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Scotland Year |Lone parents on |All lone parents|Percentage |benefit ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |34,000 |- |- 1980 |35,000 |- |- 1981 |40,000 |93,000 |43 1982 |47,000 |- |- 1983 |53,000 |- |- 1984 |52,000 |- |- 1986 |67,000 |- |- 1987 |76,000 |- |- 1988 |81,000 |- |- 1989 |88,000 |- |- 1990 |94,000 |- |- 1991 |102,000 |132,000 |77 1992 |106,000 |- |- 1993 |106,000 |- |- Notes: 1. Sources: Supplementary Benefit Statistics Annual Enquiries 1979-1987; Income Support Statistics Annual Enquiries 1988-1992; Income Support Statistics Quarterly Enquiry, May 1993. Census 1981 and 1991, General Register Office for Scotland. 2. The answer has been rounded to the nearest thousand. 3. Supplementary benefit data is not available for 1985. 4. Information on the number of lone parents living in Scotland is only available for census years. 5. 1981 census figures include unmarried parents living with children.
Mr. Burt : The information requested in respect of all claims from people aged 16 and 17 is not available. However, the success rate for those 16 and 17-year-olds who claimed under the severe hardship provision in Scotland was 82 per cent. in March 1994.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list, for each of the member states of the European Union, the level of state retirement pensions at the most recent available dates in terms of (a) each country's currency, (b) ecus, (c) percentage of each country's average earnings and (d) in annual terms as a percentage of each country's gross domestic product per capita ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hague : Comparable figures on the level of state retirement pensions are not available in terms of national currency or ecus, or as a percentage of average earnings, for all European Union countries. This is because most have wholly earnings-related pension schemes, unlike the United Kingdom. In addition, information is not available on each member state's average level of earnings. Information on pensions in the EU can be found in "MISSOC Social Protection", a copy of which is in the Library. In the United Kingdom information is published about levels of earnings from data collected in the New Earnings Survey ; few countries have comparable surveys.
Column 192Information for (d) is not available in the form requested. The following Eurostat publications contain information on expenditure on the elderly in EU countries and copies are held in the Library : Digest of Statistics on Social Protection in Europe, Volume 1 : Old Age.
Social Protection Expenditure and Receipts 1980-1991.
Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much information is readily available to new claimants on what benefits they are entitled to and the processes involved ; and what estimates are available as to how many people do not claim everything to which they are entitled.
Mr. Burt : This Department produces more than 130 leaflets, many in a number of languages, which provide information on the full range of social security benefits and details of how to claim. Leaflets are readily available at all Benefits Agency offices and post offices and are also supplied to many intermediary organisations such as the citizens advice bureaux. Information is also available in other formats such as Braille, audio cassette and video.
In addition, the Benefits Agency undertakes a wide range of initiatives to increase awareness of entitlement such as exhibitions, liaison with customers and their representatives and the operation of multilingual freelines.
The numbers taking up their entitlement are not uniform among benefits available. For most of the main contributory benefits such as widows' benefit, retirement pension, unemployment benefit and for child benefit, take-up is thought to be close to 100 per cent. The latest estimates for the take-up of income related benefits indicate that around £9 of every £10 of available benefit is claimed by more than four out of every five eligible to claim. These estimates are for 1991 and were published on 25 March 1994 in "Income Related Benefits--Estimates of Take- up in 1990 and 1991", a copy of which is in the Library.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many new claimants of child benefit there were in each quarter of 1993 and the first quarter of 1994 ; and which payment methods were taken up by such claimants.
Child Benefit ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Quarter ending wc 30 March 1993 |106,424|36,991 |34,882 |34,551 Quarter ending wc 30 June 1993 |98,371 |34,449 |32,070 |31,852 Quarter ending wc 28 September 1993 |105,943|37,190 |33,996 |34,757 Quarter ending wc 30 December 1993 |99,755 |36,588 |31,520 |31,647 Quarter ending wc 29 March 1994 |107,718|40,946 |32,884 |33,888
Column 193benefits and other payments in class XIV, vote 1, as a result of overpayments ; and if he will publish a breakdown of overpayments for each category of benefit.
