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Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the reasons for a letter from the Child Support Agency being sent to Miss Hayley Lidster of Godlys, Mid Glamorgan concerning child support.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many cases pursued by the Child Support Agency have resulted in the payment of maintenance to the parent with care in (a) Newham and (b) Great Britain.
Mr. Scott : Figures are not available for the number of maintenance assessments made in Newham. National figures were given by Ros Hepplewhite, the chief executive of the Child Support Agency in her reply to the hon. Member for Warrington, South (Mr. Hall) on 4 March, Official Report, column 38.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many lone parents previously in receipt of benefits have had their income raised above entitlement to benefit as a result of a maintenance assessment by the Child Support Agency in (a) Newham and (b) Great Britain.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many lone parents in receipt of benefits have had their benefit reduced due to their failure to provide the Child Support Agency with the required information about the absent parent in (a) the London borough of Newham and (b) Great Britain.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security in how many cases dealt with by the Child Support Agency resulting in the assessment of a minimum award this assessment has not been pursued because the absent parent is exempt from payment.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what provision the Child Support Agency has for the use of interpreters during CSA interviews where one or both parents does not have English as a first language ; and in how many instances interpreters have been used.
Mr. Scott : Child Support Agency local offices are co-located with Benefits Agency offices. There is an inter-agency agreement which provides for CSA clients to have the same access to interpreters during interviews as BA customers. BA policy is to provide a linguistic service to customers for whom English is not their first language. Guidance, including a code of practice, has been issued to all district managers. The service may be provided by BA interpreters, BA bilingual staff, community interpreters or other commercial interpreters. No records are kept to show in how many instances interpreters have been used.
Mr. Dewar : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the combined rate of employer/employee national insurance contributions necessary to achieve balance in the national insurance fund in 1994-95.
Mr. Hague : It is estimated that a treasury grant equivalent to 16 per cent. of expected benefit expenditure will be needed to balance the national insurance fund in 1994-95 . If the grant was not available a combined employer/employee contribution rate of between 23.2 and 23.9 per cent. would be needed to raise the same level of income.
Estimates are based on the November 1993 FSBR assumptions. The Government Actuary recommends planning for an end year balance equivalent to 2 months' benefit expenditure.
The contribution percentages vary according to whether there was an increase in the main primary or main secondary percentage rate, or a combination of both.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish a table showing how many claimants of invalidity benefit had the cases reviewed between 1 April 1993 and 1 October 1993 ; and in each year prviously to 1990 ; what number of such cases for each period had either (a) a reduction or (b) a withdrawal of invalidity benefit ; and how many new claims of invalidity benefit were accepted for each period.
Mr. Scott : Detailed information about adjudication officers' decisions which review entitlement to invalidity benefit is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. We estimate that between 1 April 1993 and 30 September 1993, across all benefits for incapacity , some 35,000 disallowances were made on the ground that the claimant was not incapable for work. Estimates for earlier years are not available. Available information about new spells of invalidity benefit entitlement is in the table. Sickness benefit, invalidity benefit, severe disablement allowance, and people claiming these benefits but receiving only national insurance credits with or without income support.
Based on a 5 per cent. sample of cases referred to the Benefits Agency Medical Service, rounded to the nearest thousand.
Spells of invalidity benefit entitlement commencing Period |Number ---------------------------------------------- 2 April 1990 to 30 March 1991 |288,000 1 April 1991 to 4 April 1992 |323,000 Note: Based on a 1 per cent. sample of claimants in Great Britain, rounded to the nearest thousand.
Mrs. Bridget Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate he has made of the number of existing recipients of invalidity benefit in (a) London and (b) Lewisham who will be disqualified under the new capacity test.
Mr. Scott : Numbers cannot be reliably estimated at this stage, but our current estimate is that around 200,000 of the people who initially transfer to incapacity benefit from invalidity benefit may fail to satisfy the test within the first two years. This estimate cannot be broken down by district.
Some of these people would have been excluded from benefit by existing medical controls but will be excluded at an earlier stage by the new medical test. Around 100,000 people a year are found capable of their own or an alternative occupation by the existing medical controls. This includes people claiming sickness benefit, severe disablement allowance and income support because of incapacity for work, as well as invalidity benefit.
Mrs. Bridget Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the number of people in receipt of invalidity benefit in (a) London and (b) Lewisham for each of the last 10 years.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mrs. Bridget Prentice, dated 22 March 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about Invalidity Benefit (IVB) recipients in London and Lewisham.
