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Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the specific representations he has received opposing the inclusion of Llanelly in the proposed new unitary authority of Powys ; and when each representation was made.


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Mr. Redwood : Since publication of the Local Government (Wales) Bill, I have received the following specific representations opposing the inclusion of Llanelly in the proposed Powys unitary authority : Cllr. Bernard Assinder, leader of Blaenau Gwent borough council December 1993

Cllr. Bernard Assinder, leader of Blaenau Gwent borough council January 1994

Cllr. Bernard Assinder, leader of Blaenau Gwent borough council March 1994

Cllr. Bernard Assinder, leader of Blaenau Gwent borough council March 1994

Cllr. Bernard Assinder, leader of Blaenau Gwent borough council April 1994

Llanelly community council December 1993

Monmouth Conservative Association March 1994

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer of 29 March, Official Report, column 625, if he will cite the precise reference and form of words in the representation he has received from Cardiff city council which indicates the authority favouring the inclusion of Pentyrch in the proposed new unitary authority of Cardiff.

Mr. Redwood : In a joint letter to me dated 26 January 1994, the Leaders of Cardiff city council and Vale of Glamorgan borough council said

"We would, therefore, wish to re-affirm our support for the proposals as outlined in the Bill. The proposed new unitary authorities present by far the best solution for the people of our areas, best for the people of the wider region and best for the local government in Wales."

HOUSE OF COMMONS

A History of Salford Mining"

Miss Lestor : To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee if he has considered an application for an exhibition relating to Lancashire artists, "A History of Salford Mining", to be displayed in the Upper Waiting Hall.

Mr. Michael J. Martin : I understand that, under procedures agreed by the Administration Committee, arrangements have been made for the exhibition to be held in the Upper Waiting Hall from Monday 11 July to Friday 15 July.

Ministerial Memoirs

Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Lord President of the Council when the provision of compensation for Ministers who resign from office or are dismissed commenced ; what factors occasioned it ; how often it has been refused by any ex-Minister since 1979 ; and what representations he has received arguing that ex-Ministers should not publish memoirs of their time in office for a given period after leaving office.

Mr. Newton : Severance payments were introduced for Ministers in the House of Lords by section 13 of Parliamentary Pensions Act 1984, and extended to those in the House of Commons by the Ministerial and Other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991. These payments were introduced following recommendations by the Top Salaries Review Body ; Reports No. 20, Cmnd 8881 of May 1983, and No. 26, Cm 362 of May 1988 respectively. They compensate for the abrupt loss of earnings which Ministers face immediately on leaving office. I am not


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aware of a severance payment ever having been refused. I have received no representations proposing a moratorium on the memoirs of ex-Ministers.

Statutory Instruments

Mr. Ian Bruce : To ask the Lord President of the Council how many statutory instruments were (a) made by Ministers and (b) approved by Parliament in (i) 1992 and (ii) 1993.

Mr. Newton : In 1992, there were a total of 3,359 statutory instruments made by Ministers ; of these, 127 were laid before the House and approved. In 1993, the figures were 3,279 and 172 respectively.

LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL

Management Systems

Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Lord President of the Council how much his Department's computer-aided facilities management systems cost ; from whom they were purchased ; how many person hours were required to commission them ; what the estimated and actual saving has been from their operation ; and to what extent the use of such systems accounts for the apparent rise in theft noted in his answer to the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell) of 16 February, Official Report , column 774 .

Mr. Newton : The Privy Council Office has no computer-aided facilities management systems.

As to theft, I refer the hon. Member to my answer to the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr.Campbell) on 16 February, which records that no equipment has been stolen from the Privy Council Office in the last three years.

Correspondence

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Lord President of the Council how many letters were received from, and written to, hon. Members by him in February.

Mr. Newton : I received 23 letters from hon. Members in February and wrote to 16.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Pensioner Households

Mr. Luff : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his Department's estimate of the number of households comprising individuals of pensionable age (a) living alone and (b) living with another individual or individuals also of pensionable age.

Mr Hague : In 1990-91--the latest year for which information is available--an estimated 3.34 million persons over pension age lived in households alone and 2.12 million households comprised persons over pension age living with one or more others over pension age. These estimates derive from the 1990-91 family expenditure survey.