Mr. Scott : The table details the cash losses due to irrecoverable overpayments of pension benefits, war pensions, disability benefits, industrial injury benefits, income support and family benefits as recorded in the class XIV, vote 1, 1992-93 appropriation account.
Benefit |Amount |£ --------------------------------------------------- Attendance allowance |896,498 Invalid care allowance |795,139 Mobility allowance |101,153 Disability living allowance |68,053 Industrial injury benefits |1,371 Severe disablement allowance |153 War pensions |239,019 Child benefit |2,791,928 Family credit |277,526 Income support |29,275,520 |------- Total |34,446,360
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much of the Independent Living Fund (1993) annual budget was spent at the end of its first year ; what plans he has in regard to the exclusion of people who are terminally ill from help from the fund ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Scott : I am informed by the director of the Independent Living Fund (1993) that the fund spent £841,858 in its first year of operation. The fund estimates that the full year costs of the case load taken on in its first year will be around £6.28 million in this financial year, assuming current trends.
People who are terminally ill are free to apply to the fund. The trustees consider all applications on their individual merits.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many women aged 60 years or more have had the suspension of invalidity benefit lifted following Social Security Commissioner Skinner's decision in the case of Mrs. Rose Graham ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Scott : The latest available information relates to 31 August 1993, at which time the suspension of increases of benefit awarded as a result of the commissioner's decision had been lifted in 773 cases.
Source : 100 per cent. clerical count by Benefits Agency offices in Great Britain.
Mr. Byers : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's response to the Advertising Standards Authority investigation into the recent grant-maintained school status advertising campaign.
Mr. Robin Squire : To make the Department's response public at this time could undermine the role of the ASA, which is investigating the complaints made under conditions of confidentiality. The outcome of the ASA's investigations will be published in the authority's monthly reports, copies of which are available free of charge from the ASA.
Mr. Bosweell : Returns made to the Department by local authorities about their expenditure on discretionary awards for the academic year 1992- 93 will not be available for publication until later this summer. Data for 1993-94 have not yet been collected.
Mr. Boswell : Where a student holds a mandatory award and is absent from his or her course, local education authorities have discretion to make payments up to the amount that would otherwise have been due under the Mandatory Awards Regulations. For students in receipt of discretionary awards, it is up to LEAs to decide whether to continue paying the award, in the light of their own policies.
Mr. Robin Squire : My right hon. Friend has no plans to exempt any self-governing schools from the national curriculum, except in so far as he is considering a number of applications from state schools, including some self-governing schools, to teach an alternative to the present statutory programme for national curriculum technology.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has about the incidence of cholera in Somalia ; and what action is planned by Britain and the international community to counteract outbreaks.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : At 12 April, 7,477 cases, including 285 deaths, had been reported, mostly in the north-eastern, central and southern zones. Somali professionals, non-governmental organisations and United Nations agencies have established a cholera task force to co-ordinate the response to the recent outbreak. Britain has provided more than £297,000 since March in support of NGO cholera prevention and treatment work in Mogadishu, Kismayo, Afgoy and Hargeisa.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what were the terms of the draft humanitarian statement worked out under IGADD--the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development--auspices in Nairobi from 6 to 12 April for transporting relief supplies and humanitarian assistance in Sudan ; and whether the terms of the statement were agreeable to the Government of Sudan and both SPLA factions.
