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Mr. Liam O Connor

Expert Adviser on Architecture; joined on 14 March 1994. Still with the Department.

Salaries for special advisers are negotiated individually in relation to their previous earnings, and are confidential. They are, however, normally paid on a special adviser's salary spine of 34 points, ranging from £19,503 to £67,609. Appointments are non-pensionable, and the salary reflects this.

Direct Services Organisation, Liverpool

Mr. Alton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has now received a report from the district auditor into the losses by Liverpool city council's direct services organisation during its handling of the city's cable television contract; what action will be taken against those responsible for these losses; whether he will publish the report and his response; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has not yet received the district auditor's report. We will consider very carefully all the facts informing the district auditor's conclusions before making a decision on statutory action. Publication of the report is not a matter for my right hon. Friend.

Green List Wastes

Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the quantity of green list wastes exported to non-OECD countries since 6 May 1994 and the companies to which this waste was exported in the receiving countries.


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Mr. Atkins: This information cannot be provided except at disproportionate cost.

Waste Exports

Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if the United Kingdom has entered into any bilateral agreements with non-OECD countries for the export of hazardous waste for recovery and recycling; and if the European Commission has begun any negotiations on such bilateral agreements on the United Kingdom's behalf.

Mr. Atkins: The United Kingdom has not entered into any bilateral agreements with non-OECD countries for the export of hazardous waste for recovery and recycling. The European Commission is considering requests from certain non-OECD countries for such agreements.

Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will detail the procedure used since 6 May 1994 to ensure that exports of hazardous waste for recycling or recovery are processed in an environmentally sound manner in the destination country.

Mr. Atkins: The Government's advice on the procedures to be followed is given in part 3 of Department of Environment circular 13/94, copies of which are in the Library. Day-to-day control over trans-frontier shipments of waste is a matter for waste regulation authorities.

Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list (a) the commodity code number, (b) the destination countries, (c) the month of export, (d) the United Kingdom port of exit, (e) the importing companies and (f) the tonnages of hazardous waste exported for recycling or recovery to non-OECD countries since 6 May 1994.

Mr. Atkins: This information is not available centrally.

Standard Spending Assessments

Mr. Raynsford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to publish the standard spending assessment methodology handbook.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: I hope that it will be possible to publish it in January.

Fire Services, Isle of Wight

Mr. Barry Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received relating to the standard spending assessment for fire services for the Isle of Wight; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: We have received a number of representations on the standard spending assessment from the relevant authorities on the Isle of Wight and my hon. Friend, most recently in a meeting with the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Urban Regeneration on 25 October.

We have listened to the arguments that my hon. Friend and others have put forward and we propose a change to the fire formula to recognise that coastal authorities cannot draw on reinforcements as easily as those inland.

Local Authority Services

Mr. Faber: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are his proposals for bringing competition to bear on local authorities' corporate and administrative services.


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Mr. Robert B. Jones: Corporate and administrative work comprises a number of distinct administrative support services as diverse as printing and reprographics, and building facilities management. These are provided to all parts of the authority. Local authorities' increasing recognition of the importance of gaining value for money for these services has meant that much of this work is already being exposed to market pressures. Most local authorities will re-charge in-house users for administrative support services. Those users, particularly where they themselves are exposed to CCT, will be keen to keep overhead costs down and will exert pressure for cost-effective and efficient support services.

Customers for administrative support increasingly have the freedom to go elsewhere if in the in-house service is inadequate. A significant proportion of administrative support services are already provided by external contractors, and some authorities have dispensed entirely with in- house support staff for much of the work. The Government's discussions with local authority representatives have led me and my colleagues in Government to conclude that our objective of increasing


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competition in corporate and administrative support services is already being met though these means, and that extension of CCT to take this work would not bring sufficient additional benefits. We have, therefore, decided not to proceed with proposals to introduce CCT for local authority corporate and administrative services.

Non-domestic Rates

Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will explain the basis of his calculations of the distributable amount of non-domestic rates for 1995 96.

Mr. Curry: The distributable amount of non-domestic rates in England for 1995 96 will be £11,354 million. This is based on a non-domestic rate multiplier of 0.432 and includes an allowance of £505 million for an Exchequer payment to the non-domestic rates pool to compensate for the shortfall which would otherwise occur as a result of regulations to be made under section 58 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 which will phase in the effects of the 1995 revaluation on rate bills.