The information is not available in the format requested. This is because Benefits Agency (BA) district boundaries do not correspond with county or borough boundaries.
The Agency's Lewisham and Brixton District is not only responsible for Lewisham postal addresses but also for some adjacent areas. Information about those customers resident in the Lewisham postal area could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost. I have, therefore, provided at Appendix 1 the number of people claiming IVB in the Lewisham and Brixton District.
Information relating to the numbers of IVB customers is collected by each District. However, separate statistics for IVB
Column 333customers were not maintained by Districts until May 1991. I am, therefore, only able to provide information for the Lewisham and Brixton District from that date.
In addition, the figures include some customers who have claimed but are not actually receiving IVB. This is because there are circumstances in which although there is an underlying entitlement to IVB, because a higher overlapping benefit is in payment no IVB is actually paid. The figures were obtained from a 100 per cent. clerical count of cases in the District Office.
BA District generally comprise of a District Office and one or more Branch Offices. Although a number of BA Districts deal only with London postal addresses, others consist of offices both inside and outside the London postal area. I am, therefore, unable to provide the information in the exact format requested.
However, I have provided at Appendix 2 a table showing the number of customers in receipt of IVB in respect of the former Greater London Council geographical area. These figures are based on a 1 per cent. sample of customers. The figure given for 4 April 1992 is the latest date for which figures are available.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Appendix 1 Number of IVB customers in the Lewisham and Brixton district Year and month |Total --------------------------------------------- 1991 May |5,058 June |5,047 July |4,937 August |4,411 September |5,103 October |5,014 November |4,864 December |4,905 1992 January |5,043 February |5,090 March |5,041 April |5,177 May |5,151 June |5,341 July |5,608 August |5,569 September |5,717 October |5,911 November |5,824 December |6,017 1993 January |6,092 February |6,179 March |6,035 April |6,166 May |6,165 June |6,131 July |6,192 August |6,345 September |6,510 October |6,544 November |6,272 December |6,628 1994 January |6,705 February |6,415
Appendix 2 Number of IVB recipients in the former greater London council area Date |Number of |recipients ------------------------------------ 2 April 1983 |54,000 31 March 1984 |57,000 30 March 1985 |61,000 5 April 1986 |64,000 4 April 1987 |67,000 2 April 1988 |73,000 1 April 1989 |77,000 31 March 1990 |84,000 30 March 1991 |97,000 4 April 1992 |109,000
Mr. Scott : The social fund gross discretionary budget for 1994-95 will be £353 million. Some £97 million will be allocated to grants, £255 million to loans and £1 million will be held as a contingency reserve. The new allocations represent an overall increase of £7 million over the gross budget set at April 1993.
Details of individual district budget allocations have been placed in the Library.
|Number of |Cost |Contracts |(£ million) ------------------------------------------------ 1988-89 |746 |49.5 1989-90 |683 |43.3 1990-91 |952 |83.2 1991-92 |933 |69.7 1992-93 |1,025 |100.9
Mr. Austin-Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what calculations he has made of (a) the amount that value added tax at 8 per cent. on fuel will add to the cost of each unit of electricity consumed and (b) the number of units on which 50p will pay the additional VAT.
The answers would depend on the particular electricity company, and factors such as whether standard tariff or economy 7 tariff is used. The Government have made available a substantial package of help, which will cost up to £1,250 million a year from April 1996 onwards. Pensioners and disabled people are likely to find, on average, that this extra help from the Government will broadly cover all changes in the price of fuel, including VAT, over the course of this Parliament.
r 1989-90 1990-91 1991-92 1992-93 1993-94 Department £ £ £ £ £ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Legal Secretariat to the La- Office-s - - - Crown Prosecution Service |620k |(7) |477k |(7) |471k |(12) |560k |(24) |<1>539k|(33) Serious Fraud Office |270k |(3) |171k |(4) |88k |(2) |112k |(9) |<1>126k|(5) Treasury Solicitor's Depart<2>5.0k (2) Not Known 54k (6) 335k (8) 428k (14) Note: Figures in parentheses represent the number of contracts that year. <1> Figure not yet complete. <2> Approximate figure.
Mr. Hanley : My Department's case against Shipbreaking Industries Ltd. regarding asbestos pollution was rejected by the court in January 1993. The recently reported out of court settlement between my Department and Shipbreaking Industries Ltd. related to a dilapidations claim and not asbestos pollution.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the value of the arms purchases by Malaysia from Britain following the agreement reached by the then Secretary of State for Defence, the former right hon. Member for Ayr, with the Malaysian Government in 1988.
