --October 1993