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Country |Weekly pension --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- United Kingdom |The basic weekly pension is £72.90. In addition most |widows receive an age addition, and a special |payment of £47.84 a week from the Ministry of |Defence. A war widow aged 70 would receive a tax |free weekly war widows pension totalling £136.84. Australia |The weekly pension is £79.27. In addition a domestic |allowance of £5.66 is payable. The total weekly |pension is £84.93. Canada |The maximum weekly pension is £138.43 (a lower |pension would be received if the late husband's |disability was assessed as less than 48 per cent.) Japan |The basic weekly pension is £118.97. France |The basic weekly pension is £67.99. Germany |The weekly pension is £43.45. In addition, |allowances may be received in respect of loss of |earnings (maximum 1992 rate was £82.29), standard |of living (maximum 1992 rate was £46.58 week) and |for attendance (maximum 1992 rate was £19.26 |week). The first two allowances are means-tested.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the old age pensioners' organisations from which he has recently received representations regarding the present levels of pensions.
representations on the level of pensions from the Craigmillar Heart to Heart Self Support Group ; the Bedford Community Retirement Group ; the Mid -Devon Tenants' Group Cullompton Area Committee ; the Pensioners' Rights Campaign and United Pensioners.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will review the relationship between pensions and the cost of living ; and what assessment he has made of the operation of the linkage between the two in 1992-93 and 1993-94.
Mr. Hague : I have no plans for a review of this sort. Retirement pension has maintained its value against increases in the cost of living throughout this Government's term of office. This April, the retirement pension uprating included an additional element, above the increase in the retail prices index, for extra help with the cost of VAT on fuel.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will bring forward proposals for further compensation for pensioners for the increases in water charges and value added tax.
Mr. Hague : The exceptional package of measures to help pensioners and others with VAT on domestic fuel will include further help from April 1995. Variations in the cost of other items in the household budget will be reflected in the indices on which the annual uprating of benefits is based.
Mrs. Jane Kennedy : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claims for disabled living allowance were referred to disability appeal tribunals in the year to 31 March ; and how many have been allowed.
Mr. Scott : In the period specified, 32,427 disability living allowance claims were submitted to disability appeal tribunals. Of the 19,260 appeals decided during the year, 7,240 were allowed. Source : Disability Living Allowance management information system--100 per cent. count of cases.
Mrs. Jane Kennedy : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate he has made of the cost of expanding the Benefits Agency medical service following the introduction of the incapacity for work benefit.
Column 423Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Bill will add some £40 millon per year to the Department's administrative costs for 1995-96 and 1996-97 and £10 million per year from 1997-98.
Mrs. Jane Kennedy : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the members of the committee of 80 experts involved in drawing up the scoring system to be used in the assessment of claims for incapacity for work benefit.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many civil servants in his Department applied in each year since 1986 through the business employment system to take up an outside appointment (a) as an independent consultant, (b) with a firm of consultants and (c) in other employment ; how many were referred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments ; and how many were granted.
1986 : (a) 0 ; (b) 0 ; (c) 18.
Six applications were referred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments and all were granted.
1987 : (a) 0 ; (b) 0 ; (c) 15.
11 applications were referred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments and all were granted.
1988 : (a) 1 ; (b) 0 ; (c) 21.
18 applications were referred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments and all were granted.
1989 : (a) 2 ; (b) 0 ; (c) 19.
15 applications were referred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments and all were granted.
1990 : (a) 1 ; (b) 1 ; (c) 0.
Two applications were referred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments and both were granted.
1991 : (a) 2 ; (b) 0 ; (c) 28.
25 applications were referred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments and all were granted.
1992 : (a) 2 ; (b) 0 ; (c) 20.
15 applications were referred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments and all were granted.
1993 : (a) 0 ; (b) 0 ; (c) 34.
22 applications were referred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments and all were granted.
1994 : (a) 0 ; (b) 0 ; (c) 2.
