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Mr. Heseltine : I have been asked to reply.

Departmental officials have been participating in work to examine the cost implications of Nirex's proposed repository. The results of this examination will be considered in the radioactive waste management review being undertaken by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Income Support

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the number of (a) men and (b) women living in the London borough of Wandsworth who were refused income support during 1993 because they were regarded as not being actively seeking work.

Mr. Burt : The information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Dr. Wright : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security from what date the Benefits Agency adopted the policy of making special payments if a claim for benefit is delayed six months beyond the management target for dealing with such claims ; and how much has been paid out from that date.

Mr. Burt : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend, the Member for Fulham (Mr. Carrington) on 4 May 1993, at column 10. Details of payments made for the year ending 31 March 1994 have not yet been collated.

Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what restrictions are placed on unemployed adults studying for less than 21 hours per week while in receipt of income support.

Mr. Burt : People attending a part-time course of not more than 21 hours a week may, under certain circumstances, continue to receive income support but only if they are continuing to make a sustained effort each week to find a job and are prepared to leave the course immediately a suitable vacancy becomes available.


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Government Information

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he plans to publish his departmental guidance on the implementation of the code of practice on access to Government information, as promised at paragraph 3(ii) of the code issued on 4 April ; and what has been the cause of the delay in publishing the departmental guidance.

Mr. Hague : There are no plans to supplement the code of practice or the central guidance on interpretation with additional Departmental guidance on implementation.

This Department's existing arrangements for the provision of information already work well and it is our intention that the code of practice will reinforce and build on them. References to the code will therefore be incorporated in any relevant procedural guidance.

Eurostat Poverty Survey

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment he has made of the recent Eurostat survey in respect of poverty and social security payments in Europe.

Mr. Burt : The report is a compilation of general statistics on life in the European Community and does not address the issue of poverty in relation to social security payments. However, the report shows that the United Kingdom's expenditure on social protection as a percentage of gross domestic product was above the European Community average in 1992.

Public Consultation

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security in what circumstances it is his Department's practice, when issuing a public consultation document, to inform those consulted that their responses will be made public unless they explicitly ask for them to be kept confidential, and if he will arrange for his Department to do so in all cases in future.

Mr. Hague : It is already normal practice in this Department for public consultation documents to include the advice that comments received may be made publicly available unless confidentiality is specifically requested.

The results of consultation exercises may be made available in summary form, or responses may be published in full, depending on the nature of the issue and the strength and diversity of opinion.

Civil Servants (Political Campaigns)

Mr. Nigel Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what limitations are placed on political campaigning by individuals employed by his Department ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hague : Political activities of civil servants in this Department are determined by chapter 4.4 of the personnel management section of the civil service management code, a copy of which is in the Library.

For the majority of staff below grade 7 level there are no limitations unless they are employed in certain areas of work. Staff at grade 7 level and above, administrative trainees and higher executive officers are barred from national political activities and must seek permission to take part in local political activities.


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Where political activity involves campaigning about issues relating to this Department, staff must have regard to general rules on conduct set out in chapter 4.1 of the personnel management section of the civil service management code.

Mr. Nigel Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what limitations are placed on individuals employed by his Department regarding campaigning to change the workings of the Child Support Act 1991 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hague : Civil servants are bound by the rules set out in chapter 4.1 and annex A of the personnel management section of the civil service management code, a copy of which is in the Library. Campaigning by civil servants employed in this Department to change the workings of the Child Support Act 1991 through political or public activity would not be regarded as acceptable under the rules.


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Chronic Bronchitis

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many individuals have applied for benefit in respect of chronic bronchitis or emphysema ; how many of those claims have been successful in the period since the inception of the scheme ; how many of these claims were refused on the basis of (a) insufficient lung function loss, (b) insufficient lengths of service and (c) non-diagnosis of class 1 pneumoconiosis ; and if he will give these figures according to standard British Coal regions.

Mr. Scott : The information is not available in the form requested. The table gives the information by Benefits Agency area directorate as at 22 May 1994 :


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Area                             |Claims received   |Assessed at 14 per|Disallowed on     |Disallowed on                        

                                                    |disabled<1>       |grounds<2>                                              

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

South                                                                                                                           

Anglia                           |23                |3                 |4                 |4                                    

Chilterns                        |22                |0                 |4                 |1                                    

South East                       |441               |29                |21                |251                                  

West Country                     |144               |4                 |7                 |39                                   

                                                                                                                                

Wales and Central England                                                                                                       

East Midlands                    |5,175             |406               |88                |3,447                                

Greater Manchester               |308               |27                |11                |194                                  

