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Mr. Norris : The Government's policies towards the commercial ports have created the conditions which enable ports to take full advantage of commercial opportunities and improve their service to the consumer and user. It is for each port to decide what improvement in its port facilities is necessary.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 17 June 1994] : The travel information manual is published monthly in the Netherlands by a consortium of airlines. I am arranging for a recent edition to be placed in the Library.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many fires have occurred on (a) British Rail and (b) Network SouthEast in each month since 1991 and each year since April 1984 ; and how many of these occurred (i) on rolling stock, (ii) at stations, (iii) on tracks in tunnels, (iv) on open tracks, (v) on escalators, (vi) on lifts and (vii) in other locations.
Mr. Freeman : The information is not available in the format requested. The Health and Safety Executive's railway inspectorate maintains records of railway accidents and casualties. Its records do not differentiate between railway regions.
Railway fire statistics other than fires on trains have only been collated since 1989 and a monthly breakdown is not possible. Details of railway fires are given in chapter 5 of the "Annual Report on Railway Safety in Great Britain" for each year. Copies are available in the House Library.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give (a) the total number of passenger fatalities, (b) the total number of serious injuries to passengers and (c) the total number of minor injuries to passengers on (i) British Rail and (ii) Network SouthEast for each month since 1991 and each year since 1984, giving for each of the categories the number which occurred in (1) train accidents, (2) accidents through the movement of railway vehicles, (3) accidents on railway premises and (4) trespassers and suicide.
Mr. Freeman : The information is not available in the format requested. The Health and Safety Executive's railway inspectorate maintains records of railway accidents and casualties. Its records do not readily differentiate between railway operators, or regions. Statistics are provided on a yearly cycle and it is not possible to give a breakdown by month.
The table gives the available information.
Passenger Accidents 1984-1992-93 Train accidents Movement Non movement accidents accidents Year |Fatals |Serious |Minor |Fatals |Serious |Minor |Fatals |Serious |Minor |injuries|injuries |injuries|injuries |injuries|injuries ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1984 |18 |28 |358 |21 |52 |2,348 |0 |35 |3,438 1985 |0 |31 |230 |31 |42 |2,341 |2 |51 |3,467 1986 |8 |44 |298 |23 |70 |2,273 |1 |55 |3,522 1987 |3 |13 |297 |36 |80 |2,609 |29 |84 |3,566 1988 |34 |75 |540 |34 |102 |2,619 |1 |132 |3,903 1989 |6 |39 |272 |25 |97 |2,601 |2 |132 |4,297 1990 |0 |13 |144 |37 |107 |2,551 |2 |104 |3,543 1991-92<1> |2 |18 |289 |53 |73 |2,181 |3 |101 |3,318 1992-93 |0 |3 |63 |26 |79 |2,335 |2 |156 |3,727 <1> From 1991 statistics have been collated and produced in financial years (April-March).
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many notifiable train accidents have occurred on (a) British Rail and (b) Network SouthEast in each month since 1991 and in each year since 1984 ; and how many of these were the result of (i) collisions with buffer stops, (ii) derailments of passenger trains, (iii) derailments of non-passenger trains, (iv) running into obstructions, (v) fires on trains and (vi) other accidents.
Mr. Freeman : The information is not available in the format requested. The Health and Safety Executive's railway inspectorate maintains records of railway accidents and casualties. Its records do not differentiate between railway regions. Statistics are provided on a yearly cycle and it is not possible to give a breakdown by month. Train accident statistics have been broken down into separate railway operators only since 1988. The table therefore lists all train operator accidents until 1988 and British Rail-only accidents from then on.
Train accidents 1984-1992-93 |A |B |C |D |E |F |G Year |Total number of |Buffer stop |Passenger train |Non passenger |Running into |Fires on trains |Other accidents |train accidents<1>|collisions |derailment |train derailment |obstructions |including other |collisions --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1984 |1,359 |55 |33 |197 |471 |168 |435 1985 |1,240 |60 |30 |199 |440 |191 |320 1986 |1,171 |55 |34 |158 |451 |174 |299 1987 |1,164 |53 |20 |172 |390 |191 |338 1988 |1,258 |58 |16 |187 |457 |221 |319 1989 |1,368 |62 |23 |154 |481 |271 |377 1990 |1,230 |41 |23 |154 |458 |228 |326 1991-92<2> |918 |28 |13 |119 |328 |213 |217 1992-93 |1,092 |23 |11 |164 |520 |187 |187 <1>The total number of train accidents is made up of Columns B to G. <2>From 1991 statistics have been collated and produced in financial years (April-March).