Two applications were referred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments and both have been granted.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what limitations the Greek Government have placed on the involvement of their land, sea and air forces in NATO activity in Bosnia.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : There are no NATO land operations in Bosnia. Greek ships participate in NATO operations in the Adriatic, except those in Serbian/Montenegran territorial waters. The Greeks have withdrawn permission for the use of Prevlaka air base for AWACS operations over the former Yugoslavia, and have withdrawn their crews from these operations.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department has received regarding the arrest of Serif Avsar by Turkish security forces on 22 April in Diyarbakir ; what representations he has made to the Turkish Government ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his answer of 15 April, Official Report, column 342, if he will supply the information about ESF funding and its inter-relationship with the funding of youth training and training for work schemes in the form that is available.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what agreement has been reached between his Department and the European Commission with regard to an objective 4 plan for the United Kingdom in the period 1994 to 1999.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Following the EC Commission's announcement on 19 January 1994 that the Great Britain allocation under European social fund objectives 3 and 4 for 1994 to 1999 would be 3,377 million ecu, the Government decided that the entire allocation should be used for the foreseeable future on objective 3 to help the unemployed, as it had been agreed by Council and Commission that member states would be free to decide on the allocation of funding between the two objectives. The decision was announced on 25 January 1994 in a response to my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, North (Mr. Heald), Official Report, column 223. There is, therefore, no need for a plan for objective 4 for the United Kingdom.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are the obstacles in the negotiations with the European Commission in the finalisation of the United Kingdom's objective 3 budget and operation for 1994 to 1999 ; and when he expects those difficulties to be overcome.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The United Kingdom objective 3 plan was submitted in early November 1993. The European Commission opened formal negotiations on 27 April 1994. It is too early to say what obstacles will emerge, or how soon the negotiations can be concluded, although the United Kingdom has consistently pressed for speedy progress and will continue to do so.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from M. E. G. Fogden to Mr. John Spellar, dated 3 May 1994 :
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about Jobclub payment by results contracts.
The payment by results approach to Jobclub contracting has shown that it represents good value for money. It encourages our contractors to think more about the results to be achieved and to improve their effectiveness at helping members to find jobs. Payment by results contracts are divided into two parts. There is a fixed payment element which usually represents 75 of the total contract price. The bonus element, which represents the remaining 25 of the contract price, is divided between the number of job placings agreed in the contract. Payment of both the fixed and bonus element of the contract is made monthly in arrears.
It is explained to contractors that a bonus payment will only be made where a member has left to take up work and we have satisfactory written confirmation of their placing. Payments can be made in cases where a member leaves the Jobclub to take up temporary work. However, we will not pay a bonus for the same person more than twice during their membership. Part of our role in monitoring the programme is to check a percentage of all claims for bonus payments to ensure there is no abuse of the system.
At the end of 1993/94 there were 782 payment by results Jobclub contracts in operation. This represents 54 of the total number of Jobclubs. Payment by results contracts are one way of making our programme contracting as efficient and effective as possible. We plan to introduce further measures into our programmes with the aim of ensuring the unemployed people who join them receive the best possible help.
I hope this is helpful.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list every urban policy initiative that has been instituted or operated since 1979, the date that each scheme began operating, where appropriate the date that the scheme ceased operating and the funds available on an annual basis under each scheme.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Employment Department assistance has since 1979 been targeted on unemployed people--especially long-term unemployed people--wherever they are. However, in 1989 inner-city compacts were established--an initiative which is now part of the single regeneration budget. Details are shown in the following table :
Inner city compacts-England |Expenditure|Number |£ million |of |compacts ------------------------------------------------------ Outturn 1989-90 |3.0 |25 1990-91 |5.5 |38 1991-92 |5.5 |48 1992-93<1> |4.85 |50 Estimated outturn 1993-94<1> |4.7 |50 <1> Figures exclude Compacts which were set up from 1992-93 outside inner cities.