Lancashire and Cumbria           |2,129             |106               |99                |1,254                                

Merseyside                       |463               |32                |21                |301                                  

Midlands South West              |619               |46                |24                |404                                  

Wales                            |8,378             |1,103             |514               |5,020                                

West Mercia                      |3,478             |294               |147               |1,958                                

                                                                                                                                

Scotland and North                                                                                                              

East Scotland                    |2,331             |80                |70                |1,708                                

Glasgow                          |228               |6                 |9                 |80                                   

North and West Yorkshire         |2,456             |287               |78                |1,563                                

North, Central and West Scotland |1,835             |47                |74                |1,410                                

South Yorkshire                  |6,168             |610               |127               |3,900                                

Tyne Tees                        |6,807             |490               |126               |5,237                                

                                 |-------           |-------           |-------           |-------                              

Total                            |41,005            |3,570             |1,424             |26,771                               

<1> Claims assessed at 14 per cent. or more result in an award of benefit.                                                      

<2> Claims are disallowed where the claimant has not worked underground in a coal mine for at least 20 years.                   

<3> Claims disallowed on medical grounds include those where there is insufficient lung function loss; those where category 1   

pneumoconiosis has not been diagnosed, and those where chronic bronchitis or emphysema has not been diagnosed.                  

Figures are based on a 100 per cent. count and are subject to amendment. Not all the claims received would have been decided by 

22 May.                                                                                                                         

Independent Living Fund

Mr. Alan Howarth : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many payments were made from the independent living (1993) fund in 1993 -94 ; and what conclusions he has drawn as to the efficiency and effectiveness of the operation of the fund in that period.

Mr. Scott : I am informed by the director of the independent living (1993) fund that, as at 31 March 1994, there were 224 severely disabled clients receiving payments from the fund. In a further 164 cases, an offer of help had been made by the fund but had not yet been accepted by the client.

I am pleased with the progress that the fund has made in establishing partnership arrangement with local authorities and in devising effective joint care packages for


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individual clients. The trustees, director and staff have worked with dedication and with sensitivy to the needs of their clients during this period.

Civil Servants (Outside Appointments)

Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many job offers were reported by staff in his Department under the requirements of the rules on the acceptance of outside appointments in each of the last 10 years by (a) staff of grade 3 and above, (b) staff below grade 3, (c) staff in sections concerned with procurement or contract work, under section 15 of the rules of 1 February 1993 and (d) staff in other sections, under section 14 ; and how many of these reports were followed by an application to join the company concerned.


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Mr. Hague : Prior to 1985 civil servants were not required to report any job offers from an outside employer. Since then, this Department has required staff below grade 3, whether in procurement or contract work or not, to report any such approaches to a senior manager at least two grades above. Staff grade 3 or above are required to report any such offers to either the head of department or the Minister. Records of these reports are not kept.

Records relate to staff who have made an application to take up an outside business appointment. They do not distinguish between types of outside appointment or specify whether the application was followed up or not.

Some 78 applications were received for the period 1984-94 as shown in the table.


Year          |Grade 3/above|Below grade 3|Total                      

                                          |applications               

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

<1>1984       |1            |8            |9                          

<1>1985       |8            |15           |23                         

<1>1986       |-            |15           |15                         

<1>1987       |1            |7            |8                          

1988          |-            |10           |10                         

1989          |1            |6            |7                          

1990          |-            |3            |3                          

1991          |-            |2            |2                          

1992          |-            |-            |0                          

1993          |-            |-            |0                          

1994          |-            |1            |1                          

<1> figures relate to the Department of Health and Social Security.   

Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Alan Howarth : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to maintain in being his panel of experts, or a subgroup of it, in order to monitor the effectiveness and appropriateness of the new medical test of incapacity for work and to advise on such modifications as may prove necessary.

Mr. Scott : The assessment panel was formed to help us construct incapacity scales to be used in the new medical test. We are still considering the procedures for monitoring and evaluating both the new benefit and the medical test of incapacity.

Mr. Alan Howarth : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make it his policy to apply the Social Security (Sickness and Invalidity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance) Miscellaneous Amendment Regulations 1994 so as not to give discretion to refuse benefits on the grounds that a person is capable of work if he or she has undertaken work as a volunteer for fewer than 16 hours in the week in which it was performed ; and if he will alter the regulations to make this clear.

