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Mr. Soames: As the then Minister of State for the Armed Forces said in his reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Milton Keynes North-East (Mr. Butler) on 7 July, Official Report, column 262 , we intend to retain the Gibraltar Squadron, which consists of two patrol craft and two search and rescue rigid inflatable boats.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will arrange for an emergency inspection of Lawley's mink farm, Brooksbank avenue, Scolemoor, Bradford by the State Veterinary Service.
Mrs. Browning: My predecessor announced last year his intention of making regulations to allow the direct food use of two mineral hydrocarbon waxes to continue for certain purposes, but otherwise to prohibit the use of mineral hydrocarbon oils and waxes. Uses as a glazing agent will be prohibited when we implement the EC directives on additives. However we have reviewed other uses in the light of further work which has shown that one of the two waxes cannot be adequately specified and that both are unsuitable for the intended purposes. We have also taken account of action by the European Commission to evaluate these products, which is likely in due course to lead to action at Community level.
In general the food industry has ended the use of mineral hydrocarbons except where there are not satisfactory alternatives, and consumer intakes are low. I welcome this response the advice that we have had from our independent advisory committees about the risk from mineral hydrocarbons in food. We have therefore decided not to take a separate initiative to amend the United Kingdom regulations as previously proposed, but to await Community action.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of the implications for rural water contamination and sewage pollution in Wales of the proposals made in the review of rural water and sewage issued by the Department of the Environment in July.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: Consultations are presently taking place in Wales on the implications of the proposals contained in the review of rural water supply and sewerage. The comments received will assist my right hon. Friend in assessing the impact of those proposals in Wales and the conclusions will be announced in due course.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: It is a special priority of the farm and conservation grant scheme to help farmers install and improve waste handling facilities so as to meet their obligations to minimise pollution risks. Under this scheme, grant is available at the rate of 25 per cent. of eligible expenditure. Since the beginning of the scheme in 1989, over £18.5 million has been paid to farmers in Wales toward such facilities.
(2) what proposals he has to fund the continuation and improvement of drug prevention projects in Wales; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood: Drug prevention work is undertaken by a number of agencies form both the statutory and voluntary sectors, which receive funds from various sources. The Government have reaffirmed their commitment to tackling the problems of drug misuse. I have in the past made funds available in Wales for a range of initiatives, and will continue to do so in future.
I announced on 19 October that I am establishing a Welsh drug and alcohol unit based within the Welsh Office. This will be a small team composed mainly of professionally qualified staff with experience of treatment and prevention work. The task will be to raise the standards of services throughout Wales by investigating the effectiveness of treatments and initiatives, and publishing the results; by developing programmes of prevention for use at national and local level; and by helping train those involved in prevention and treatment.
I have already made available substantial funds for drug and alcohol prevention work and I will consider the need for any change in the level of support in the light of advice from the unit.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: The Welsh Office is processing 2,197 applications received from Welsh producers in respect of categories 3 to 7 of the 1993 sheep national reserve. We have also received 784 applications to the 1994 national reserve.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consultations he has had with the chairman of Cardiff Bay Opera House Trust and the Cardiff Bay development corporation in relation to the choice of architectural design of the proposed Cardiff Bay opera house; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood: I have spoken to the chairman of Cardiff Bay development corporation about the consultation arrangements for the design of the proposed opera house. I have been to see the designs. The choice of design is a matter in the first instance for the Cardiff Bay Opera House Trust, which is now consulting widely before making a final decision.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many companies were compensated and grant-aided by Cardiff Bay development corporation for the purposes of relocation from Cardiff bay for each six months or other convenient time period since 1 April 1988; what is the current estimate for the numbers of firms to be relocated with grant aid from 1 October 1994 to 1 April 1995; and if he will make a statement.
|Number of |Number of |companies relocated |companies relocated|with compensation Year |with compensation |and grant aid |Total ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1988-89 |8 |- |8 1989-90 |9 |4 |13 1990-91 |28 |5 |33 1991-92 |48 |11 |59 1992-93 |19 |5 |24 1993-94 |8 |4 |12 1994-95 |7 |2 |9 (to date) Oct-Mar 95 |4 |1 |5 (expected) |------- |------- |------- Total |131 |32 |163
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consultations he has had with the chairman of the Cardiff Bay development corporation in relation to the corporation's moratorium on grant aid to companies required to relocate from the Cardiff bay area due to redevelopment.