In addition, since the creation of the Employment Service as an executive agency in 1990 its annual performance agreement has included a target for a percentage of placings to be of unemployed inner city residents. To help meet this target the ES allocates additional staff resources--inner-city officers.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a table indicating for each local authority in Wales (a) the number of registered disabled people whom it employs, (b) the percentage this represents of its work force and (c) how many disabled people each authority should have employed to meet the quota established under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Acts of 1944 and 1958.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : Information about the quota position of individual employers is treated as confidential and is not disclosed without the agreement of the employers concerned. Local authorities in Wales are among a wide range of public sector employers who have agreed to specific information about their employment of registered disabled people being published in the Employment Gazette. The information which is published in accordance with this agreement is the number of registered disabled people employed and the percentage that this represents of the employer's total work force. The latest information, which relates to 1 June 1992, was published in the April 1993 Employment Gazette, a copy of which is in the Library of the House. Information relating to 1 June 1993 will be published as soon as possible.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what considerations underlay the siting of environmental air pollution monitors in the pedestrianised area of Frederick street, Cardiff, to register kerb- side emission of diesel and lead from vehicles ; what estimate he has made as to the suitability of this site ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : The monitoring station at Frederick street, Cardiff is part of the Government's enhanced urban air quality monitoring network. This was established to provide information on levels of urban air pollution to which large numbers of people are exposed and, hence, does not necessarily involve kerbside monitoring.
Column 427A copy of the siting criteria for the network, and which the Cardiff station meets, has been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales to what extent Wales has been self-sufficient in blood supplies in each of the past five years ; and how any surplus has been used or any deficit been met, indicating in his answer the blood groups concerned.
National Blood Transfusion Service (Wales) Usable blood collected Units of blood by group ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- |O POS |A POS |B POS |AB POS|O NEG |A NEG |B NEG |AB NEG|Total 1993-94 Issued to Welsh hospitals |34,547|31,091|5,844 |1,161 |8,920 |7,468 |1,665 |465 |91,161 Exported to other RTCs<1> |2,254 |729 |136 |0 |525 |52 |0 |1 |3,697 Time expired<2> |4 |483 |1,621 |1,370 |15 |179 |34 |243 |3,949 1992-93 Issued to Welsh hospitals |34,114|30,701|5,771 |1,146 |8,808 |7,374 |1,644 |459 |90,017 Exported to other RTCs<1> |2,064 |668 |125 |0 |481 |48 |0 |1 |3,387 Time expired<2> |2 |284 |952 |804 |9 |105 |20 |143 |2,319 1991-92 Issued to Welsh hospitals |32,360|29,919|6,381 |1,519 |7,807 |6,757 |1,583 |542 |86,868 Exported to other RTCs<1> |1,253 |470 |109 |0 |642 |95 |0 |0 |2,569 Time expired<2> |2,445 |1,616 |890 |958 |377 |435 |36 |153 |6,910 1990-91 Issued to Welsh hospitals |31,621|28,208|6,193 |2,088 |7,296 |6,510 |1,458 |562 |83,936 Exported to other RTCs<1> |2,811 |2,241 |0 |0 |306 |770 |0 |0 |6,128 Time expired<2> |6 |0 |2,804 |1,514 |24 |18 |18 |139 |4,523 1989-90 Issued to Welsh hospitals |31,109|27,752|6,093 |2,054 |7,178 |6,405 |1,434 |553 |82,578 Exported to other RTCs<1> |485 |306 |20 |0 |146 |52 |20 |0 |1,029 Time expired<2> |1 |0 |465 |251 |4 |3 |3 |23 |750 Blood Imports to Welsh hospitals 1993-94 |105 |0 |0 |0 |138 |0 |10 |0 |253 1992-93 |172 |0 |0 |0 |226 |0 |16 |0 |414 1991-92 |150 |0 |0 |0 |85 |0 |0 |0 |235 1990-91 |47 |0 |0 |0 |28 |0 |0 |0 |75 1989-90 |690 |550 |0 |0 |75 |189 |0 |0 |1,504 <1> Regional Transfusion Centres. <2> Time expired blood is destroyed.
Training weeks provided by TECs in Wales 1990-91 TEC |Youth |Employment|Total |training |training ------------------------------------------------------------- Gwent |22,315 |13,898 |36,213 Mid Glamorgan |132,735 |67,795 |200,530 North East Wales |60,439 |22,981 |83,420 Targed |17,561 |9,211 |26,772 Powys |n/a |n/a |n/a South Glamorgan |11,446 |13,787 |25,233 West Wales |144,973 |128,644 |273,617 Source: TEC Invoices. Note.-Powys TEC became operational on 1 April 1991.