Mr. Scott : The purpose of the regulations is to allow people who have been accepted as incapable of work for the purposes of sickness benefit, invalidity benefit or severe disablement allowance to do unpaid voluntary work of fewer than 16 hours in a week without losing benefit. We believe that they achieve this. They are not intended to override the usual medical control procedures which apply to all claims. If an adjudication officer decides, for other reasons, that a person is not incapable of work, it is clearly right that benefit can be withdrawn, notwithstanding the fact that a person is doing voluntary work. It is not our intention that people should lose benefit solely because they do such voluntary work, and this has been made clear in the guidance issued by the Benefits Agency.


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Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill

Mr. Alan Howarth : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security which amendments to the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill made in Standing Committee were taken into account in the compliance cost assessment ; which amendments were not taken into account ; and what were the reasons for the Government's approach in this regard.

Mr. Scott : Amendments which could be readily quantified were taken into account in preparing the compliance cost assessment. Others, for example on phase-in times, which were not specific enough to give a clear indication of timing or impact, made it impossible to identify costs over an unspecified period and therefore could not be taken into account.

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he has received in support of his Department's handling of the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Scott : We have received a wide range of representations about the handling and implications of the Civil Right's (Disabled Persons) Bill.

Mr. Alan Howarth : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what effects there are on his assessment of the costs of compliance with the requirements of the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill if he takes into account clause 10 as amended in Committee and assumes compliance over a period of (a) 10, (b) 15, (c) 20 and (d) 25 years ;

(2) what estimate he makes of the additional costs of adaptation and/or replacement of (i) aircraft, (ii) trains, (iii) buses, (iv) coaches and (v) other means of carriage used in providing transport services to the public, if compliance with the requirements of the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill is deferred for (a) 10, (b) 15, (c) 20 and (d) 25 years.

Mr. Scott : The costs would depend not only on assumptions made about the rate at which compliance was achieved over the phasing period but also on the particular persons or bodies exempted from immediate compliance. Where it was possible to do so, the compliance cost assessment published on 5 May gave indications of the impact of longer phase-in periods. Further information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Private Investigation Services

Mr. Donohoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 5 May, Official Report, column 617, how much his Department has spent on private investigation services during the last two years ; if he will list those companies which have been employed by his Department during this period ; what safeguards his Department took to ensure that these agencies were members of the Association of British Investigators ; and what guidelines are currently in operation within his Department as regards this matter.

Mr. Hague : This Department spent £116,522 in 1992-93 and £65,261 in the 1993-94 year on the service of legal documents in connection with the collection of


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arrears of national insurance contributions. The private and commercial investigations company used, which is not named for reasons of commercial confidentiality, is a member of the Association of British Investigators. No departmental guidelines are currently in operation with regard to this matter.

Disabled People

Mr. Alan Howarth : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what response the Government have made to the European Commission's Green Paper on social policy which requested views from member states by 31 March on the best method of achieving progress in the integration of disabled people.

Mr. Scott : A copy of the response to the European Commission by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment is in the Library.

Welfare Benefits, Europe

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security which of the British welfare benefits are classed as (a) social security and (b) social assistance benefits for European Economic Area purposes.

Mr. Burt : For EEA purposes, social security benefits are those which are designed to meet the specific contingencies listed in article 4(1) of regulation (EEC) No. 1408/71 on social security for migrant workers. The social security benefits for which this Department has responsibility are listed below. The definition also covers benefits in kind--that is, health care--provided by the national health service.

Child Benefit

Guardian's Allowance

Maternity Benefit

Sickness Benefit

Unemployment Benefit

Family Credit

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

Severe Disablement Allowance

One Parent Benefit

Invalidity Benefit

Retirement Pension

Statutory Sick Pay

Widow's Benefits

Social assistance is not defined in EC legislation but is generally interpreted as covering non-contributory schemes which are often means- tested and based on individual need rather than specific contingencies.

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what proposals he has to make disability living allowance more accessible for those with learning difficulties.

(2) what proposals he has to make access to disability living allowance more equitable for those with a mental illness.

Mr. Scott [pursuant to his reply, 19 May 1994, c. 539] : Owing to a clerical error a phrase was inadvertently omitted. The reply should have been as follows :

"None. Entitlement to disability living allowance is intended to depend on the care and mobility needs arising from a particular


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condition, rather than on the condition itself. Access to DLA is available to all disabled people through the claiming process. The Benefits Agency provide support services to assist people in making a claim."

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Public Consultation

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Attorney-General in what circumstances it is his Department's practice, when issuing a public consultation document, to inform those consulted that their responses will be made public unless they explicitly ask for them to be kept confidential ; and if he will arrange for his Department to do so in all cases in future.