Mr. Redwood: None. Cardiff Bay development corporation has not declared a moratorium on any part of its grant scheme. Grant applications are currently being appraised against the same criteria as in previous years.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consultations he has had with the chairman of the South Glamorgan health authority in relation to the appointment of a chief executive for the University Hospital of Wales Cardiff Royal Group NHS hospital trust designate.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what provisions he has made for the funding and supply of hip protector pads for the infirm of frail elderly in (a) NHS long-stay geriatric wards or hospitals, (b) private nursing or residential homes for the elderly and (c) elderly persons assisted by domiciliary services via care in the community; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood: District health authorities have a discretion to provide hip protector pads to infirm or elderly people living in their own homes, residential care homes, and NHS patients in nursing homes.
Where a district health authority agrees to supply this service, it should be equally available to all. District health authorities have the power to charge nursing homes for the supply of such aids to non-NHS patients.
Whether or not such a service is provided is a matter for a district health authority to determine in the light of its local priorities.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many elderly people claimed tax relief for private health insurance premiums; and what was the aggregate value of this tax relief in each year since tax relief for such premiums were introduced.
Tax relief on private medical insurance contracts for individuals aged 60 or over |Approximate |Approximate |Numbers of |Number of |individuals |Cost of tax Year |contracts |covered |relief (£ million) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1990-91 |350,000 |500,000 |40 1991-92 |350,000 |500,000 |60 1992-93 |350,000 |500,000 |70 1993-94 |375,000 |550,000 |80 1994-95<1> |75,000 |550,000 |95 <1> Provisional
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: The delay in issuing some licences has been caused by two reasons. The first is an increase in the number of traders making errors on their applications, following the change in the law which resulted in more flexible licensing periods and start dates. The second is a fault in a computer program in the new system at the licensing centre which caused rejection of some batches of applications. A revised program is currently under going test.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: Forecasting levels of smuggling is extremely difficult. A broad estimate derived from amounts seized has been made of £35 million on revenue loss from all smuggling of excise goods. Work is continuing to improve estimation in this sector.
The Council reviewed progress on the employment aspects of the Commission's White Paper, on growth, competitiveness and employment and is likely to agree formal conclusions on this subject at the next meeting on
Column 3757 November in preparation for the European Council at Essen in December.
The Council asked the Commission for a study of the fiscal policies of member states and their effects on saving rates, for consideration by the spring of 1995.
The Council reached political agreement on the recommendations to 10 member states with a view to bringing excessive deficits to an end within a given period.
The Council welcomed the revised Spanish convergence programme and encouraged the Spanish authorities to reduce the deficit faster. The Council briefly discussed the Italian reserve on the own-resources decision.
No formal notes were taken at the council meeting.
Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much has been spent by his Department in each of the last three years (a) to produce public information in alternative formats for visually impaired people and (b) to publicise the availability of accessible information among visually impaired people.
|Year |£ ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- a) |1992-93 |137,352.63 |1993-94 |200,053.92 |1994-95 |606,766.43 (to date) b) Although no precise figure can be identified for publicising accessible information, the needs of visually impaired people are taken into account when publicity strategies are developed and would therefore be included in our overall publicity plans. Intermediaries and advisers are alerted to the availability of suitable formats.
Although no precise figure can be identified for publicising accessible information, the needs of visually impaired people are taken into account when publicity strategies are developed and would therefore be included in our overall publicity plans. Intermediaries and advisers are alerted to the availability of suitable formats.
Column 376(c) on tape; and if he will show what efforts have been made by his Department to inform visually impaired people about the availability of publications in alternative formats to normal print.
Mr. Hague: The tables show publications and documents available in alternative formats. A catalogue of all publicity material available from the Benefits Agency and a guide to social security for blind and partially sighted people have been placed in the Library. The consultation document on Government measures to tackle discrimination against disabled people, published on 15 July, made clear the Government's intention to seek to increase the range of information provided in these formats, and the Department will be taking an active role in progressing this work.
The Department automatically considers all alternative formats when preparing new or updated publicity material and now has its own Braillemaster, which is used to provide quantities of documents in Braille whenever possible. The Child Support Agency also has access to this facility.
Every DSS agency follows RNIB guidelines when producing forms and leaflets with regard to type and size. The War Pensions Agency has facilities for producing letters and leaflets in Braille but has not been requested to do so as yet. It is also considering the possibility of "talking" newspapers.
The Benefits Agency has a contract with the RNIB, which produces materials in Braille on its behalf. The RNIB advertises the availability of alternative formats of publications in its magazines. The Benefits Agency also runs the benefit enquiry line, which gives free advice to people with disabilities and to their carers. The service extends to a textphone line and a forms completion service. In April 1994, the Benefits Agency ran a nationally co-ordinated programme of local information activities aimed at raising the awareness of the services and information it provides for people with disabilities, including the visually impaired. The initiative also sought to increase the awareness among staff of the needs of their customers in this sector. The period of activities ran for two weeks and included radio phone-ins, local exhibitions and a mailing to intermediaries.