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Consultants

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what information technology consultants his Department has employed, for what purpose and at what total cost for each of the last five years.

Mr. Hague : The Department has employed IT consultants and contractors over the past five years to assist the permanent civil service IT specialists to provide IT services to the DSS group, Northern Ireland Social Security Agency, the Employment Service and Department of Health. All aspects of IT are covered including business analysis, development, implementation and service delivery. Details of these services, including expenditure for IT consultants and contractors, are in the table.


<

Year        |Number of  |Number of  |Cost                   

            |consultants|contractors                        

                                    |£                      

------------------------------------------------------------

1988-89     |<1>-       |<1>-       |47,730,354             

1989-90     |493        |131        |40,907,144             

1990-91     |553        |293        |78,094,010             

1991-92     |541        |245        |65,922,056             

1992-93     |334        |552        |92,179,112             

<1> Not available.                                          

Carers

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the proportion of the total social security budget which will be spent on the invalid care allowance and the carer premium in 1993-94.

Mr. Scott : Invalid care allowance represents 0.53 per cent. of the total social security budget, excluding administration costs, for 1993-94.

Carer premium is not a benefit in its own right, but is a factor in the calculation of the income-related benefits--income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit. Reliable data on expenditure on carer premium alone are not available for 1993-94.

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what percentage of national average earnings the current level of invalid care allowance represents ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Scott : In April 1993, the latest date for which figures are available, invalid care allowance represented 10.6 per cent. of national average earnings.

It provides a measure of income maintenance and is not intended to be a wage for carers.

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the current annual cost of benefits for carers.

Mr. Scott : It is not possible to estimate the full cost of benefits which a carer may receive. Planned expenditure on invalid care allowance, which is specifically intended for carers, is £510 million for 1994- 95.

Source : Departmental Report 1994.

War Pensions Agency

Mr. Matthew Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has for the launch of a War Pensions Agency.


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Mr. Hague : The War Pensions Agency has been formally launched today. The agency has developed a charter standard statement and a framework document which are both published today. I have arranged for these papers to be placed in the Library.

Income Support

Mr. Pickthall : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimates he has made of the effect of the removal of child benefit and additional income support from a full-time student on his or her 19th birthday.

Mr. Burt : I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Preston (Mrs. Wise) on 15 March, at columns 628-29.

Cold Weather Payments

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many cold weather payments have been made in (a) Doncaster, (b) Barnsley, (c) Rotherham and (d) Sheffield since October 1993.

Mr. Scott : The administration of cold weather payments is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Tony Laurance to Mr. Martin Redmond, dated 12 April 1994 :

As Michael Bichard is on sick leave at the moment, the Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many cold weather payments have been made in Doncaster, Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield since October 1993.

The information you require is detailed in the table below.


Benefits Agency          |Number of cold                       

district                                                       

                         |weather payments                     

                         |made in the period                   

                         |1 October 1993 to                    

                         |30 March 1994                        

---------------------------------------------------------------

Barnsley                 |11,617                               

Doncaster                |14,602                               

Rother and Dearne Valley |19,978                               

Sheffield East           |20,270                               

Sheffield West           |18,338                               

I hope you find this reply helpful.

Invalidity Benefit

Mr. Kevin Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many invalidity benefit awards for people in the Doncaster district of the Benefits Agency have been (a) reviewed, (b) disallowed and (c) reinstated on appeal in each of the last 12 months.

Mr. Hague : This is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available.

Letter from Tony Laurance to Mr. Kevin Hughes, dated 12 April 1994 :

As Michael Bichard is on sick leave at the moment, the Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking about Invalidity Benefit (IVB) awards in Doncaster District.


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The information is not available in the exact format requested. However, I have provided such information as is available in appendix 1.

The information provided, with regard to IVB awards disallowed, represents only those disallowed on review and does not include those disallowed at the start of the claim. To obtain those figures would incur disproportionate cost.

The statistics provided are taken from clerical records maintained in the Doncaster District offices.

I hope you find this reply helpful.