Mr. John Carlisle : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Governments of Nigeria and Cameroon about the future of United Kingdom aid to the Bakassi peninsula.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the United Kingdom will ratify article 13 of the European convention on human rights ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make immediate resources available to assist in the rescue of the giant tortoises currently threatened by fires on Isabela Island in the Galapagos Islands.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We are most concerned about the fire on Isabela Island in the Galapagos archipelago and the threat that it poses to giant tortoises and other unique species of flora and fauna. We have donated $50,000 to the immediate relief effort being co-ordinated by the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs. Our ambassador is closely monitoring the situation and we have informed the Ecuadorean authorities that we are ready to consider any request to assist with the evacuation of the tortoises, if necessary.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the workings of the Council of Europe social charter and its mechanism for enforcement ; and what proposals the United Kingdom Government have to reform those mechanisms.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : At the start of 1991, the Council of Europe established a committee charged with making proposals on updating the European social charter and improving its operation. The United Kingdom has played a full and constructive part in the deliberations of that committee, which is due to complete its work at the end of this year.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many cases from the United Kingdom are currently being considered within the machinery of the Council of Europe social charter.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The governmental committee of the European social charter is currently considering the reports of both the committee of experts and the United Kingdom Government on 11 possible cases.
Mr. David Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the outcome of his investigations into the reports of the supply of arms and mercenaries from British sources in support of Azerbaijan in the conflict over
Nagorno-Kharabakh ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent contact he has had with the German Government regarding their policy on the export of anti-personnel land mines.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has had no personal contact with the German Government on this matter. However, Foreign Office officials are in frequent contact with their counterparts in all European Union partner countries, and the subject was most recently discussed at a common foreign and security policy working group meeting on 7 April.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We have urged both sides to seek a peaceful, negotiated, mutually acceptable solution to the dispute, and have made available to both Governments historical documents relating to the area.
Mr. John Carlisle : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications for Her Majesty's Government policy of the boundary dispute between the Governments of Nigeria and Cameroon.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the present level of nursing staff in the national health service with particular reference to the west midlands.
Mr. Sackville : Local managers have responsibility for staffing levels and determine, in consultation with professional service heads, the type and number of staff required to deliver nursing care to patients and clients. These arrangements apply throughout England.
Mr. Sackville : The performance of radiotherapy equipment should be defined, as part of the specification, when the equipment is purchased from the manufacturers. It is the user's responsibility to ensure that performance is maintained to meet current treatment requirements.
All medical devices should be purchased from manufacturers who manufacture to a recognised quality assurance system. Such QA systems include those which comply with BS 5750, ISO 9000, BS EN 29000. The Department's medical devices directorate operates a manufacturers registration scheme to register manufacturers whose QA systems have been audited by MDD.
Column 198The Department recommends that all medical devices are managed according to the principles of the document Health Equipment Information 98 "Management of medical equipment and devices", November 1990. This gives advice on, selection, acceptance testing, training, servicing and replacement, amongst other things. Copies will be placed in the Library.
From 1 January 1995, the medical devices directive takes effect for new medical devices placed on the market. All medical devices covered by the directive will need to carry a CE mark to denote compliance with the essential requirements as defined in the directive by 1997.
Mr. Spellar : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what levels of alcohol intake have been recommended as a maximum by her Department ; what recent research her Department has commissioned as to healthy levels of alcohol intake ; and what plans she has to issue revised guidelines.
Mr. Bowis : The Government do not recommend maximum levels of alcohol intake. Our advice to people who wish to drink alcohol is that drinking less than 21 units per week by men or 14 units per week by women is unlikely to damage health. Drinkers are also advised that consuming more than 50 units of alcohol a week for men or 35 for women is definitely dangerous to health. The Department have not commissioned any recent research into healthy levels of alcohol intake, but the results of research nationally and internationally are monitored by our medical and scientific staff. We have no plans at present to change our advice to drinkers. In the light of recent research findings, however, the Government have decided to consider whether the sensible drinking message needs any modification or qualification. Details of action proposed will be announced shortly.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will publish an updated table of hospital and community health service programme expenditure by age group on the lines of that for 1986-87 supplied to the Social Services Select Committee in 1988 and printed as House of Commons Paper No. 548 of Session 1987-88 but using the reported changes of 1989-90 in cash terms and cash adjusted for NHS pay and prices for each year since 1989-90.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what pension entitlements and other benefits, including subsistence and travelling allowances, are paid to non-executive directors of national health service trusts ; and when these will be revised.