Mr. Hutton : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to ensure that all naval ship yards have the opportunity to submit tenders to build the common new generation frigate ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Aitken : Following competition, GEC with a consortium of BAe defence systems and services division and others have been selected as the United Kingdom member for the Franco/British/Italian joint venture company to design and build the three first of class ships, one for each participating nation. All United Kingdom shipyards with the capability will be offered the
Column 336opportunity to compete for the build of follow-on ships of this class and, in order to assist them, we are seeking arrangements for them to be provided with progressive and timely access to design information.
Mr. Aitken : Good progress continues to be made on Project Horizon, the common new generation frigate. We continue to seek a collaborative way forward for the anti-air warfare system for the ship. Following a competition, GEC with a consortium of BAe defence systems and services division and others have been selected as the United Kingdom member for the international joint venture company which will design and build the three first of class ships, one for each participating nation. We still intend to contract two competing international consortia to conduct competitive project definition for the frigate's combat management system later this year.
Mrs. Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on future developments for (a) the Tornado operational conversion unit, (b) the Jaguar operational conversion unit at RAF Lossiemouth and (c) the operational conversion unit for Nimrods based at RAF Kinloss.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his policy towards nuclear weapons co-operation with France following the recent publication by the French Government of a white paper on defence.
Mr. Aitken : We are already engaged in a very constructive dialogue with France on defence nuclear matters, and we welcome the French Government's commitment, as expressed in their recent white paper, to deepening these important exchanges.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 14 January, Official Report, columns 342-43, how many progress reports have been produced by the defence costs study teams ; and if he will make a statement.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether there will be any change to front-line capabilities resulting from the defence costs study ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) what criteria will be used to assess the impact of the defence costs study on front-line capabilities ; and if he will make a statement ;
(3) which MoD personnel will be involved in assessing the impact of the defence costs study on front-line capabilities ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Aitken : The aim of the defence costs study is to safeguard our front-line operational capability. All proposals emerging from the study will be assessed with this criteria in mind, drawing on the advice of the appropriate personnel, in the MOD and the services.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what detailed proposals to make radical changes in procurement policies and practices have been considered as part of the defence costs study ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what detailed proposals to achieve reductions in the costs of his Departments' estate and property have been considered as part of the defence costs study ; and if he will make a statement ; (3) what detailed proposals for reducing the costs of third and fourth-line repair have been considered as part of the defence costs study ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Aitken : Separate study teams have been established to examine each of these areas in detail. They have yet to report, but are considering a range of proposals relevant to their respective remits. Decisions on their final recommendations will be announced in due course.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made as to whether it is possible to achieve a significant reduction in the costs associated with spares, procurement and stock holding without having any impact on front-line capabilities ; and if he will make a statement.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to include examination of (a) Army support infrastructure, and (b) Air Force support infrastructure as part of the defence costs study ; and if he will make a statement.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what sections of (a) the Army, (b) the Navy and (c) the Air Force are responsible for (i) third-line repairs and (ii) fourth-line repairs ; and if he will make a statement.
(a) The Chief of Fleet Support is responsible overall within the Navy. Third line--generally docking and essential defect work--ship repair work is normally undertaken by the Fleet Maintenance and Repair Organisation at Portsmouth, the royal dockyards at Devonport and Rosyth, or sub- contractors. Fourth-line ship repair--refit work--is carried out by the royal dockyards or by the equipment manufacturers.
CFS is also responsible on a tri-service basis for third and fourth-line repair work undertaken on helicopters either by the Department's own workshops or in industry. Work is also undertaken on equipment such as vehicles and armaments either within the Department's own workshops, third line, or by industry, fourth line. (b) The director general of equipment support, Army, is responsible for advising on the allocation of work, normally through the Army Base Repair Organisation, a Defence agency which provides third and fourth-line support to the Army both through its own engineering workshops and through industry.
(c) The director general of support management, RAF, is responsible for the allocation of work, and the raising of requisitions for contracts with industry.
Third-line repair work is carried out by the Maintenance Group Defence Agency, whose chief executive is the AOC maintenance units, headquarters RAF support command. Fouth-line repair work is carried out by industry.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the current funding situation for British military participation in UN operations in the former Yugoslavia ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 339operations in the former Yugoslavia from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The cost of military participation in UN operations in the former Yugoslavia is currently estimated at £81, 000,000 for financial year 1993-94. This expenditure is partly offset by reimbursement from the United Nations which so far total £18,100, 000 in 1993-94.