The calculation for 1995 96, and the prior-year figures on which this is based, are set out in the following table:


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National non-domestic rate-calculation of distributable amounts                                                                                                   

£ millions                                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                  |1995-96                        

                                                                                                  |1993-94        |1994-95        |estimated                      

                                                                                                  |Provisional    |in-year        |in-year                        

                                                  |1990-91 Outturn|1991-92 Outturn|1992-93 Outturn|outturn        |contribution   |contribution                   

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

(1) Income from local lists                                                                                                                                       

Multiplier                                        |0.348          |0.386          |0.402          |0.416          |0.423          |0.423                          

                                                                                                                                                                  

Gross Rate Yield                                  |10,301         |12,033         |12,270         |12,357         |12,491         |12,908                         

(i) Reliefs                                                                                                                                                       

(a) Net Transitional Relief                       |-182           |-142           |-395           |-480           |-548           |-477                           

(b) Empty properties                              |-710           |-964           |-1,162         |-1,174         |-1,214         |-1,303                         

(c) Charitable                                    |-240           |-305           |-318           |-352           |-402           |-435                           

(d) Discretionary                                 |-12            |-16            |-20            |-21            |-19            |-20                            

                                                                                                                                                                  

Net Yield after reliefs                           |9,157          |10,607         |10,374         |10,329         |10,308         |10,673                         

(ii) Collection Costs/Reductions to Contributions                                                                                                                 

(a) Costs of collection                           |-43            |-46            |-67            |-68            |-69            |-75                            

(b) Losses on collection                          |-121           |-203           |-200           |-192           |-170           |-190                           

(c) City of London offset                         |-29            |-30            |-31            |-25            |-7             |-7                             

                                                                                                                                                                  

Total contribution in respect of                                                                                                                                  

year                                              |8,964          |10,329         |10,075         |10,045         |10,063         |10,401                         

(iii) Adjustments                                                                                                                                                 

(a) Repayments/interest/ Late                                                                                                                                     

rating adjustments                                |-              |27             |-254           |-957           |-888           |-349                           

(b) Revisions to contributions at                                                                                                                                 

outturn (1994-95 only)                            |-              |-              |-              |-              |-211           |-                              

                                                                                                                                                                  

Total adjustments                                 |-              |27             |-254           |-957           |-1,100         |-349                           

                                                                                                                                                                  

Net Local Yield                                   |8,964          |10,355         |9,821          |9,088          |8,963          |10,052                         

(2) Income from Central List                                                                                                                                      

Net Central List Yield                            |1,016          |1,100          |1,098          |1,095          |1,118          |1,151                          

                                                                                                                                                                  

(3) Income from Crown                                                                                                                                             

Contributions in Aid                                                                                                                                              

Net Crown Yield                                   |610            |463            |462            |445            |507            |540                            

                                                                                                                                                                  

Total NDR Yield                                   |10,590         |11,918         |11,381         |10,627         |10,588         |11,743                         

                                                                                                                                                                  

(4) Exchequer Contributions                                                                                                                                       

(a) Local List Transition                         |-              |-              |271            |591            |435            |477                            

(b) Central List/ Crown                           |-              |-              |27             |42             |20             |28                             

                                                                                                                                                                  

Total Exchequer contributions                     |-              |-              |298            |633            |455            |505                            

                                                                                                                                                                  

Total NNDR pool payments                                                                                                                                          

(1+2+3+4)                                         |10,590         |11,918         |11,679         |11,261         |11,043                                         

                                                                                                                                                                  

(5) Adjustments                                                                                                                                                   

Surplus brought forward                           |-              |162            |-328           |-954           |-1,253         |-894                           

Combined total                                    |10,590         |12,080         |11,352         |10,306         |9,790          |11,354                         

                                                                                                                                                                  

Distributable amount                              |10,429         |12,048         |12,306         |11,559         |10,685         |11,354                         

Surplus carried forward                           |162            |-328           |-954           |-1,253         |-894           |-                              

Notes:                                                                                                                                                            

(1) Item 1: The gross calculated rate yield represents the average value of non-domestic hereditaments on local rating lists times the multiplier. For 1990-91 to 

1993-94 the yield is the amount recorded in the post-end year (NNDR3) returns. For 1994-95 it is the amount underlying authorities' provisional contributions to  

the non-domestic rating pool including the prescribed amount for Enterprise Zones.                                                                                

(2) Item 1(i)(a): The Transitional decrease adjustment includes the estimated amount of rates that will not be recouped locally due to the revised transitional   

arrangements under the provisions of the Non-Domestic Rating Acts 1992, 1993 and 1994.                                                                            

(3) Item 1(i)(b): The empty property relief adjustments include voids and partially occupied hereditaments. Figures up to 1994-95 are as reported by authorities. 