Dr. Mawhinney : Non-executive directors of national health service trusts receive annual remuneration of £5,000. In addition, they receive subsistence and travelling expenses at the rates set out in appendix 4 of "Financial
Column 199Matters", May 1993, copies of which are available in the Library. These rates are under review. Non-executive directors are not entitled to receive any additional benefits.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what salaries, remuneration, pensions entitlement and other benefits, including subsistence and travelling allowances, are payable to (a) non-executive members and (b) chairs of district and regional health authorities ; and when these will be revised.
Dr. Mawhinney : The annual rate of remuneration payable to non- executive members of regional and district health authorities and family health services authorities is £5,000. The remuneration of the chairmen of regional and district health authorities and family health services authorities is calculated in accordance with the table :
RHA, DHA, FHSA and trust chairmen: Remuneration rates per year |£ ---------------------------- RHA chairmen |20,925 DHA chairmen Band 1 |19,285 Band 2 |17,145 Band 3 |15,125 FHSA chairmen Band 1 |12,605 Band 2 |11,720 Band 3 |10,845
Banding Criteria: |Band ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ DHA Chairmen |DHA Revenue budget 1985-86 Teaching |£45 million or more |1 Non-teaching |£60 million or more |1 Teaching |Under £45 million |2 Non-teaching |£30 million to £60 million|2 Non-teaching |Under £30 million |3 FHSA Chairmen |FHSA population Mid-1985 |Over 750,000 |1 |250,000-750,000 |2 |Under 250,000 |3
The current rates of payment of subsistence and travelling allowances are set out in appendix 4 of "Financial Matters", January 1993, a copy of which is held in the library. The rates are currently under review. Chairmen and non-executive members are not entitled to receive any additional benefits.
Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the definition of medical treatment used for the purpose of deciding whether a patient should have a bed paid for fully by the NHS in a private nursing home.
Mr. Bowis : It is the responsibility of the national health service to provide long-term care for those who require it for reasons of ill health. It is for local health care purchasers to determine the level and type of services provided, including full-time care funded by the NHS in hospital or in an appropriate facility in the independent sector. In doing so, they will need to take account of the range of local circumstances, needs, resources and clinical practice.
(2) if she will publish the 1992-93 audit report in respect of the Doncaster health care trust.
Mr. Sackville : We have received no statutory audit reports on Doncaster healthcare national health service trust or on Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Montagu Hospital NHS trust for 1992-93. However, auditors produce an annual management letter for each audit client which is not published. It is for the auditor to decide whether any matter requires a public report.
Dr. Mawhinney : Community pharmacists are paid a professional fee of £1.35 per prescription for the first 1,700 prescriptions they dispense each month and a fee of 94.5p per prescription for the remainder. They can also receive additional fees, for example if an item is dispensed urgently or extemporaneously.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions she or her Ministers have had with the Department of Employment regarding the circumstances in which an employer may seek to have employees screened for HIV and the need to ensure informed consent and counselling for any such test.
Mr. Sackville : The Department of Employment has set out its policy regarding screening employees for HIV infection in its booklet "AIDS and the Workplace--A Guide for Employers", copies of which are available in the Library. The policy is a long-standing one which reflects interdepartmental discussion.
Sir Gerard Vaughan : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what medical audits have been carried out of the quality of treatment being received by (a) patients of fund holding general practitioners practices and (b) patients of non-fundholding general practitioner practices ; and what plans she has to commission further such studies.
Dr. Mawhinney : Our view is that audit priorities are best determined locally by individual general practitioner practices, in the light of local requirements. To assist this, we have made funds available through family health services authorities to enable all practices-- including fundholding practices--to participate in medical audit.
Ms Estelle Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations she has received regarding amyl nitrate ; and if she will now invite the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to initiate research on the effects of amyl nitrate on children and young people.
representations regarding amyl nitrate since the beginning of this year.
We are aware of concerns about its use among children and young people and we are keeping the matter under review, including the need for any research.