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Column 241advice from CBDE Porton Down on any subsequent illnesses that may have been reported by volunteers who took part in the volunteer programme. Indeed, CBDE Porton Down has no evidence that participation in volunteer studies over the past 40 years have resulted in any harm to those concerned.
8. From time to time, Service volunteers have been recalled so that checks on their medical health can be made. There is no particular frequency or pattern to such recalls. In addition some volunteers return voluntarily to CBDE to take part in subsequent unrelated studies. It would require a disproportionate effort to search our records to see if any of the 72 Service volunteers had returned subsequently to CBDE for further studies.
9. I should add that the Ministry of Defence is very grateful to all Service personnel who have served as volunteers in studies at CBDE Porton Down as their participation has been vital to ensuring that the members of the UK Armed Forces are provided with the most effective protective measures possible against the threat that chemical or biological weapons may be used against them. Such studies are vital to the defence of the realm and we are very grateful to the Servicemen who have helped achieve the high standards of protection that are available for the members of the UK Armed Forces.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: The Advanced Manufacturing Technology Committee provided advice to the Department of Trade of Industry and the former Science and Engineering Research Council on research and development requirements in advanced manufacturing. The committee was disbanded on 31 March 1994. The committee's terms of reference in respect of the SERC and the DTI were as follows:
To identify and update the R and D industrial and technological innovation requirements in the area of advanced manufacturing; to advise on the objectives, balance and strategy for Departmental expenditure on R and D in the area of advanced manufacturing;
to advise DTI on the allocation of funds necessary to secure those objectives; to consider and advise on proposals referred by the DTI to the Committee; and to make recommendations to DTI on longer-term or more speculative programmes; and
to propose measures which would further the application of science and technology within advanced manufacturing.
To advise on the development of the SERC programme and on the resources that should be provided for it;
to monitor the SERC programme generally and advise on its implementation;
to approve SERC expenditure within the powers delegated to the Committee; and
to make reports on its activities as required by SERC.
Mr. Harvey: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will publish a table showing the number of meetings held, the secretarial and advisory arrangements, the budgeted and actual expenditure and the subjects of any reports and submissions produced by the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Committee in each of the last three years.
Column 242rested with the Science and Engineering Research Council before the Committee was disbanded on 31 March 1994.
|1992|1993|1994 -------------------------------------------- Number of meetings held |8 |6 |1 Budgeted expenditure |0 |0 |0 Actual expenditure |0 |0 |0
The AMTC was a joint committee of the Department of Trade and Industry and the SERC. It was jointly serviced by the DTI and the SERC, with DTI in the lead until 31 September 1993, and the SERC thereafter. No report was published by the Committee. Its advice was channelled through the internal organisation of the DTI and the SERC.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: The Office of Science and Technology will be spending in 1994 95 about £1 million on initiatives designed to improve public understanding and appreciation of the contribution that science, engineering and technology make to our society. These initiatives support work in schools through such schemes as the CREST--creativity in science and technology--awards and young engineers clubs. They also promote science, engineering and technology among the wider public through major events like the national science and engineering week, the British Association's science festival and the Edinburgh international science festival.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: The Government today published the fifth "Next Steps Review"--Cm 2750. It brings together information on the 102 agencies within Government, and the executive organisations of HM Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue, which now constitute 62 per cent. of the civil service.
Within central Government, agencies are delivering the citizens charter commitment to improved customer service and value for money. The review highlights how, under the charter, agencies focus on the needs of the users of their services and gives examples of what individual agencies have achieved. Thirty charter marks have been awarded to agencies in the first three years of the competition, reflecting the commitment of agency chief executives and their staff to high standards of customer service.
The review reports the targets set for agencies and their performance against them in 1993 94 and lists key targets for 1994 95. In 1993 94, agencies met around 80 per cent. of their key targets, compared with 77 per cent. last year. Most targets have also become progressively more demanding year on year.
The Government's aim is that every public service should be provided in the most appropriate and cost-effective way. All the executive functions of the civil service are therefore being examined against the following
Column 243tests: whether they need to continue to be performed at all; whether they need to remain the responsibility of Government; where the Government do need to remain responsible for an activity, do the Government have to carry out the task or can they buy in from outside providers; and whether they should become the responsibility of an agency within Government. The review reports further progress in this work.,
Once established, agencies are subject to periodic review, now normally after five years of operation. To ensure that the widest possible range of views are taken into account, both the initial examination of an activity and these reviews are publicly announced, including through the next steps review. The review also demonstrates many ways in which agencies are entering into partnership with the private sector, for example, by contracting out existing work to the private sector under a partnership arrangement or through joint ventures.