The 1995-96 figure includes allowances for the increase in the gross rates yield and for economic recovery.                                                       

(4) Item 1(i)(c): Charitable rate relief for 1995-96 includes an allowance for the increase in the gross rates yield.                                             

(5) Item 1(i)(d): Discretionary relief granted to charities non-profit making organisations and for other reasons, for 1995-96 includes an allowance for the      

increase in the gross rates yield.                                                                                                                                

(6) Item 1(ii)(a) and (b): The allowances for the costs and losses incurred by local authorities in collecting non-domestic rates from ratepayers, including the  

latest estimates of additional billing and software costs arising from the Non-Domestic Rating Acts.                                                              

(7) Item 1(ii)(c): City Offset-a preliminary estimate for 1995-96 (£6.5 million) of the amount which the City of London will not be required to pay into the      

non-domestic rating pool on account of the local rate in the City. It is the amount which will be retained by the authority to meet its own expenditure.          

(8) Item 1(iii)(a): Net adjustment in respect of appeals and other amendments to the rating list affecting liability for previous year's rates settled in that    

year.                                                                                                                                                             

(9) Item 1(iii)(b): The revisions to contributions line applies only to estimated outturn revisions to the provisional contributions for 1994-95. For earlier     

years all figures are already based upon the outturn contributions.                                                                                               

(10) Item 2: The rateable value of non-domestic hereditaments on the central rating list times the multiplier, and adjusted for appeals and other changes in      

respect of previous years. The 1995-96 figure is calculated as the estimated Rateable Value of £2,803 million times the multiplier, less the effect of the        

transitional arrangements.                                                                                                                                        

(11) Item 3: The 1995-96 figure for crown properties includes and allowance for the effect of transition.                                                         

(12) Item 4(a) and (b): The contribution from central government to offset the amount of the Secretary of State's estimate of income forgone arising from the     

provisions of the Non-Domestic Rating Acts 1992, 1993 and 1994.                                                                                                   

(13) Where figures have been rounded there may be a small discrepancy between totals and the sum of constituent items.                                            

Support Services

Mr. Sumberg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has for establishing an accounting framework for local authority support service costs, as proposed in the White Paper, "Competing for Quality: Competition in the Provision of Local Authority Services."

Mr. Robert B. Jones: I have today tabled regulations under the Local Government Finance Act 1982 which will require local authorities to publish annually a statement of support service costs. This will illustrate the full costs of the professional support services to which the Government are extending compulsory competitive tendering, and will show the costs of these services to authorities' front-line service departments.

The proposals for SSSCs have been developed in close and productive consultation with the local authority associations, the Audit Commission, the Accounts Commission for Scotland, and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. A consultation draft of the regulations was issued by my Department on 22 February 1994. Comments were received from 194 local authorities and other interested parties.

In the light of those comments, I have decided that the first SSSCs will be required for 1995-96, rather than 1994-95 as proposed in February, to ensure that authorities have good time to prepare. The regulations also incorporate other technical improvements responding to comments and suggestions received.


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Five support services are to become subject to CCT--legal services, construction and property services, IT, finance and personnel services. Parliament has already approved orders under section 2(3) of the Local Government Act 1988 making legal services and construction property services "defined activities", for the purposes of CCT. The SSSC regulations which I have tabled today relate to these services, designating them as "specified activities" to be covered in SSSCs. The Government will, over the next few months, place before Parliament CCT orders for the other three support services. Subject to Parliament's approval of the orders, the Government will table further SSSC regulations bringing them also into the scope of SSSCs.

London boroughs, metropolitan authorities, and joint committees of these authorities are required to produce an SSSC from 1995 96 onwards. Shire authorities, and joint committees of shire authorities, will be required to produce a SSSC from 1996 97, or the second financial year after the coming into being of an authority newly established or reorganised following local government review, should that be later. SSSCs will also be produced by unitary authorities in Wales and by new police authorities established under the Police and Magistrates Courts Act 1994 in due course. SSSCs will be introduced in Scotland under separate legislative procedures.