Appendix 1                                                 

Month          |IVB awards|IVB awards|IVB awards           

               |reviewed  |disallowed|reinstated           

                                     |on appeal            

-----------------------------------------------------------

March 1993     |82        |78        |Nil                  

April 1993     |88        |82        |Nil                  

May 1993       |81        |79        |1                    

June 1993      |115       |106       |2                    

July 1993      |90        |78        |1                    

August 1993    |84        |78        |3                    

September 1993 |79        |75        |5                    

October 1993   |78        |75        |4                    

November 1993  |68        |67        |10                   

December 1993  |47        |46        |5                    

January 1994   |76        |73        |22                   

February 1994  |90        |84        |15                   

March 1994     |140       |130       |24                   

Mr. Kevin Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many applications there have been for invalidity benefit in the last 12 months in the Doncaster district of the Benefits Agency.

Mr. Hague : This is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available.

Letter from Tony Laurance to Mr. Kevin Hughes, dated 12 April 1994 :

As Michael Bichard is on sick leave at the moment, the Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about applications for Invalidity Benefit in Doncaster.

The information is not available in the format requested. This is because, although Benefits Agency Districts record overall claims to incapacity benefits, claims to Sickness Benefit (SB) and Invalidity Benefit (IVB) are not recorded separately. Separate figures for SB and IVB could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Statistics are maintained however, to provide information regarding the total numbers of applications for SB/IVB received in each Benefits Agency District.

Between 1 March 1993 and 28 February 1994 there were 8,508 such applications received in the Doncaster District.

I hope you find this reply helpful.

Mr. Kevin Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what number of people in the Doncaster district have been in receipt of invalidity benefit in each month over the last two years.

Mr. Hague : This is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available.

Letter from Tony Laurance to Mr. Kevin Hughes, dated 12 April 1994 :

As Michael Bichard is on sick leave at the moment, the Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking about Invalidity Benefit recipients in Doncaster.


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I have provided the information you requested at appendix 1. The figures will include a small number of people who have claimed but are not receiving Invalidity Benefit because they are in receipt of a higher overlapping benefit.

The statistics provided were obtained from a clerical count of cases within the Benefits Agency offices of the Doncaster District.


Doncaster district           

invalidity benefit           

recipients                   

               |Number       

-----------------------------

March 1992     |13,973       

April 1992     |11,662       

May 1992       |11,933       

June 1992      |12,054       

July 1992      |11,941       

August 1992    |12,083       

September 1992 |13,307       

October 1992   |12,576       

November 1992  |12,935       

December 1992  |12,682       

January 1993   |12,694       

February 1993  |12,788       

March 1993     |13,091       

April 1993     |12,953       

May 1993       |13,026       

June 1993      |13,666       

July 1993      |13,729       

August 1993    |13,857       

September 1993 |14,177       

October 1993   |14,370       

November 1993  |13,966       

December 1993  |14,666       

January 1994   |14,728       

February 1994  |14,690       

War Pensioners (Deafness)

Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what representations he has received regarding audiological hearing tests for war pensioners in the last 12 months ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) what changes have been made in the method of dealing with war pensioners' deafness claims in the last 12 months ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hague : This is a matter for Mr. Peter Mathison, the chief executive of the War Pensions Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Peter Mathison to Mr. Peter L. Pike, dated 12 April 1994 :

The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions about War Pensions claims for deafness.

Claims for a War Pension in respect of deafness caused or made worse by service invariably require an audiometric test to be carried out to establish the extent of any hearing loss.

To improve the service provided to those making such claims, the procedure of audiometric testing was changed in June 1993. At that time a contract was signed by General Healthcare Group PLC (trading as BMI Healthcare (Audiology Services) ) to provide audiometric tests. BMI began arranging some tests from July 1993 and assumed responsibility for all such tests from August 1993. Throughout this change all those involved previously in providing tests were kept informed. There was also an exchange of correspondence which dealt with representations made by the two main recognised professional bodies in this field--British Association of Audiological Technicians Ltd and the British Association of Audiological Scientists.

I hope you find my reply helpful.


