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interest payments at the point in time when the survey was carried out. These are set out in the table:


Income support claimants with mortgage interest payments                  

               Number of                                                  

               mortgage interest                                          

               claimants by                                               

               duration                                                   

              |Less than 2|2-6 months |6-9 months |9 months or            

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

Pensioner     |2          |5          |3          |87                     

Sick/Disabled |2          |6          |5          |64                     

Lone parent   |5          |11         |9          |96                     

Unemployed    |20         |47         |23         |126                    

Other         |3          |7          |3          |27                     

All cases     |31         |76         |42         |399                    

Source:                                                                   

"Income Support Statistics Quarterly Enquiry" February 1994.              

(1) Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand and may not sum.          

Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate he has made of the total annual savings accruing to his Department in each of the next five years from the proposed changes to the availability of income support for mortgage interest payments; and what assumptions he has made in making those calculations with regard to the number of people who will not be eligible under the new rules for such payments and the average level of income support no longer payable.

Mr. Roger Evans: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on Thursday 8 December at column 363.

Back-to-work Bonus

Mr. Dewar: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether the proposed back-to-work bonus will be transferable from one spouse to another.

Mr. Roger Evans: The back-to-work bonus will normally be attributed and paid to the person who has made the claim for benefit under which entitlement to the bonus is accrued. In certain circumstances, for example where couples separate, it may be appropriate to transfer bonus amounts between partners. We are looking at the detailed mechanisms for achieving this.

Agency Heads

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 5 December, Official Report, column 2, what considerations led to his decision not to give the details of the terms of employment of heads of agencies.

Mr. Hague: The total remuneration for each agency chief executive appears in their agency accounts. Their entitlement to a performance bonus is largely dependent upon the achievement of a range of specific targets published in the individual business plans. However, the personal pay arrangements for individual members of staff remain confidential.

Income-related Benefits

Mr. Dewar: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the effect on the numbers of claimants of (a) income support, (b) housing benefit, (c) family credit, (d) community charge or council tax benefit and (e) all income-related benefits of the freeze in the limits for capital or savings since 1988.

Mr. Roger Evans: The upper capital limit was raised in April 1990 from £6,000 to £8,000 in income support and family credit and to £16, 000 in housing benefit and


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community charge benefit. Had the lower capital limit of £3,000 been increased in line with the retail prices index to 1994 95 prices, it is estimated that a further 10,000 claimants would become entitled to income support. The effect on the numbers of those claiming other income-related benefits is negligible.

Note:

Estimate based on data drawn from the 1990 91 92 family expenditure surveys, uprated to 1994 95 prices and benefit levels, making adjustments for numbers with capital reported on the 1993 statistical inquiry.

Numbers of claimants are rounded to the nearest 5,000.

Housing Benefit

Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the average housing benefit paid to private sector tenants in (a) Southampton (b) Portsmouth and (c) Hampshire; and, in each case, what is the total number of claimants.

Mr. Roger Evans: The information is set out in the table:


                                |Private sector                 

                |Housing Benefit|Housing Benefit                

                |recipients     |£                              

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

Southampton     |9,350          |51.81                          

Portsmouth      |8,530          |50.29                          

Hampshire       |40,510         |49.92                          

Source:                                                         

Housing Benefit Management Information System 100 per cent.     

count taken at the end of August 1994.                          

Notes:                                                          

(1) Figures are for benefit units which may be a single person  

or a couple;                                                    

(2) The caseload and average for Hampshire include Southampton  

and Portsmouth;                                                 

(3) Private sector includes housing associations.               

Jobseeker's Allowance

Mr. Dewar: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the effect of the abolition of the adult dependency increase paid with unemployment benefit on the number of claimants of income-based jobseeker's allowance in the first 182 days of a claim.

Mr. Roger Evans: It is estimated that, at any one time, 5,000 people would be entitled to income-based jobseeker's allowance as a result of there being no adult dependency increase in the contributory element.

Notes:

(1) Assumes 2.4 million unemployed; 500,000 unemployment benefit cases.

(2) Estimates rounded to the nearest 5,000.

(3) Based on 1993 and 1994 unemployment benefit statistics and the policy simulation model using 1990 91 92 family expenditure survey data.

(4) Assumes contributory entitlement lasts six months.

(5) Estimates do not include tax or behavioural implications.

Child Support Agency

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the cost to public funds of the child maintenance review pack published by the Child Support Agency; and if he will make a statement as to the amount of money earmarked for the Child Support Agency in


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each of the last two years and, within that budget, how much was earmarked for literature, supporting documents, papers, forms, letters of explanation and other material.

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

Letter from Ann Chant to Mr. Anthony Steen, dated 13 December 1994:

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

The following data show the costs for 1993 94.

Financial Year 1993 94

Operating costs: £109 million

Publications: £2.5 million

Financial Year 1994 95

Estimated budget: £185 million

Publications: £3 million

Six hundred and forty thousand Child Support Maintenance Review packs have been ordered since April 1993 at a cost of £328,000 over both financial years.

I hope this reply is helpful.

Fraud

Ms Primarolo: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security at what financial threshold the decision is taken on the prosecution of an individual or organisation for social security fraud.

Mr. Arbuthnot: The Benefits Agency uses no financial threshold when deciding whether to initiate criminal proceedings. Each case is considered individually and the amount of benefit overpaid is only one of a number of factors taken into account.

Ms Primarolo: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the level of social security fraud.