Local authorities' support services cost more than £4 billion a year. SSSCs will make available authoritative information on these costs, and will be of value to local


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taxpayers, local authority members, and those responsible for the front-line local authority services, who are the customers for support services and bear the costs. The information will enable informed discussion of support service costs, and promote efficiency and value for money.

I have placed a list of responses to the consultation proposals in the Library, through which copies of individual responses may be obtained.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Data Cross-matching

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what savings he expects from the scheme involving the cross-matching of council tax and housing benefits data obtained from London local authorities with data held by his Department; and what estimate he has made of the number of (a) records to be matched, (b) the likely number of mismatches and (c) withdrawn applications for benefits; and if he will place in the Library the background reports on the implementation of the scheme.

Mr. Arbuthnot: A pilot exercise is currently taking place involving 24 London boroughs. The savings from the pilot are expected significantly to outweigh the costs. Around 800,000 records have been received and matched against departmental records. Three per cent. of the records have been classified as containing inconsistent data and have been referred for further consideration prior to any investigation. No estimate has been made of the numbers of applications withdrawn as a result of the pilot. A full evaluation will take place before a decision is taken on future developments. A copy of the feasibility report will be placed in the Library.

Habitual Residence Test

Mr. Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many social security applicants have been refused benefits under the habitual residence test since it came into operation; and how many of these were born in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Roger Evans: Provisional figures from the Benefits Agency indicate that 6,388 applicants failed to satisfy the habitual residence test. Approximately 2,300 of these were asylum seekers and were entitled to income support under the urgent cases provisions. The other information is not available because the place of birth is not recorded when benefit is claimed.

Social Fund

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many social fund applicants for (a) grants and (b) loans have been turned down in each region in each year since the social fund came into operation.

Mr. Roger Evans: The information that is readily available is set out in the tables.

The figures are for the number of applications that have been refused; some applicants will have made more than one application in any given year.


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Social fund applications-refusals                         

Southern Territory                                        

                              |Number of nil              

Year            |Application  |awards                     

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

1990-91         |Grants       |95,104                     

                |Loans        |121,362                    

1991-92         |Grants       |207,478                    

                |Loans        |168,874                    

1992-93         |Grants       |265,458                    

                |Loans        |204,929                    

1993-94         |Grants       |283,003                    

                |Loans        |215,964                    

1994 to October |Grants       |170,103                    

                |Loans        |134,979                    


Wales and Central Territory                               

                              |Number of nil              

Year            |Application  |awards                     

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

1990-91         |Grants       |133,568                    

                |Loans        |164,674                    

1991-92         |Grants       |270,366                    

                |Loans        |214,148                    

1992-93         |Grants       |316,298                    

                |Loans        |247,881                    

1993-94         |Grants       |337,620                    

                |Loans        |260,557                    

1994 to October |Grants       |211,637                    

                |Loans        |163,287                    


Scotland and Northern Territory                           

                              |Number of nil              

Year            |Application  |awards                     

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

1990-91         |Grants       |140,711                    

                |Loans        |174,961                    

1991-92         |Grants       |257,970                    

                |Loans        |231,969                    

1992-93         |Grants       |283,006                    

                |Loans        |257,510                    

1993-94         |Grants       |302,330                    

                |Loans        |276,582                    

1994 to October |Grants       |178,716                    

                |Loans        |171,425                    

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many social fund applications in each region in each year since the fund was established were turned down even though the applicant fulfilled qualifying criteria due to local budgeting restriction for (a) community care grants and (b) social fund loans.

Mr. Roger Evans: The information requested is not readily available prior to 1990 91. Such information as is available is set out in the tables. It is for Benefits Agency territories.