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Bronchitis and Emphysema

Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claims have been submitted in the Seaham and Peterlee areas for assessment of chronic bronchitis and emphysema ; how many have been successful ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hague : The administration of industrial injuries disablement benefit is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available.

Letter from Tony Laurance to Mr. John Cummings, dated 12 April 1994 :

As Michael Bichard is on sick leave at the moment, the Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking about the number of claims submitted in the Seaham and Peterlee areas for assessment of chronic bronchitis and emphysema and how many have been successful.

Firstly, I would like to explain that there are two stages to the take on of claims for prescribed disease D12 (known as chronic bronchitis and emphysema), for which industrial injuries disablement benefit has been available since 13 September 1993 for people who have worked for at least 20 years underground in a coal mine. Stage 1 was restricted to claims from people who were aged 70 or over on 13 September 1993 or had an award of higher rate Disability Living Allowance care component or higher rate Attendance Allowance. Stage 1 ended on 28 February 1994 ; stage 2 commenced from 1 March and is open to anybody to claim. All claims are considered for payment from 13 September 1993.

The information is not available in the format requested. This is because statistics are not available for specific areas but for Benefits Agency Districts. I have therefore supplied information for the Benefits Agency's North Durham District which covers the Seaham and Peterlee areas as well as Durham, Chester-le-Street and Stanley. As at 27 March 1994 the number of claims for chronic bronchitis and emphysema received by the North Durham District Office was 2,646. This is in respect of both stage 1 and 2 of the take-on of claims. Not all of the claims have been processed yet but of those that have, 186 have been successful and have resulted in an award of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

I hope you find this reply helpful.

Compensation Claims

Mr. Duncan Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the total number of claims notified to the compensation recovery unit for the years 1991, 1992 and 1993 ; in how many cases in each year no recovery was made because the claim had a value of less than £2,500 ; and what was the total amount recovered in each year.

Mr. Hague : This is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to my hon. Friend with such information as is available.

Letter from Tony Laurance to Mr. Iain Duncan Smith, dated 12 April 1994 :

As Michael Bichard is on sick leave at the moment, the Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking about the number of claims notified to the Compensation Recovery Unit, the number of cases settled below the Small Payment Limit of £2,500, and the total amount recovered in each of the years 1991, 1992 and 1993.

The information requested is produced below for each financial year.


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The number of claims notified to the Compensation Recovery Unit and the total amounts recovered are as follows :


Period                     |Claims   |Amount             

                           |notified |recovered          

                           |£ million                    

---------------------------------------------------------

1 April 1991-31 March 1992 |121,657  |25.3               

1 April 1992-31 March 1993 |158,996  |51.3               

1 April 1993-31 March 1994 |188,708  |81.9               

Note    Compensators are not obliged to notify the       

Compensation Recovery Unit if the compensation award is  

settled at or below the Small Payment Limit. Of those    

notified 91,419 cases were settled at or below the Small 

Payment Limit between 1 January 1989 and 31 March 1993.  

For the period 1 April 1993 to 31 March 1994 the number  

of cases notified were 48,655.                           

Benefits Office, Highgate

Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans there are for the Benefits Agency to relocate the Highgate benefits office ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hague : The relocation of the Benefits Agency office in Highgate is an operational matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member. Letter from Tony Laurance to Mr. Jeremy Corbyn, dated 12 April 1994 :

As Michael Bichard is on sick leave at the moment, the Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about plans to relocate the Benefits Agency office in Highgate.

You will already be aware of the poor condition and design of the premises that house the Highgate office which have necessitated the need to relocate the office. We have identified suitable alternative accommodation at 1A Elthorne Road London N19. The main work to refurbish these premises began on 31 January 1994 and the projected completion, including the installation of computer cabling, is expected by 7 October 1994. The intention will be to open to the public around 14 November but this may be subject to revision. Until that date customers will continue to be served from the existing premises in Archway Tower.

The move from a very poor and inadequate building to modern office accommodation will provide improved quality services for customers and staff alike. It will mean increased privacy for customers, and improved access and service for people with disabilities and customers with children.

The Manager, Steve Watson, Euston District, PO Box 1933, London NW1 2ED will be happy to provide you with any further information or progress reports should you require them.

I hope you find this reply helpful.


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