An information pack, DIS 10 "Information and services for people with disabilities" was produced, part of which focused on services and material for blind and partially sighted people. The pack was used by the district information officers at local exhibitions, events and benefit surgeries. It was also mailed to appropriate disability groups and intermediaries. The Benefits Agency and DSS headquarters took part in the NAIDEX exhibition on the
interdepartmental Government stand. The exhibition runs over three days and attracts approximately 10,000 people.
The Benefits Agency used a series of panels to present information about the services it provides and materials it has produced in alternative formats. A range of leaflets were available with some in large print and audio cassette format.
The Benefits Agency has planned to produce another 12 leaflets in Braille, production will be completed by April 1995.
Column 377The Child Support Agency has recently published an ASCII computer disk version of "for parents who live apart". This allows the visually impaired who have access to a computer to read in the disk and display it in a format which suits their visual impairment. The Child Support Agency has had contact with the RNIB regarding the advertising the ASCII computer disk and the other materials in its magazine. The agency's own publicity literature is constantly being updated to alert people to this material for the visually impaired.
Documents available in Braille Consultation Document |Disability on the Agenda (Complete) Consultation Document |Disability on the Agenda (Summary) DSS 722 |Taking the Plunge Enable |Response Material SEC 1(B) |Summary of Pensions White Paper CSA |For People who Live Apart DIS 10 |Information and Services for People with | Disabilities CTB 1 |Help with Council Tax DS 702 |Attendance Allowance DS 703 |Disability Working Allowance DS 704 |Disability Living Allowance FB 2 |Which Benefit FB 4 |Cash Help while you're Working FB 6 |Retiring? FB 8 |Babies and Benefits FB 9 |Unemployed FB 19 |Social Security Benefits-A Guide for Blind | and Partially Sighted People FB 23 |Young People's Guide to Social Security FB 26 |Voluntary and Part-time Workers FB 27 |Bringing up children? FB 28 |Sick or Disabled FB 30 |Self-employed? FB 31 |Caring for Someone? FB 32 |Benefits after Retirement IS 1 |Income Support IS 26 |Income Support if you are 16 or 17 NI 6 |Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit NI 16A |Invalidity Benefit NI 196 |Social Security Benefit Rates NI 246 |How to Appeal NI 252 |Severe Disablement Allowance RR 1 |Housing Benefit-Help with Your Rent CSA 2020 |For Parents who Live Apart SFL 2 |How the Social Fund can Help You Z 3 |Your Social Security Benefits and Compensation
Q Documents Available in Large Print |Social Security |Benefits - |A Guide for Blind |and Partially FB 19 |Sighted People --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- DLA |Claim Pack DWA |Claim Pack CSA 2049 |For Parents who Live Apart
Documents available as Audio Cassettes DS 712 |New benefits for Disabled People, including People | with Learning Difficulties. (Various Languages) DS 706 |New Benefits for Disabled People. | (Various Languages) DS 721 |Taking the Plunge DSS |Working with Benefits (Various | Languages) Community Care Charges |Caring for People (Various Languages) CSA |For Parents who Live Apart New Start Newspaper Issue 1 |Working for People with Disabilities New Start Newspaper Issue 2 |Working for People with Disabilities New Start Newspaper Issue 3 |Working for People with Disabilities New Start Newspaper Issue 4 |Working for People with Disabilities New Start Newspaper Issue 5 |Working for People with Disabilities |Jobhunters Guide to In-Work Benefits Incapacity Benefit |Summary Leaflet Consultation Document |Disability on the Agenda (Complete and Summary) Enable |Response Material PP 1 |Thinking about a Personal Pension Sec 1 (A) |Summary of Pensions White Paper Incapacity Benefit |Medical Assessment Incapacity Benefit |Consultation on the Medical Assessment DWA |What's it About-Guide to DWA DS 722 |Taking the Plunge FB 19 |Social Security Benefits-A Guide for Blind | and Partially Sighted People TA 1 |Out of Work TA 2 |Benefits for Working People CSA 2029 |For Parents who Live Apart
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps have been taken to amend the proposed mental health impairment score in respect of the medical test to determine eligibility for incapacity benefit to assess eligibility for those persons suffering from mental health disorders.
Mr. Hague: The proposed new medical test for incapacity benefit contains special procedures for assessing the effects of mental health problems. Those procedures were drawn up in the light of the responses to a consultation document published in December 1993 and the work of a group of experts drawn from a panel appointed to help with the design of the medical test. Detailed information on the proposed test and the development work leading up to it is given in the report published in September 1994 entitled "The medical assessment for Incapacity Benefit", copies of which have been placed in the Library.