Over the last six years, the next steps initiative has fundamentally altered the way in which the civil service is managed. It is a key part of the programme of change outlined in the White Paper "The Civil Service: Continuity and Change". The White Paper also proposed extending throughout the civil service many of the principles of next steps, including maximum clarity about objectives and targets, delegation of management responsibility and a clear focus on outputs and outcomes. The aim is a flexible and cost-effective civil service well-equipped to provide support for Ministers on policy matters and in the management of public services which meet the needs of their users.
Mr. Harvey: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will publish a table showing the number of meetings held, the secretarial and advisory arrangements, the budgeted and actual expenditure and the subjects of any reports and submissions produced by the Information Technology Advisory Board in each of the last three years.
|1991-92 |1992-93 |1993-94 Financial Year |£000 |£000 |£000 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Number of meetings held |6 |5 |4 Budgeted Expenditure<1> |30,712 |36,599 |38,457 Actual Expenditure<1> |30,955 |37,152 |38,026 Secretariat arrangements shared equally between DTI and SERC at official level <1> Excludes postgraduate training and support costs which were operated centrally. Advisory Arrangements: ITAB received external advice from joint SERC/DTI committees comprising of scientific and technical experts from academe and industry. The Committees drew on peer review referees and other expert advice when planning their programmes and assessing proposals for funding. In addition, membership of ITAB was designed to reflect different aspects of the technology chain. Reports and Submissions: Annual Reports-1991, 1992, 1993: a comprehensive summary of ITAB activities. The Government Strategy for IT-1993: sets out the aims, objectives and remit of ITAB and its advisory Committees. The Impact of IT-1994: published after ITAB was disbanded. Illustrates achievements and practical impact of the former joint programmes in an industrial and social context. Submissions: annual contribution to the SERC PES submission.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will itemise the refurbishment works undertaken on buildings housing departmental staff in the last three years, indicating the costs involved and the nature of the refurbishments.
Mr. Roger Evans: The information is not available in the form requested and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, figures for refurbishment projects costing more then £5,000 are available.
A total of £111,600,423 was spent on refurbishing the DSS estate during the last three years.
Mr. Devlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps he intends to take to ensure that Mr. Peter Stevenson, Ref. 7000102373, will have his maintenance payments reassessed by the Child Support Agency in the very near future and be paid the rebate due.
Letter from Tony Ward to Mr. Tim Devlin, dated7 December 1994: In the absence of Miss Chant, I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about your constituent Mr. Peter Stevenson.
Mr. Stevenson's maintenance liability was reassessed on 1 December 1994. On the evidence received, there is no indication that there has been an overpayment of child maintenance.
I hope that this reply is helpful.
Mr. Roger Evans: The administration of the social fund, which includes cold weather payments, is the responsibility of Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Keith Bradley, dated 6 December 1994:
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the number of Cold Weather Payments made in the Manchester region in the past three years.
Cold Weather Payments are dependent on temperature data supplied by designated weather stations. In the Manchester region, this is the Meteorological Weather Station situated at Manchester Airport. In 1993 94, the temperatures recorded at Manchester Airport were not low enough to satisfy the conditions for Cold Weather Payments.
Details of the Cold Weather Payments made in the Manchester area during 1991 92 and 1992 93 are available from the statistical information already held in the Library.
I hope this reply has been helpful.
Mr. Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what has been (a) the personnel and other cost of anti-fraud work and (b) the amount recouped as a result of anti-fraud work in each year since 1979.
Mr. Arbuthnot: The administration of fraud work is a matter for Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available. Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Keith Bradley, dated 6 December 1994:
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the costs of anti-fraud work and the amounts recovered as the result of such work since 1979.
Not all of the information you requested in available. Prior to the formation of the Benefits Agency (BA), most anti-fraud work was integrated with benefit claims processing and other mainstream local office activities and separate cost data was not kept. However, the bulk of investigations are now carried out by separately managed units - know as Fraud Sectors - which report to Area Directors rather than District Managers. Other investigations are conducted by the BA's separate Organised Fraud command. These organisational changes have enabled estimated costs of the main anti- fraud effort to be published in the two most recent BA Annual Fraud Reports. The figures are:
1992 93 £72.4m includes estimated £6.4m accommodation costs for Sector Fraud Teams, which are normally minor occupants of premises. 1993 94 £69.0m excludes accommodation costs for Sector Fraud Teams.