Mr. Redwood : I propose to appoint a maximum of eight agents on a geographical basis to manage the maintenance of the trunk road and motorway network. I would like transition committees to agree by 31 December 1994 which new unitary authority in each geographical area should be appointed. The geographical areas should be similar to but not necessarily the same as existing highway authority boundaries and should relate to boundaries of the new unitary authorities. I would consider proposals for fewer than eight agencies were they to be presented to me.
In any area where it is not possible for agreement to be reached, I will decide which authority should be appointed, taking account of any representations I have received.
On reorganisation each unitary authority would become responsible for the delivery of socially necessary public
Column 429transport services and local transport planning. These duties include the need to consult neighbouring authorities about policy and service delivery.
I believe there is considerable scope for co-operation between authorities and that benefits are greatest when things are done on a voluntary basis. I do not see a need for the extra bureaucracy which statutory passenger transport authorities would create.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many civil servants in his Department applied in each year since 1986, through the business appointments system to take up an outside appointment (a) as an independent consultant, (b) with a firm of consultants and (c) in other employment ; how many were referred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments ; and how many were granted.
Number of civil servants applying to take up outside appointments Year |Independent|Consultancy |consultants|firms ------------------------------------------------ 1990 |- |2 1991 |- |1 1992 |- |1 1993 |- |1 (to April) |- |1 None of these were referred to the Advisory Committee.
Information covering the years 1986 to 1989 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether his office took legal advice before writing to local authorities on 14 April regarding the composition of transitional committees ; if he will now withdraw the letter ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood : The letter of 14 April set out my Department's understanding of the effect of clause 46 of the Local Government (Wales) Bill as it would apply to the composition of transition committees. It was issued in response to requests for clarification from authorities and, in accordance with the usual practice, was based on legal advice. The Standing Committee considering the Local Government (Wales) Bill will have the opportunity shortly to debate all issues relating to transition committees.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will now make it his policy to reinstate to levels prior to the recent cuts the hill livestock compensatory allowances in the less-favoured areas in Wales ; what account he has taken of the effect on farmers' income of the recent adverse weather conditions ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood [holding answer 29 April 1994] : The rates of hill livestock compensatory allowances are reviewed annually during the course of the autumn review of economic conditions in the hills and uplands. Any effects on farm incomes caused by the weather will be taken into account in the review later this year.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy to issue immediately the final instalment of the annual ewe premium to those sheep producers in Wales who have been affected by exceptional losses of lambs due to extreme weather during the 1994 lambing season ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received from the Association of Community Health Councils with respect to the availability of services to the patients of general practitioner fundholders, including the availability of hospital consultants for out-patient appointments at health centres and general practitioners' surgeries, what consultations he has had in relation to the clinical evaluation of such services ; what proposals he has to extend the availability of any such services as are deemed clinically worthwhile to the patients of non-fundholding general practitioners ; and if he will make a statement.
It is for health authorities and GP fundholders to evaluate the costs and benefits of the services they secure for patients, including the initiatives that some of them have taken to improve access by arranging for a number of consultant clinics to be held in local health centres and GP surgeries.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his oral answer to the hon. Member for Torfaen (Mr. Murphy) of 25 April, Official Report, column 4, what proportion of the 400 jobs corresponding to the £10 million new investment at TRW Steering Systems will be (a) new and (b) safeguarded.
Mr. Redwood [holding answer 29 April 1994] : The TRW steering systems project will safeguard 414 jobs in Resolven Neath. The investment itself will be a boost for local employers who supply and service the company.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his oral answer to the hon. Member for Castle Point (Dr. Spink) of 25 April, Official Report, column 4, (1) what proportion of the 14,000 jobs generated by inward investment arise from firms that are new to Wales ; and how many are (a) new or (b) safeguarded ; (2) if he will break down the totals for inward investment from (a) the rest of the United Kingdom, (b) northern America, (c) the far east and (d) rest of Europe as to (i) new and (ii) safeguarded jobs.