Column 379National Insurance Contributions
Mrs. Jane Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many women aged 60 years are currently not eligible for state pension as a result of an insufficient national insurance contributions record.
Mr. Arbuthnot: It is estimated that approximately 110,000 women aged 60 at 5 April 1993 in the United Kingdom would not be eligible for a basic state pension on their own national insurance contributions, either because they had not paid sufficient national insurance contributions, or because they had opted to pay at the married woman's reduced rate. This figure includes women who would be eligible for a basic pension derived wholly or partially from their spouse's or former spouse's national insurance contributions. Source: 1 per cent. sample of national insurance records and Government Actuary's Department population projections.
Mr. Hague: We have no plans to do so. We have received more than 1,000 responses to the consultation document "Disability--On the Agenda". It is open to organisations and individuals to publish their own replies should they so wish.
Mrs. Jane Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list for the past five years the percentage of gross domestic product spent by the United Kingdom on the payment of state pensions.
Year |£ million GDP |£ million Pension|Percentage ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1988-89 |484,138 |19,237 |3.9 1989-90 |525,809 |20,697 |3.9 1990-91 |556,759 |22,699 |4.1 1991-92 |580,751 |25,543 |4.4 1992-93 |604,897 |26,706 |4.4
Mr. McLeish: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give the income support live E, A and P and total cases for each of the district and branch offices in Great Britain for the first quarter of 1991 and the first quarter of 1994 and the percentage change over that period.
Column 380executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Henry McLeish, dated 20 October 1994:
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question requesting various statistical data concerning Income Support cases in Great Britain for the first quarters of 1991 and 1994.
The information is not available in the exact format requested. This is because statistics are not readily available for each of the Agency's Branch Offices and to obtain them for the whole of Great Britain would incur disproportionate cost. However, I have provided the data requested broken down for the 159 Benefits Agency Districts. You should note that some Districts have had boundary changes which may have had some impact upon the percentage changes.
I have enclosed the information and a copy has been placed in the Library.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in respect of how many of the sites identified by the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq as being part of Iraq's nuclear weapons programme her Majesty's Government have been informed by the United Nations special envoy that technology and material originating in the United Kingdom has been found; and what is his policy on publishing such information.
Mr. David Davis: International Atomic Energy Agency and UNSCOM inspectors have investigated a wide range of sites in Iraq known to have been part of, or connected to, the nuclear programme where British equipment has been found. It is not our practice to comment on information given to us in confidence by UNSCOM and the IAEA, nor to publish the names of companies which delivered goods to Iraq. Any evidence of wrong-doing will be investigated and, if appropriate, will be a matter for the courts.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's assessment of the degree to which Iraq has complied with each of United Nations Security Council resolutions 687, 712 and 715.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: At its last review of the sanctions on Iraq on 14 September, the Security Council decided that Iraq had not complied with resolutions 687 and 715. The next is scheduled for mid-November.
Regrettably, Iraq has not implemented resolutions 706 and 712 under which Iraq would be permitted to sell $1.6 billion of oil, the proceeds of the sale to be used for humanitarian aid and compensating victims of the Gulf war.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he raised the matter of financial commissions paid in connection with military equipment sales from the United Kingdom to
Column 381Saudi Arabia during his recent meeting with the Saudi Arabian leadership.
Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what are the names of the persons, together with details of their past and current responsibilities, who have been appointed to the reflections group preparing for the 1996 revision of the treaty of European Union as agreed by the European Council meeting in Corfu.
Mr. David Davis: The only member state whose representative has so far been appointed is Portugal. The Portuguese representative will be Professor Andre Gonclaves Pereira. He is a former Portuguese Foreign Minister. He now holds a chair in law at Lisbon university.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what matters in regard to internal democratisation in Kuwait were discussed with the Al-Sabah leadership during his visit to Kuwait on 12 October.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: During his recent visit to Kuwait, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary's discussions focused on Iraq and the actions of Saddam Hussein. We fully support measures to broaden participation in the process of government. We welcome the Kuwaiti decision taken in June this year to extend the franchise to the sons of naturalised Kuwaitis born after their father's naturalisation.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he discussed with Saudi defence officials or Ministers the Al-Yamamah defence agreement during his recent visit to Kuwait.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: During his recent visits to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary's discussion with the Saudi Government focused on Iraq and the actions of Saddam Hussein. Al- Yamamah is a major success story for British industry.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will next be holding discussions with other European Union ministers to discuss the implication for Community policy of the decision of the Gulf Co-operation Council to stop boycotting companies that trade with Israel.
Mr. David Davis: There are no plans at present for a discussion on this subject with other European Union Ministers. We welcome this move by the Gulf Co-operation Council. The European Union and the United Kingdom would like to see the boycott on trade with Israel lifted completely.