Social Fund applications-refusals on grounds of insufficient                

priority                                                                    

Southern Territory                                                          

                                      |Reason for refusal                   

Year               |Application       |insufficient                         

                                      |priority                             

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

1990-91            |Grants            |13,527                               

                   |Loans             |31,867                               

1991-92            |Grants            |21,352                               

                   |Loans             |42,353                               

1992-93            |Grants            |24,971                               

                   |Loans             |61,478                               


Wales and Central Territory                                                 

                                      |Reason for refusal                   

Year               |Application       |insufficient                         

                                      |priority                             

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

1990-91            |Grants            |15,942                               

                   |Loans             |50,605                               

1991-92            |Grants            |28,813                               

                   |Loans             |62,579                               

1992-93            |Grants            |32,401                               

                   |Loans             |89,139                               


Scotland and Northern Territory                                             

                                      |Reason for refusal                   

Year               |Application       |insufficient                         

                                      |priority                             

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

1990-91            |Grants            |16,449                               

                   |Loans             |57,486                               

1991-92            |Grants            |29,437                               

                   |Loans             |81,056                               

1992-93            |Grants            |27,021                               

                   |Loans             |98,969                               

Notes:                                                                      

(1) Figures for 1993-94 have not been provided. This is because information 

at the level requested could only be derived from a mixture of refusal data 

by application held under the old computer system and item level data       

reported by the new system. National refusal statistics by item are         

provided in the Secretary of State's Annual Report on the Social Fund       

1993-94, a copy of which is available in the library.                       

(2) Statistics on reasons for refusal for the current year are only         

available by individual item refused. The national figures for April to     

October 1994 are:                                                           

Grants: 211,770                                                             

Loans: 1,096,649                                                            

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many applications for social fund assistance have been made in each regional office area in each year


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since the social fund came into operation in terms of (a) community care grants and (b) social fund loans.

Mr. Roger Evans: The administration of the social fund is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Jeremy Corbyn, dated 30 November 1994:

The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about applications to the Social Fund (SF) for grants and loans by regional office for each year since the SF began.

Since the formation of the Benefits Agency (BA) in April 1991, BA offices are grouped into Districts and these Districts are grouped into Area Directorates within three Territorial Directorates. Prior to April 1991 Departmental local offices were organised into seven regional areas.

Information for the years 1988 89 and 1989 90 is not available by regional area. Details of the number of applications for grants and loans by regional area for the period April 1990 to March 1991 are provided at Annex A. Details of the number of applications for grants and loans by Area Directorate from April 1991 to March 1994 are provided at Annex B.

I hope you find this information helpful.


Number of applications received by each regional area    

1990-91-Annex A                                          

Region name          |Grants     |Loans                  

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

London north         |74,430     |194,169                

London south         |58,947     |178,050                

Midlands             |90,970     |231,065                

North east           |111,314    |303,822                

North west           |100,896    |272,924                

Scotland             |122,830    |308,619                

Wales and south-west |69,928     |199,776                


Number of applications received by each area directorate (AD)                                                                        

1991 to 1994 financial years-Annex B                                                                                                 

Territory          |Area              |Type              |1991-92           |1992-93           |1993-94                              

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

Southern           |AD1 Anglia        |Loans             |76,567            |88,760            |91,757                               

                                      |Grants            |41,876            |55,820            |51,964                               

                                                                                                                                     

                   |AD2 Chilterns     |Loans             |75,065            |93,266            |101,752                              

                                      |Grants            |39,681            |48,105            |50,312                               

                                                                                                                                     

                   |AD3 South London                                                                                                 

                   |  and West Sussex |Loans             |93,657            |108,796           |111,128                              

                                      |Grants            |40,899            |48,912            |53,612                               

                                                                                                                                     

                   |AD4 West Country  |Loans             |109,242           |127,886           |135,631                              

                                      |Grants            |50,442            |60,894            |64,150                               

                                                                                                                                     

                   |AD5 East London                                                                                                  

                   |  and Essex       |Loans             |85,554            |99,496            |109,885                              

                                      |Grants            |46,837            |58,933            |62,690                               

                                                                                                                                     

                   |AD6 South East    |Loans             |88,306            |110,935           |121,672                              

                                      |Grants            |41,401            |50,228            |56,883                               

                                                                                                                                     

                   |AD7 Wessex        |Loans             |81,167            |95,204            |101,384                              

                                      |Grants            |36,461            |44,668            |46,173                               


Number of applications received by each area directorate 1991 to 1994 financial years                                         

Territory         |Area             |Type             |1991-92          |1992-93          |1993-94                            

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

Wales and Central |AD1 East Midlands|Loans            |86,209           |100,383          |104,915                            