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give the total number of (a) staff and contractor fatalities, (b) serious injuries to staff and contractors and (c) minor injuries to staff and contractors on (i) British Rail and (ii) Network SouthEast for each month since 1991 and each year since 1984, giving for each of the categories the number which occurred in (1) train accidents, (2) accidents through the movement of railway vehicles (3) accidents on railway premises and (4) trespassers and suicide.
Mr. Roger Freeman : The information is not available in the format requested. The Health and Safety Executive's railway inspectorate maintains records of railway accidents and casualties. Its records do not differentiate between railway operators' and contractors' staff, nor do they readily differentiate between railway operators. Statistics are provided on a yearly cycle and it is not possible to give a breakdown by month.
The table gives all the available information.
Staff and contractors accidents 1984-1992-93 Train accidents Movement Non movement accidents accidents Year |Fatals |Serious |Minor |Fatals |Serious |Minor |Fatals |Serious |Minor |injuries|injuries |injuries|injuries |injuries|injuries ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1984 |6 |8 |60 |14 |15 |58 |5 |104 |2,426 1985 |0 |9 |79 |16 |37 |59 |9 |120 |2,413 1986 |5 |23 |114 |8 |25 |55 |3 |127 |2,564 1987 |1 |5 |60 |11 |34 |50 |4 |199 |2,562 1988 |2 |6 |62 |11 |36 |49 |3 |231 |2,911 1989 |6 |18 |53 |8 |28 |35 |4 |231 |2,770 1990 |1 |6 |67 |19 |48 |68 |2 |252 |2,916 1991-1992<1> |2 |6 |59 |9 |39 |65 |6 |233 |3,102 1992-1993 |1 |5 |69 |5 |34 |106 |5 |245 |3,173 <1>Since 1991 statistics have been collated and produced in financial years (April-March).
Trespassers and suicides<1> Year |Killed |Major injuries|Minor injuries --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1984 |339 |79 |49 1985 |318 |90 |38 1986 |325 |93 |27 1987 |317 |82 |19 1988 |334 |85 |44 1989 |293 |72 |20 1990 |285 |96 |27 1991-92 |242 |69 |23 1992-93 |244 |72 |17 <1> Does not distinguish between employee/contractor or member of the public.
Mr. David Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what specific steps he will take to ensure that in the event of the privatisation of the National Air Traffic Services--NATS--any non-air traffic control regulatory powers remaining with the Civil Aviation Authority do not present a conflict of interest between the CAA's need to reduce costs to itself through contracted-in air traffic services from NATS, and its continuing regulatory responsibilities regarding equipment, procedures and airspace design.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 20 June 1994] : The detailed regulatory arrangements for NATS, in the event of privatisation, are currently under consideration. The privatised body would be subject to both safety and economic regulation and we will endeavour to ensure that there is no conflict of interest between the two. The prime purpose of air traffic control is to ensure the safe and expeditious movement of aircraft- -this will not change in the event of privatisation.
Mr. David Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he will take to separate air traffic control service provision and regulation by giving consideration to the desirability of transferring the Civil Aviation Authority's air traffic services regulatory function, at present within the remit of the safety regulation group's air traffic services standards department, to the Department of Transport or the Health and Safety Executive or to another independent organisation.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 20 June 1994] : Our proposal to privatise the national air traffic services is intended, inter alia, to separate air traffic control service provision from the Civil Aviation Authority's regulatory functions. We have no plans to transfer the safety regulation of air traffic services from the Civil Aviation Authority to any other body.
Mr. David Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration has been given to the maximum number of shares to be held by any single organisation or airline in a privatised National Air Traffic Services.
