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Column 136The 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.
Mrs. Browning : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the Government's plans for combating discrimination against disabled people.
Mr. Scott : The Government have already made considerable progress in this area through a policy of education and persuasion, backed up where necessary by targeted legislation. We propose to consult widely on further measures in five key areas.
Proposals to prevent unjustifiable discrimination against disabled people in the field of employment, as we recognise that the quota scheme may not be the most effective instrument for improving the work position of disabled people.
A right of access to goods or services where there is no physical barrier or safety risk.
Codes of practice on the provision of financial services, and extended roles for the banking and building society ombudsmen to cover cases of unjustified discrimination against disabled people. Extending the application of the Building Regulations as they affect the needs of disabled people.
A new independent body to advise government on issues relating to discrimination against disabled people. This body would work closely with existing statutory bodies representing the interests of disabled people and would report regularly on progress towards reducing and removing discrimination as well as making recommendations for further improvement.
Following consultation, we will consider assisting in the drafting of any necessary workable and practicable legislation.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will exempt all payments made in criminal injuries compensation from capital thresholds for the purposes of benefit claims ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Burt : Special rules for personal injury compensation payments mean that the capital value is ignored entirely for benefit purposes provided that the funds are placed on trust for the benefit of the injured person. There are no plans to change these rules.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what information he has available on the number of claims where benefit was (a) disallowed or (b) reduced as a result of capital acquired from criminal injuries compensation.
Mr. Burt : The information requested is not available.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate for (a) England and (b) Wales, (c) Scotland, (d) Northern Ireland and (e) the United Kingdom for each available year of (i) the numbers of absent parents who have been assessed by the Child Support Agency and (ii) the proportion of those who have made payments.
Mr. Burt : The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for Ros Hepplewhite, the Chief Executive. She will write to the hon. Member.
Column 137Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. Cynog Dafis, dated 10 March 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the number of people assessed by the Child Support Agency, and the number of people paying child maintenance.
Column 138To the end of March 1994, 205,500 absent parents had been assessed by the Agency. I regret that a breakdown between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is not available.
With regard to how many absent parents are paying, the Child Support Computer System records client's details on an individual case by case basis, and it is not currently configured to produce information on the total number of absent parents paying maintenance.
I am sorry that I cannot be more helpful.