The Attorney-General : Should a public consultation document be issued, usual practice would be followed whereby comments are sought on the understanding that they can be made publicly available unless respondents have requested that their responses be treated as confidential.

Civil Servants (Outside Appointments)

Mr. Milburn : To ask the Attorney-General how many job offers were reported by staff in his Department under the requirements of the rules on the acceptance of outside appointments in each of the last 10 years by (a) staff of grade 3 and above, (b) staff below grade 3, (c) staff in sections concerned with procurement or contract work, under section 15 of the rules of 1 February 1993 and (d) staff in other sections, under section 14 ; and how many of these reports were followed by an application to join the company concerned.

The Attorney-General : Since the Crown Prosecution Service was formed in 1986, there have been two instances of job offers reported by staff under section 14 of the rules. One came from a former member of staff at grade 3--1990--and the other from a member of staff at grade 5--1992. In each instance, the member of staff applied to join the organisation concerned. Since the Serious Fraud Office was formed in 1988, one approach on behalf of an outside employer has been reported under section 14 by a member of staff at grade 6--1993. This did not result in an application to join the organisation concerned. In none of these three instances did section 15 of the rules apply. There have been no reports in the Treasury Solicitor's Department and the legal secretariat to the Law Officers.

Consultants

Mr. Milburn : To ask the Attorney-General how many contracts his Department has had with consultants ; and what has been the total cost in each of the last five years.

The Attorney-General [pursuant to his reply, 23 March 1994, c. 335- 36] : Certain additional costs have been identified by the CrowProsecution Service for 1992-93 and 1993-94. The revised information is set out in the table.


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Department                |1989-90    |1990-91    |1991-92    |1992-93    |1993-94                

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

Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers --           -           -           -                      

Crown Prosecution Service |620K(7)    |477K(7)    |471K(12)   |665K(24)   |<1>549K(33)            

Serious Fraud Office      |270K(3)    |171K(4)    |88K(2)     |112K(9)    |<1>126K(5)             

Treasury Solicitor's Department <2>5K(2Not known   54K(6)      335K(8)     428K(14)               

Note: Figures in parentheses represent the number of contracts that year.                         

<1>Figures not yet complete.                                                                      

<2>Approximate figure.                                                                            

PRIME MINISTER

European Convention on Human Rights

Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Prime Minister when he expects to ratify the 11th protocol to the European convention on human rights.

The Prime Minister : The United Kingdom signed protocol 11 to the European convention on human rights on 11 May 1994, the date on which it was opened for signature. We intend to ratify the protocol in due course.

Student Awards

Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Prime Minister if the Departments of Social Security and of Employment and the Department for Education will jointly address funding of students aged over 19 years on full-time courses following the reduction in availability of discretionary awards.

The Prime Minister : Full-time higher education students at undergraduate level are generally eligible for a mandatory award, regardless of their age. The report of the independent survey of discretionary awards provision, published by the Gulbenkian Foundation on 8 April, estimates an increase of 20 per cent. in the total number of discretionary awards made between the 1990-91 and 1993-94 academic years.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education is currently considering his response to the Gulbenkian report. My right hon. Friends and their Departments regularly consult on matters of mutual concern, including student support.

Government Information

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister when he plans to publish his office's guidance on the implementation of the code of practice on access to Government information, as promised at paragraph 3(ii) of the code issued on 4 April ; and what has been the cause of the delay in publishing his office's guidance.

The Prime Minister : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given today by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Pan Am 103

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what discussions he has had with the Government of Germany about the attitudes of the legal authorities in Scotland and Germany towards those accused of perpetrating the crime against Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie.

The Prime Minister : None. The case is in the hands of the prosecuting authorities.


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Engagements

Sir Peter Tapsell : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 14 June.

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 14 June.

The Prime Minister : This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall be having further meetings later today.

European Union

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister whether continuing membership of the European Union is dependent on member Governments being opposed to all forms of authoritarian rule in their own country ; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : It is a fundamental principle of the European Union, reflected in both the preamble and article F of the treaty on European Union, that its member states have systems of government founded on the principles of democracy.

Correspondence

Mrs. Roche : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 18 May, Official Report, column 470, if his office will seek to obtain a copy of the receipt and letter for the Ritz hotel in Paris referred to in the correspondence between the Prime Minister and Mr. Peter Preston, editor of The Guardian.

The Prime Minister : I have nothing further to add to the reply I gave on 18 May 1994, Official Report, column 470.

Post Office

Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 24 May, Official Report, column 102, what considerations he is taking into account in determining whether a leak inquiry would be justified.

The Prime Minister : It is not the usual practice to give details about such matters.


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