Column 138Traffic Services of any international experience in the privatisation of air traffic control ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 20 June 1994] : As far as I am aware, there are no fully privatised air traffic control systems in the usual sense of the word. But over the past few years, greater commercialisation has been the trend throughout the world, and ATC provision has been removed from the machinery of Government and established in some form of corporate body, for example in Portugal, Germany and New Zealand. The decision to go to consultation on the proposal to privatise the National Air Traffic Services was taken in the light of this knowledge, and the proposal itself is a logical extension of the trend towards commercialisation.
Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Greville Janner, dated 20 June 1994 :
You recently put down a Parliamentary Question asking the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost of delays on the M1 during the past 12 months. As this falls within the Highways Agency's area of responsibility, I have been asked to reply to your question.
We do not have a precise figure for the cost of delays on the M1. There has been no pressing need to obtain one since maintenance works are an essential and continuing task and driven by the commitment to keep the network in a reasonable state of repair. However, a rough estimate of delay costs for the past 12 months is £70M, which represents just over 10 per cent. of the figure for the motorway network as a whole.
In recent years, delay cost figures have increasingly reflected the growing use of incentive (lane rental) contracts which are completed approximately 30 per cent. faster than conventional ones and therefore have a significant effect on reducing disruption. The even greater use of lane rental now (it is currently used for every scheme unless there are technical reasons why it cannot be) is expected to have yet further influence on minimising delays. We know that since the introduction of lane rental in 1984, the saving to road users has been in excess of £120M.
While we do not routinely measure delays at roadworks, we do use a system called QUADRO' (QUeues And Delays at ROad works) which estimates the cost of delays and accidents at individual scheme sites. This is used extensively to optimise traffic management arrangements at roadworks.
Considerable effort is made to keep delays on the network to a minimum. Apart from lane rental, some of the measures that have been taken include combining essential maintenance work with motorway widening schemes, together with the greater use of night-time and weekend working, mobile lane closures, narrow lanes and tidal flow systems. And we are constantly reviewing the scope for adding further initiatives to the list.
Ms Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many income support and unemployment benefit claimants have (a) successfully and (b) unsuccessfully claimed income support under the hardship rules for each region, for Great Britain as a whole and for each
Column 139quarter since April 1990, showing those whose claim was in doubt due to their (i) not actively seeking work, (ii) refusing suitable employment and (iii) availability for work.
Mr. Burt : The administration of income support 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 Michael Bichard to Ms Clare Short, dated 20 June 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking for details of payments made by way of Income Support under the hardship rules.
I have attached information which relates to the period from June 1993. Information prior to this date is already available in the Library (Official Report Vol. 196 Col. 634 : Vol. 199 Col. 81 : Vol. 208 Cols. 239- 240 and Vol. 229 Cols. 1017-1018).
The number of customers who have successfully or unsuccessfully applied for a hardship payment because they have refused suitable employment are included in the number of customers whose claim is in doubt because of their availability for employment. I regret it is not possible to break this figure down.
The information provided has been obtained from the Benefits Agency Management Information Statistics. The figures are based on the Benefits Agency's Territorial structure, which has been in force since 1991.
This information will, in future, be placed on a quarterly basis in the Library. I hope you find this reply helpful.
Territory |June |Sept. |Dec. |1993 |1993 |1993 |1994 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Actively seeking work-hardship applications Scotland and Northern |A |21 |52 |10 |113 |R |84 |18 |16 |30 Wales and Central |A |47 |69 |86 |97 |R |37 |78 |96 |149 Southern |A |78 |122 |55 |62 |R |40 |155 |47 |79 ------- National totals |A |146 |243 |151 |272 |R |161 |155 |159 |258
Territory |June |Sept. |Dec. |March |1993 |1993 |1993 |1994 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Availability for work-hardship applications Scotland and Northern |A |86 |193 |76 |97 |R |92 |82 |82 |32 Wales and Central |A |93 |124 |136 |197 |R |73 |79 |95 |113 Southern |A |440 |485 |533 |340 |R |600 |711 |667 |602 ------- National totals |A |619 |802 |745 |643 |R |765 |872 |844 |747 A=Awards. R=Refusal.
Column 140Letter from Michael Bichard to Ms Joan Ruddock, dated 20 June 1994 :
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about what plans there are to introduce play facilities in Lewisham and Brixton Offices.
The Benefits Agency is committed to improving the facilities for customers who visit our offices ; public areas of offices are being upgraded as funds allow. Managers have the freedom to decide how best to improve facilities for their customers within the available resources.