Estimated benefit savings from anti-fraud work during the same period were £558m (1992 93) and £654m (1993 94). Recoveries of benefit overpaid, including fraud cases, totalled £38m (1992 93) and £80m (1993 94). Information relating to the amount of benefit recovered directly as a result of anti-fraud work is not readily available and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost. I hope you find this reply helpful.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if it is the practice for his Department to refuse to make benefit payment in line with the ruling of the Social Security Commissioner where such rulings are the subject of appeal to either the United Kingdom or European courts; how many such benefits are currently
Column 246affected; and how much money in each case is being withheld from claimants.
Mr. Roger Evans: It is our practice to suspend payment in cases which are the subject of an appeal to the courts or in cases where benefit would be affected by the outcome of such an appeal. There are currently a number of appeals which have resulted, or may result, in suspension of benefit. The benefits affected are income support, family credit, severe disablement allowance, invalidity benefit, invalid care allowance, attendance allowance and the care component of disability living allowance. The average weekly amount involved in the family credit cases is £20.39. No information is available on the amount involved in other cases.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many women are currently being paid reduced invalidity benefit because they have reached retirement age; how many have appealed against this reduction; how many have applied to be treated as cases of hardship; and how many such applications have been accepted.
At the end of March 1994, the latest date for which information is held, 41,560 women were being paid reduced rate invalidity benefit because they had reached state pension age.
A total of 1,604 hardship applications had been received; 994 hardship applications had been accepted and the suspension lifted. Information is not held on the total number of appeals received and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list each of the (a) non-means-tested benefits and (b) means- tested benefits run by his Department; and if he will give the number of claimants and dependants covered by each benefit at the latest available date.
figures rounded to the nearest thousand<2> |Total adult |Total child |Claimants total|dependants |dependants Benefit |£ thousands |£ thousands |£ thousands |Date of enquiry ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Non-means tested benefits Attendance Allowance |996 |n/app |n/app |March 1994 Child Benefit<1> |6,883 |n/app |12,496 |November 1994 Child's Special Allowance<1> |<2>99 |n/app |<2>127 |December 1993 Disability Living Allowance<4> |1,400 |n/app |n/app |August 1994 Guardians Allowance<1> |<2>1,977 |n/app |<2>2,486 |December 1993 Invalid Care Allowance |261 |5 |33 |September 1994 Industrial Death Benefit |22 |n/app |1 |September 1994 Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit<6> |209 |n/app |n/app |April 1993 Invalidity Benefit<3> |1,580 |457 |120 |April 1993 Maternity Allowance<3> |40 |<2>100 |n/av |April 1992 Non Contributory Retirement Pension<6> |28 |n/av |n/av |March 1994 One Parent Benefit<1> |902 |n/app |1,424 |November 1994 Other Industrial Injuries Benefits |1 |n/app |n/app |March 1994 Reduced Earnings Allowance/Retirement Allowance<6> |155 |n/app |n/app |April 1993 Retirement Pension<6> |10,090 |92 |25 |March 1994 Sickness Benefit<3> |147 |24 |n/app |April 1993 Severe Disablement Allowance<3> |316 |4 |3 |April 1993 Unemployment Benefit<4> |541 |73 |n/app |May 1994 Widows Benefit<6> |330 |n/app |84 |March 1994 War Pension |306 |n/app |2 |September 1994 Means tested benefits Council Tax Benefit |5,253 |1,618 |2,751 |31 May 1993 Disability Working Allowance |<2>4,536 |<2>1,767 |<2>3,289 |July 1994 Family Credit<4> |542 |308 |1,103 |April 1994 Housing Benefit Rent Rebate |3,050 |838 |1,889 |May 1993 Rent Allowance |1,480 |270 |643 |May 1993 Income Support<4> |5,791 |1,231 |3,028 |February 1994 Notes: <1> Total claimants reflects the total of families in receipt and the child dependents reflect the children in those families. <2> Denotes where the actual unrounded figures have been Shown Sample Size is 100 per cent. unless indicated: <3> Based on a 1 per cent. sample of claims. <4> Based on a 5 per cent. sample of awards. <5> Based on a 4 per cent. sample of awards. <6> Based on a 10 per cent. sample with an allowance for late returns for industrial injuries disablement benefit and reduced earnings allowance. <7> Number of assessments in payment not recipients. <8> Benefit replaced attendance Allowance for persons under 65 years and mobility allowance for 5 April 1992. <9> Includes a small number of cases where the claimant is eligible for council tax benefit but the actual amount payable is nil after non-dependant deductions have been accounted for.