                                    |Grants           |45,886           |53,895           |57,532                             

                  |AD2 Midlands                                                                                               

                  |  South West     |Loans            |91,453           |99,525           |95,142                             

                                    |Grants           |52,312           |59,072           |59,604                             

                                                                                                                              

                  |AD3 West Mercia  |Loans            |100,381          |118,941          |118,822                            

                                    |Grants           |52,486           |62,353           |63,983                             

                                                                                                                              

                  |AD4 Wales        |Loans            |123,634          |139,730          |141,972                            

                                    |Grants           |64,247           |75,638           |81,996                             

                                                                                                                              

                  |AD5 Merseyside   |Loans            |139,001          |150,964          |156,066                            

                                    |Grants           |62,143           |68,081           |72,964                             

                                                                                                                              

                  |AD6 Greater      |Loans            |111,396          |128,973          |135,130                            

                  |  Manchester     |Grants           |54,445           |61,649           |64,386                             

                                                                                                                              

                  |AD7 Lancashire   |Loans            |89,175           |102,281          |106,323                            

                  |  and Cumbria    |Grants           |46,099           |53,800           |55,932                             


Number of applications received by each area directorate 1991 to 1994 financial years                                                         

Territory             |Area               |Type               |1991-92            |1992-93            |1993-94                                

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

Scotland and Northern |AD1 Tyne Tees      |Loans              |147,134            |153,145            |160,140                                

                                          |Grants             |76,849             |83,435             |87,584                                 

                                                                                                                                              

                      |AD2 South          |Loans              |120,638            |133,953            |135,633                                

                      |  Yorkshire        |Grants             |59,813             |65,935             |66,562                                 

                                                                                                                                              

                      |AD3 North and      |Loans              |99,605             |111,045            |117,657                                

                      |  West Yorkshire   |Grants             |48,621             |58,335             |62,877                                 

                                                                                                                                              

                      |AD4 Glasgow and                                                                                                        

                      |  Paisley          |Loans              |146,928            |151,623            |154,914                                

                                          |Grants             |66,716             |68,317             |74,739                                 

                                                                                                                                              

                      |AD5 North, Central |Loans              |114,691            |120,823            |125,576                                

                      |  and West Scotland|Grants             |57,533             |60,878             |63,185                                 

                                                                                                                                              

                      |AD6 East Scotland  |Loans              |90,524             |99,574             |104,136                                

                                          |Grants             |42,637             |46,294             |46,741                                 

Hostel Accommodation

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many residents for whom social security hostel accommodation payments are made are currently housed in sheds, garages and tents at such hostels.

Mr. Roger Evans: I am not aware of any case for which housing benefit is in payment in such circumstances.

Invalidity Benefit

Mr. McAvoy: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give the number of current invalidity benefit claimants with post codes of (a) G72, (b) G73 and (c) the Toryglen residents of G42.

Mr. Hague: The administration of invalidity benefit 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.


Column 888

Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Thomas McAvoy, dated 30 November 1994 :

The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about Invalidity Benefit (IVB) recipients in certain Glasgow postal areas.

Information is not available in the exact format requested. This is because Benefits Agency District areas do not correspond with postcode boundaries.

Residents within Glasgow postcode areas G72 and G73 are dealt with by the Agency's East Kilbride Benefit Office. Residents within the G42 postcode area are dealt with by the Glasgow Laurieston District Office.

Prior to 14 November 1994, Rutherglen Benefit Office dealt with postcode areas G45, G72 and G73. With effect from 14 November 1994, IVB cases formerly dealt with by the Rutherglen office were transferred to either Laurieston District Office for residents of postal area G45 or East Kilbride Benefit Office for residents of postal areas G72 and G73.

The latest available figures, at 31 October 1994, are prior to that change and I have therefore provided at Annex A a table giving the number of IVB customers at the Laurieston, East Kilbride and Rutherglen offices on that date.

The offices in question have responsibility for a far wider geographical area covering other postcode areas. Figures could be obtained relating specifically to those areas you require only at a disproportionate cost.

I hope you find this reply helpful.


Column 889




Number of IVB customers   

at offices within Glasgow 

(Laurieston)              

District at 31 October    

1994-Annex A              

                          

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

Laurieston    |7,395      

East Kilbride |3,735      

Rutherglen    |4,281      

Child Support Agency

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the cost so far to the Child Support Agency of its legal advice.

Mr. Burt: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for Miss Ann Chant, the chief executive. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Miss Ann Chant to Mr. Jeremy Corbyn, dated 30 November 1994:

I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the cost of legal advice to the Child Support Agency.

The Agency incurs no legal costs as legal advice and other legal services are absorbed by the Department of Social Security central budgets.