In the last three years four of the five locations in South Circular District, including Lewisham and Brixton, have been refurbished to provide better facilities for customers. The improvements have taken account of customers' preferences by providing increased privacy, more comfortable seating, carpets, improved facilities for the disabled, a mother and baby room and a television.
A project team has been set up to look at further ways to make improvements including, where space permits, providing designated play areas. There are a number of issues to consider but management hope that within the next twelve to eighteen months they will be able to provide play facilities.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what checks are made to ensure that claimants, who are signing on as unemployed, do not overpay their (a) crisis loans or (b) social fund loans.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Ms Joan Ruddock, dated 20 June 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about what checks are made to ensure that unemployed customers do not overpay their loans from the Social Fund (SF).
I should explain that there are two categories of checks which are made to avoid unemployed customers overpaying their loans ; these are automated and clerical.
The automated checks are made via the Social Fund Computer System (SFCS), which replaced microcomputer equipment nearing the end of its potential life and is now fully operational. There are a range of in-built features in SFCS to prevent the over recovery of loans. At every stage of the recovery process case controls ensure that the correct recovery procedure is adhered to. When a date is entered for the commencement of deductions, a date for the cessation of those deductions is automatically set. If this is not done, daily reminders are generated.
In addition to these automated checks there are also locally prescribed clerical checks to keep the system up to date and prevent incorrect levels of recovery. The recovery procedure confirms that the system is operating efficiently and compares the records held on the benefit sections with those on the system. Any discrepancy would be rectified as a result of this procedure.
If, in spite of these procedures an overpayment is made, a refund will be made or, where there is another loan to be repaid, the amount overpaid will be offset against this loan.
I am aware that in some Districts there have been problems where unemployed customers have had deductions made by the Employment Services (ES) and, despite the Benefits Agency being notified by the ES that deductions have ceased, they have continued resulting in an overpayment. The chances of this happening in future will be greatly reduced by a major change to the system, planned for April 1995, which is to automate the interface between SFCS and the Income Support Computer System.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Column 141which the social fund budget is allocated to each district ; whether such procedure takes into account the demographic constitution of the area ; how such procedure affects the allocation ; and how a significant number of refugees affects the budget allocation for an area.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Robert Wareing, dated 20 June 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking for information concerning the procedures by which the Social Fund budget is allocated to individual Benefits Agency Districts.
There are three main factors which are taken into account in deciding annual allocations to Districts. These are :
the previous year's budget for the particular District : the value of awards made by individual Districts in the previous year, plus an estimated value for any application refused on priority grounds ; and
the District's share of the national income Support caseload, weighted by client group.
The combination of these three factors help to ensure that budgets reflect the individual circumstances of each District. Ministers decided that for 1994-95 all District budgets for grants and loans should be increased by 2 and this increase added to the underlying baseline budgets set previously by reference to the factors mentioned above.
District Managers are asked to plan their budgets for the year ahead, and are encouraged to consider the possibility of unforeseen expenditure, such as an increase in applications from particular groups of customers. Aside from these local contingency arrangements, there are also national procedures to help Districts facing excessive budgetary pressures which could not have been anticipated by Managers' earlier planning.
Since the Fund was introduced in 1988, these national contingency procedures have been used to provide additional help to Districts on a number of occasions.
The most recent example of this was extra funding made available to the North Wales Coast District to help victims of flooding. Additional allocations have also been made to assist with a local increase in applications caused by, for example, an influx of refugees from other countries to individual Districts. Such allocations are based upon information provided by Districts. I hope you find this reply helpful.
Ms Lynne : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what provision exists so that applicants for the disability living allowance who have had their application rejected are informed of their right to appeal ;
(2) what steps are taken to ensure the appropriate competence of adjudication officers who assess claimants for the disability living allowance.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Ms Liz Lynne, dated 20 June 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your Parliamentary Questions on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) asking about (i) information given to customers on the right to appeal, and (ii) the steps taken to ensure the appropriate level of competence of Adjudication Officers.
I should first of all explain that when notification of the decision of an Adjudication Officer is sent out to a customer, an
Column 142information sheet accompanies it. Amongst other information, reference to a right of review is made, in the event of disallowance of an initial claim to DLA. Similarly, following an unsuccesful review of a contested decision on a claim customers are advised of their entitlement to an appeal. I have enclosed for your attention copies of the pertinent narratives detailing the information given to customers.