Column 248changes in social security expenditure as a proportion of gross domestic product in each year since 1979 cumulatively.
Total benefit expenditure 1978-79 to 1993-94 as a percentage of GDP |Total benefit |Money GDP |Benefit expenditure |expenditure |as percentage ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1978-79 |15.9 |173.7 |9.15 1979-80 |18.8 |208.6 |9.01 1980-81 |22.7 |237.7 |9.55 1981-82 |27.7 |261 |10.61 1982-83 |31.6 |285.8 |11.06 1983-84 |35.3 |310 |11.39 1984-85 |38.3 |332.1 |11.53 1985-86 |41.8 |364.9 |11.46 1986-87 |44.9 |392.7 |11.43 1987-88 |46.7 |434.8 |10.74 1988-89 |47.3 |484.1 |9.77 1989-90 |50.1 |525.8 |9.53 1990-91 |56.2 |556.8 |10.09 1991-92 |65.3 |580.8 |11.24 1992-93 |74.7 |604.8 |12.35 1993-94 |80.9 |639 |12.66 <1> The growth of social security. <2> Financial Statement and Budget Report 1995-96.
Column 248of people in a long stay part 3 home (a) in the private sector and (b) in the voluntary sector.
Mr. John Morris: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what new industries from overseas were sited in England, Wales and Scotland, respectively, in each year between and including 1971 to 1980; and what major expansions or new plants of existing industries were set up or announced during the same years.
Mr. Charles Wardle: The total number of projects in England, Scotland, and Wales respectively in 1979 were 119, 28 and 18. Similarly, the number of projects in 1980 were 88, 31 and 16 respectively. These figures are based on information provided to the Department's invest in Britain bureau by companies themselves at the time of their decision to invest. Foreign investors are under no obligation to inform the IBB of their investment decisions. No records exist for years before 1979 and a more detailed breakdown of the figures for 1979 and 1980 could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Harvey: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish a table showing the number of meetings held, the secretarial and advisory arrangements, the budgeted and actual expenditure and the subjects of any reports and submissions produced by the Advisory Council on Research and Development for Fuel and Power in each of the last three years.
Mr. Charles Wardle: The Advisory Council on Research and Development for Fuel and Power met seven times in 1992 and five times in 1993, before it was dissolved in October of that year. Secretariat duties were carried out by DTI officials. There were no advisors. ACORD's budget covered principally member's travel and subsistence expenses and meeting costs. These cost
Column 250the Department some £3,300 in 1992 93 and 2,500 in 1993 94. ACORD's remit was to offer views on the energy Research and Development programmes of the Department and of British Coal and Nuclear Electric. The council's views were communicated to Ministers by means of a letter from the chairman after each meeting. ACORD was responsible for commissioning "Energy Paper 61", an appraisal of United Kingdom energy technologies, which was published in May 1994.
Mr. Harvey: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish a table showing the number of meetings held, the secretarial and advisory arrangements, the budgeted and actual expenditure and the subjects of any reports and submissions produced by the Industrial Development Advisory Board in each of the last three years.
Mr. Charles Wardle: Information on the board's activities is published each year in the Industrial Development Act 1982 annual report, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. The estimated cost of administrative support provided for the board by the Department was £20,000 in 1993 94.
Mr. Harvey: To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) if he will publish a table showing the number of meetings held, the secretarial and advisory arrangements, the budgeted and actual expenditure and the subjects of any reports and submissions produced by the coal task force in each of the last three years;
(2) if he will publish a table showing the number of meetings held, the secretarial and advisory arrangements, the budgeted and actual expenditure and the subjects of any reports and submissions produced by the Advisory Committee on Coal Research in each of the last three years.
Coal task force/advisory committee on coal research meetings |Number of meetings|Proposals to |Strategy papers |Information papers|Cost of running |Total programme Financial year |(C=CTF A= ACCR) |Committee |reviewed |discussed |Committee £ k |spend £ million -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1990-91 |2C |0 |2 |2 |7.0 |11.40 (outturn) 1991-92 |4C |13 |1 |4 |14.0 |4.67 (outturn) 1992-93 |2C |6 |1 |4 |7.0 |3.93 (outturn) 1993-94 |2C |12 |7 |5 |14.0 |7.83 (outturn) |2A 1994-95 (to date) |3A |5 |5 |6 |10.5 |7.5 (budget) |(+2 planned) Notes: <1> This excludes small value proposals, which are dealt with by committee members by post. The Coal Task Force was inaugurated on 22 November 1990. The last meeting of the Coal Task Force was on 16 July 1993. The Advisory Committee on Coal Research was inaugurated on 11 November 1993. Secretariat and administrative support to these committees is provided by ETSU as part of the programme management arrangements which ETSU provides to the DTI. An annual progress report for the DTI is agreed by the committee at the end of each financial year: copies of reports for 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93 and 1993-94 are available in the House of Commons Library. The budget for the ACCR in financial year 1994-95 is £17.5k.