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many complaints the Child Support Agency has received from people and their representatives about the working operations of the agency.

Mr. Burt: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for Miss Ann Chant, the chief executive. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Miss Ann Chant to Mr. Jeremy Corbyn, dated 30 November 1994:

I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the number of complaints received by the Child Support Agency.

From 5 April 1993 to 31 March 1994 the Agency recorded 10,886 complaints. Latest figures available show that the Agency has received a further 9,700 complaints since April 1994. The Agency does not distinguish between complaints against the operations of the Agency and those concerning child support legislation.

I hope that this reply is helpful.

Mr. Ingram: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many parents with care in receipt of family credit at each child support agency reporting centre have received any maintenance (a) direct from the non-custodial parent and (b) via the Child Support Agency;

(2) how many parents with care not in receipt of benefit at each reporting centre have received any maintenance (a) direct from the non-custodial parent and (b) via the Child Support Agency; (3) how many parents with care in receipt of income support at each Child Support Agency reporting centre have received any maintenance (a) direct from the non-custodial parents and (b) via the Child Support Agency;

(4) how many parents with care in receipt of disability working allowance at each Child Support Agency reporting centre have received any maintenance (a) direct from the non-custodial parent and (b) via the Child Support Agency.

Mr. Burt: The information requested is not a business requirement of the agency and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.


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Mr. Ingram: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many parents with care at each Child Support Agency reporting centre have been taken off income support after receiving maintenance payments;

(2) how many parents with care at each Child Support Agency reporting centre have been taken off income support and are now in receipt of family credit after receiving maintenance payments.

Mr. Burt: The information the hon. Gentleman requires could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Bill Michie: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to implement the recommendations contained in the fifth report of the Social Security Committee of Session 1993 94, HC 470, on the operation of the Child Support Act.

Mr. Burt: We are still evaluating the contents of the Select Committee's report and we will respond in due course with proposals for change. No final decisions have yet been taken.

Unemployment Benefit

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security to what level the £35 limit above which occupational pensions are deducted from unemployment benefit could be raised without the cost exceeding the estimated saving from extending such deductions to people aged under 55 years.

Mr. Roger Evans: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 29 November, Official Report, column 631.

Special Advisers

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the special advisers employed by his Department in each of the last five years indicating when they (a) joined and (b) left his Department and the annual salary they received.

Mr. Hague: The information is as follows:


Name             |Joining date    |Leaving date                     

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

Melinda Libby    |3 May 1988      |24 July 1989                     

Charles Hendry   |25 July 1989    |15 December 1989                 

Ian Stewart      |16 August 1990  |10 April 1992                    

Jeremy Mayhew    |27 April 1992   |12 April 1993                    

Peter Barnes     |4 May 1993                                        

Salaries for special advisers are negotiated individually in relation to their previous earnings and are confidential. They are, however, normally paid on a special advisers' salary spine of 34 points, currently ranging from £19,503 to £67,609. Appointments are non-pensionable and the salary spine reflects this.

Late Payments

Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many of the bills paid by his Department during the last month for which figures are available were paid within (a) up to one month, (b) up to two months, (c) up to three months, (d) up to six months and (e) over six months from receipt of invoice; and how many were over the date for payment by (i) up to one month, (ii) up to two months, (iii) up to three months, (iv) up to six months and (v) over six months;


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(2) of the bills currently awaiting payment in his Department how many are over the advised payment date by (a) up to one month, (b) up to two months, (c) up to three months, (d) up to six months and (e) over six months, respectively.

Mr. Hague: The information is not available in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Departments are, however, required to provide details of their annual payment performance in their departmental reports. For 1993 94, the Department of Social Security paid 94 per cent. of its bills in accordance with agreed contractual conditions or, where no such contractual conditions existed, within 30 days of receipt of goods and services or the presentation of a valid invoice.

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Quarantine Regulations

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to alter the quarantine regulations for dogs entering the United Kingdom.

Mrs. Browning: The Agriculture Select Committee has recently published a report recommending changes to the rabies quarantine regulations.

The Government share the concern of the committee that it would never support a change which would increase the likelihood of rabies entering the United Kingdom. The question of whether any other arrangements can offer the same or better protection than quarantine is essentially a technical one which the Government will need to consider carefully. The onus is one those recommending change to demonstrate that it offers at least as good a protection as quarantine.


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