Adjudication officers are independent of the Department and make decisions based on evidence and the law. Monitoring is carried out by the Central Adjudication Service (CAS) on behalf of the Chief Adjudication Officer. Accuracy figures are routinely collected and published and Adjudication Officers are given ongoing support and training to ensure that decision making is informed and consistent. In addition to the monitoring performed by CAS the Disability Living Allowance Unit (DLAU) has an Adjudication Checking and Advice Team (ACAT) which also acts as a monitor. Customer complaints, difficulties and suggestions together with staff suggestions, the results of monitoring and other quality initiatives to lift service are fed into training as a matter of course.
The DLAU are in the process of reviewing the role of ACAT. The team is to be increased in size and its remit extended to address issues raised both internally and externally.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the current take-up rate of income support by those potentially eligible to claim in the 55 to 65-year age group for (a) men and (b) women.
Mr. Burt : The information is not available in the precise form requested. Estimates of the take-up of income support are available for pensioners and non-pensioner family types and can be found in "Income Related Benefits--Estimates of Take-up in 1990 and 1991" published earlier this year, a copy of which is in the Library.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give the projected average income for single pensioners (a) male and (b) female between 1994 and 2000 ; and what estimate he has made of average income for full-time employment in the same time period.
Mr. Burt : There has been no major change since 1979 to the long- standing basic condition that all those claiming benefits for unemployment must be immediately available for work. Various concessions to the availability rules and changes in the groups who are exempt from satisfying this condition have been made. These, excluding minor and textual changes, are as follows :
Column 143Changes to the availability for work rules in unemployment benefit legislation 1982
A person undertaking duties in an emergency deemed to be available, (SI 1982-96).
A person attending workcamps deemed to be available for a maximum of 14 days, (SI 1982-96).
A person engaged in providing a service deemed to be available if ready to accept employment or attend an interview at not less than 24 hours notice, (SI 1982-96).
Availability may be deemed in the period between a doubt arising on availability and a decision by the adjudication officer in cases where Unemployment Benefit is already in payment, (SI 1988/689). 1989
Onus of proof placed on the claimant to show he has reasonable prospects of obtaining employment given his stated restrictions on his availability, (SI 1989/1324).
A person providing a service as a "volunteer" deemed to be available if ready to accept employment or attend an interview at not less than 48 hours notice, (SI 1993/1754).
Changes to exemptions from the requirement to be available for employment as a condition of entitlement to Supplementary Benefit/Income Support
Start of regulated scheme, (previously Supplementary Benefits Commission had wide powers and issued written guidance to local officers), (SI 1980/1586).
Men over 60 but below pension age who would otherwise be entitled to the long-term rate of normal requirements exempted, (SI 1981/1526.
People who worked part-time by reason of some disease or disablement were exempted, (SI 1982/907).
A person remanded in custody or committed in custody for trial or to be sentenced exempted, (SI 1982/907).
The exemption for those in specified circumstances in relevant education (for example where the claimant had the care of a dependent child or where there was no parent and nobody acting in the place of a parent) was extended to 19 year olds in non advanced education, (SI 1982/907).
All men over 60 exempted, (SI 1983/463).
Those caring for a member of the assessment unit who was temporarily sick with no alternative means of care exempted, (SI 1983/1000).
An exemption extended to those in relevant education living away from parents or a guardian who were unable to support him financially, (SI 1987/358).
Introduction of Income Support, (SI 1987/1967).
Removal of discretion to exempt those whose circumstances were "analogous" to those prescribed as being exempt, (SI 1987/1967). A member of a couple looking after children while the other partner is temporarily abroad exempted, (SI 1988/1228).
Students within the definition of "deaf" for educational grant purposes exempt, (SI 1990/1657).
Exemption extended to people accompanying children abroad for medical treatment, (SI 1990/547).
A carer became exempt in the eight weeks after ceasing to meet the exemption criteria (e.g. after the death of the person for whom they were caring), (SI 1991/1559).
Exemption extended to those living in residential care and nursing homes engaged in some employment, (SI 1991/1559).