Mr. Harvey: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish a table showing the number of meetings held, the secretarial and advisory arrangements, the budgeted and actual expenditure and the subjects of any reports and submissions produced by the Offshore Industry Liasion Committee in each of the last three years.
The committee has no advisors or budget and has not published any reports or submissions.
Mr. Harvey: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish a table showing the number of meetings held, the secretarial and advisory arrangements, the budgeted and actual expenditure and the subjects of any reports and submissions produced by the Energy Advisory Panel in each of the last three years.
Mr. Charles Wardle: The Energy Advisory Panel met for the first time on 23 November 1993 and has met six times to date; once in 1993 and five times so far in 1994. Three more meetings are expected to be held in the current financial year. Secretariat duties are carried out by DTI officials, but no advisors to the panel have been engaged. The panel's budget covers principally members' travel and subsistence expenses and meeting costs. These were some £3,400 in 1993 94 and £5, 000 in 1994 95 to date.
The panel has contributed to the production of the Government's annual energy report, published in June 1994, but it has not produced specific reports or submissions.
Mr. Harvey: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish a table showing the number of meetings held, the secretarial and advisory arrangements, the budgeted and actual expenditure and the subjects of any reports and submissions produced by the advisory committee for the Joint Environmental Markets Unit in each of the last three years.
Mr. Charles Wardle: The Joint Environmental Markets Unit advisory committee met for the first time in March 1994 and has had two further meetings since then. The secretariat for the advisory committee is drawn from the staff of JEMU. The committee has no allocated budget; committee members are entitled to claim travel and subsistence in accordance with the DTI's rules for external members of advisory committees. No formal reports or submissions have been produced.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the financial value of United Kingdom exports to Indonesia in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will list the products.
Column 252Kingdom", a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. Table 4 gives United Kingdom exports by country and product.
Mr. Wolfson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he intends to exercise his powers under section 24 of the Coal Industry Act 1994 to abolish the Domestic Coal Consumers Council; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Charles Wardle: In the light of the privatisation of British Coal and the alternative arrangements for the representation of domestic coal consumers' interests which the coal trade is developing, my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has decided to abolish the council on 28 February 1995, when the members' current terms of appointment expire. The members are being informed accordingly.
The necessary order abolishing the council as of 28 February 1995 will be made in due course.
The coal trade, under the umbrella of the Chamber of Coal Traders, is establishing alternative private sector consumer arrangements. Progress has already been made with the establishment of a quality grading system by the Solid Fuel Association and the publication by the approved coal merchants scheme of a consumer charter. In addition, the Solid Fuel Association and HETAS--heating equipment testing and approval scheme--are working together to ensure that consumers have access to competent installers and approved appliances. Improvements to the body of consumer protection legislation, the keystones of which are the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 and the Consumer Protection Act 1987 continue to be made: the General Product Safety Regulations 1994 came into effect on 3 October.
To ensure that the smooth transition towards private sector arrangements is maintained, my right hon. Friend has appointed the out-going chairman of the council, Mrs. Ann Scully, to advise him on progress. Mrs. Scully will be assisted by Mr. Donald Mockett and Mr. Douglas Barrett MBE, who will offer local advice on the interests of consumers in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively. The terms of reference of the advisory group are:
-- to advise on such further specific arrangements as may need to be established in the interests of domestic coal consumers following the sale of British Coal and its subsidiaries;
-- in particular, to assist in developing with coal producers, coal merchants and other organisations in the coal trade arrangements by them for the continuation of fume checks, and the establishment of commercial arrangements for the resolution of complaints, the maintenance of quality standards and dissemination of information and advice about the safe burning of solid fuel; and
-- to report by 30 September 1995.
The Government recognise the enormous contribution which the Domestic Coal Consumers Council's members have made to protecting the interests of domestic coal users over the last 50 years, particularly during the passage of the Coal Industry Act 1994. But the market has changed and the time has come to place responsibility for users' interests where they should lie-- with the coal trade. Mrs. Scully and her co-advisers will be able to assist the trade in this.