|Previous Section||Home Page|
Before housing costs :
42 per cent. in all pensioners
39 per cent. to pensioner couples ; and
39 per cent. to single pensioners.
Source : The 1990-91 Family Expenditure Survey.
Mr. Burt : The Child Support Agency has had a challenging first year and this is recognised in the report "The Child Support Agency : The First Two Years" which was placed in the Library today. Despite many difficulties, the agency achieved considerable successes in its first year. Over 850,000 cases were taken on and over 200,000 maintenance assessments were made. Nearly 60 per cent. of cases involved absent parents who were not paying maintenance. In 28,000 cases the agency successfully located absent parents for whom the parents with care of the children did not have an address--a success rate of 85 per cent.
Mr. Lilley : The Child Support Agency has today published "The Child Support Agency : The First Two Years". This provides the annual report for the year 1993-94--"Our First Year", and the business plan for the year 1994 -95--"The Year Ahead". The agency's national client satisfaction survey 1993 has also been published today. Copies of both those publications have been placed in the Library. The annual report contains details of the agency 1993-94 performance against the standards of service as set out in the agency's customer charter. In addition, all local caller areas will, as from today, display posters detailing this information. The posters will be updated quarterly. The targets that I have set the Child Support Agency for 1994-95 are as follows :
50 per cent. of people with care of children making eligible applications to the Child Support Agency to have maintenance arranged.
a score of 65 per cent. on an index of client satisfaction with the Agency's service, as determined by an independent national survey. annual benefit savings of £460 million.
to manage the Agency's resources so as to deliver its Business Plan within a total budget of £184 million.
by the end of March 1995, no more than 40 per cent. of outstanding maintenance applications to be over 13 weeks old, no more than 15 per cent. over 26 weeks old, and no more than 1 per cent. over 52 weeks old.
The agency is making a number of operational and procedural changes this year which should significantly improve performance. The new targets, which are higher than the agency's achievements last year, take this expected improvement into account.
Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the total cost of information technology investment in the child support scheme ; and what were the amounts of funding by (a) the Child Support Agency, (b) the Information Technology Services Agency and (c) his Department.
Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what percentage availability has been achieved by the Child Support Agency computer system ; and what penalty has been levied against (a) EDS and (b) ITSA.
Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what (a) additional and (b) re-working payments have been made to the information technology contractors EDS in connection with the Child Support Agency computer system.
Mr. Burt : A development contract is in place with EDS, the terms of which permit EDS to charge for any additional changes requested. Since April 1993, such changes have resulted from policy requirements and amendments to working practices. The charge for additional development work during the period April 1993 to March 1994 was £1.1 million. Contractual arrangements with EDS provide for resolution of faults which are EDS's responsibility within the fixed price for the contract and at no additional charge.
Mr. Gunnell : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security under what circumstances the Child Support Agency opens files for maintenance payments in respect of children who are both living with, and maintained by, both of their parents.
Where the parents live apart and the children spend on average at least two nights a week with each, the agency may arrange for the parent who provides the lesser amount of care to pay maintenance to the other parent.
Mr. Burt : In the month up to 31 May 2,204 written representations were received by the headquarters of the Department and the Child Support Agency from both hon. Members and members of the public covering a wide range of views.
Mr. Scott : The cost of administering the social fund was equivalent to 35 per cent. of the gross expenditure, plus recoveries, in 1992-93, the last year for which figures are available. Each application to the discretionary part of the social fund receives a detailed personal assessment whether or not an award is made and recoveries cost money as well. However, the recycling of social fund loans ensures that more help goes to more people.
20. Mr. O'Hara : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to reform the regulations governing appeals against the decisions of adjudication officers ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hague : We intend in the near future to consolidate the adjudication regulations. The appeals system is under constant review, but we have no plans at present to reform the regulations any further.
21. Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement outlining his response to the Mallinson judgment ; and what action will be undertaken by his Department resulting from the judgment.
Mr. Scott : The judgment in the case of Mallinson v. the Secretary of State for Social Security has extended the scope of attendance allowance and the care component of disability living allowance by allowing a wider range of activities to be considered as
"attention in connection with bodily functions".
Independent adjudication officers are applying the terms of the judgment to the decisions that they make.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security to what date the Government will backdate any changed entitlements to disability living allowance care component and the lower rate of attendance allowance following the Mallinson judgment.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate how many existing disability living allowance claimants will be entitled to (a) the middle rate of the disability living allowance care component and (b) the lower rate of attendance allowance as a result of the Mallinson judgment ; and what plans his Department has to initiate a review of these cases.
Mr. Scott : Reliable information is not available as to the numbers of people who are currently in receipt of disability living allowance or attendance allowance and might gain as a result of the judgment in the House of Lords in the case of Mallinson v. Secretary of State for Social Security. The Department has no current plans to initiate a review of those cases as major administrative disruption could be created in reviewing so many cases and the number of successful awards in the light of the judgment do not indicate that such disruption could be justified.
22. Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment he has made of the level of basic social security payments relative to average income real terms in each member state of the European Union ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hague : Member states have different priorities, structures and methods of funding social security. Those differences, variations in definitions and lack of comparable data make comparisons difficult. We are committed to a social security system which is appropriate to modern needs and protects the most vulnerable while not outstripping the nation's ability to pay.
Mr. Hague : Pensioners and others will continue to be able to choose to collect their pensions and other benefits at the post office. We are well aware of the valuable role played by post offices, particularly in rural areas.
25. Mr. Rathbone : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the difference between the 1994 uprating of benefits for pensioners and sick and disabled people and the rate of inflation.
Mr. Hague : In addition to increases in all major benefits fully in line with inflation, people on income-related benefits received increases based on the Rossi index, which was higher than the retail prices index. Most pensioners and many sick and disabled people will also have received extra help for the effect of VAT on fuel over and above the normal uprating.
Ms Hodge : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the total number and proportion of council tenants receiving housing benefit in (a) the London borough of Barking and Dagenham, (b) the London borough of Redbridge, (c) the Greater London area and (d) Great Britain.
Area |Number of |<1>Housing |Percentage of |council |benefit rent |council |tenancies |rebate |tenancies with |caseload |housing benefit -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- London Borough of Barking and Dagenham |25,624 |14,382 |56 London Borough of Redbridge |8,340 |6,744 |81 Greater London |657,096 |<2>423,173 |64 Great Britain |<3>4,581,171 |<2>2,994,184 |65 <1>Refers to benefit units, which may be a single person or a couple. <2>Includes estimates for non-responding authorities. <3>The total for Great Britain contains estimates for individual English authorities, and estimates of the totals for Wales and Scotland. Data sources: The 28 May 1993 Housing Benefit Management Information System Quarterly caseload count. The 1 April 1993 Department of the Environment and Welsh Office counts of tenancies. The 31 March 1993 Scottish Office count of tenancies.
27. Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give the value of the basic state pension as a percentage of male average earnings in 1979 and at the latest available date for which figures are available.
1. The Abstract of Statistics for Social Security Benefits and Contributions.
2. The Indices of Retail Prices and average earnings.
28. Mr. Gale : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he has received about the percentage of pensioners retiring (a) in 1979 and (b) in the latest year for which figures are available, who had incomes from savings ; and what was the real average level of savings on each of these two dates.
Mr. Hague : The percentage of recently retired pensioner units receiving income from savings has grown from 68 per cent. in 1979 to 78 per cent. in 1990-91. Information about the average level of savings is not available, but it is estimated that the average level of income from savings of recently retired pensioner units has risen from £20.40 in 1979 to £49.90 in 1990-91.
1. Source : 1979 and 1990-91 Family Expenditure Surveys. 2. A pensioner unit is defined as a single person aged at or above state pensionable age (SPA) or a couple where the husband is aged at or above SPA.
3. A recently retired pensioner unit is one where a single person, or the husband of a couple, is aged up to five years above state pension age.
4. The savings income figures are at 1991 prices.
Mr. Hayes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he has received about the current value of the assets held by the average pensioner household ; and what was the comparable position in real terms in 1978-79.
Mr. Hague : In 1990-91, 48 per cent. of pensioners owned their own homes outright, compared to 37 per cent. in 1979 ; the average weekly income for pensioners from savings and investments was £30.30, compared to £11.20 in 1979 ; and the value of accrued rights in occupational pension schemes had substantially increased compared to 1979.
Using income bought to account for income support purposes, it is estimated that 95,000 pensioners in Scotland have income within £10 of income support thresholds.
Income Support Statistics Quarterly Enquiry August 1993. Notes :
1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand for the first part of the answer and to the nearest five thousand for the second part.
2. Pensioners dependant on Income Support are defined as claimants and partners over pensionable age.
3. The second part of the answer has been modelled from the 1989, 1990 and 1991 Family Expenditure data uprated to 1994-95 prices and benefit levels.
4. Income Support thresholds include Income Support housing requirements such as mortgage interest.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what consideration he has given to allowing West Lothian district council and other successor housing authorities to Scottish Homes to operate benefit distribution on behalf of his Department.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list by local authority the consideration given to receipt of (a) war widows' pension and (b) war disability pension when assessing housing benefit and council tax payments.
Mr. Hague : Local authorities have the discretion to disregard up to the full amount of war widows' pensions and war disablement pensions when assessing entitlement to housing benefit and council tax benefit.
The information requested with regard to housing benefit has been compiled from the latest information from local authorities for the financial year 1990-91 and is listed in the table. No details are available for council tax benefit.
Local authorities operating a local scheme in housing benefit to disregard an amount of war disablement or war widow's pension in addition to the £10 statutory disregard.
Annandale and Eskdale
Banff and Buchan
Bearsden and Milngavie