Mr. Arbuthnot: In the year ending March 1994 Benefits Agency fraud investigators identified 312,000 irregularities and saved an estimated £654 million. Although the full extent of social security fraud is not known, we are examining ways of producing a reliable estimate of the sum which might be involved.

Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many of the members of the panel on assessment of incapacity who did not agree to publication of their names were or are employed by (a) the Benefits Agency medical service, (b) the Department of Social Security and (c) the Department of Health; how many had medical qualifications; when he decided that the names of members of the panel on assessment of incapacity should not be published without their agreement; what were his reasons for so deciding; if he sought the agreement of organisations responding to the consultation document on assessment of incapacity to the publication of their names in annex 2 to the report "The Medical Assessment for Incapacity Benefit"; and if he will seek the consent of members of the sub-group on mental health and incapacity, who agreed to publication of their names in the report "The Medical Assessment of Incapacity Benefit", to the disclosure of their membership of the sub-group.

Mr. Hague: Of the 10 panel members who did not want their names published, one is employed by the


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Benefits Agency medical service, one by the Department of Social Security and one by the Department of Health. Of the 10, six have medical qualifications. The panel members undertook their work as individuals and it was considered appropriate that the wishes of those who did not want their names to be made public should be respected.

The organisations listed in annex 2 of the report were responding to a public consultation and it was appropriate for their interest to be acknowledged.

Special Advisers

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security which of the special advisers serving in his Department during the last five years were subject to positive security vetting.

Mr. Hague: In accordance with current guidance, all special advisers are required to have positive vetting. This Department has complied with this during the last five years.

Public Appointments

Dr. Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many public appointments (a) he is


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responsible for making and (b) require his approval, including those not listed in "Public Bodies", and if he will divide this figure into (i) appointments to executive bodies, (ii) appointments to advisory bodies and (iii) other appointments.

Mr. Hague: The information is in the table.


                   |Number of         |Number of                            

                   |Secretary of State|require approval                     

                   |is                                                      

                   |responsible for   |from the Secretary                   

                                      |of State                             

                   |making            |State                                

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

Executive bodies   |11                |2                                    

Advisory bodies    |<1>876            |0                                    

Other bodies       |19                |0                                    

<1> This figure includes 798 members of local war pension committees.       

Means Testing (Limits)

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will update the information given in his answer of 27 October, Official Report, columns 794 98 , by substituting 1995 96 values for current values in columns 4 and 5 of the table.

Mr. Roger Evans: The information is set out in the table:


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   |Col. 5                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                              |Col. 4              |1995 value if                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                              |1995 value if       |increased in line                        

                                                                                                                                                                                         |Col. 3              |increased in line   |with average                             

                                                                                                                                                                                         |Date from which     |with prices since   |earnings since date                      

                                                                                                                                                                    |Col. 2              |current rate        |date at col. 3      |at col. 3                                

Col. 1                                                                                                                                                              |Date of introduction|applicable          |£                   |£                                        

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

(a) £1,000 widow's payment.                                                                                                                                         |April 1988          |April 1988          |1,417.90            |1,583.00                                 

(b) £3,000 and £8,000 capital limits for income support and family credit:                                                                                                                                                                                                   

£3,000                                                                                                                                                              |April 1988          |April 1988          |4,179.80            |4,748.90                                 

£8,000                                                                                                                                                              |April 1988          |April 1990          |10,119.45           |10,600.50                                

(c) £3,000 and £16,000 capital limits, for housing benefits:                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

£3,000                                                                                                                                                              |April 1988          |April 1988          |4,179.80            |4,748.90                                 

£16,000                                                                                                                                                             |April 1988          |April 1990          |20,238.95           |21,200.95                                

(d) £2 per day earnings limit for unemployment benefit.                                                                                                             |July 1948           |March 1982          |3.85                |5.00                                     

(e) £12 earnings limit under the normal idle day rule.                                                                                                              |December 1989       |December 1989       |16.10               |17.35                                    

(f) £5 and £15 earnings disregards for income support:                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

£5.00                                                                                                                                                               |April 1988          | April 1988         |6.95                |7.95                                     

£15.00                                                                                                                                                              |April 1988          |April 1988          |20.85               |23.80                                    

(g) £5, £10 and £25 earnings disregards for housing and council tax benefits:                                                                                                                                                                                                

£5                                                                                                                                                                  |April 1988          |April 1988          |6.95                |7.95                                     

£10                                                                                                                                                                 |April 1988          |April 1988          |13.95               |15.85                                    

£25                                                                                                                                                                 |April 1988          |October 1990        |31.60               |33.15                                    

(h) £10 war pension disregard for income-related benefits.                                                                                                          |April 1988          |April 1990          |12.65               |13.75                                    

(i) £10 disregard of charitable or voluntary payments                                                                                                               |April 1988          |April 1990          |12.65               |13.25                                    

(j) £20 disregard of income from a boarder, (plus half of charge in excess of £20).                                                                                 |April 1988          |April 1990          |25.25               |26.45                                    

(k) £200 disregard of a training bonus.                                                                                                                             |September 1988      |September 1988      |283.55              |316.70                                   

(l) £15 maintenance disregard for income-related benefits other than income support.                                                                                |April 1992          |April 1992          |17.10               |16.85                                    

(m) £10 disregard of student loans.                                                                                                                                 |September 1990      | September 1990     |12.65               |13.25                                    

(n) £35 occupational pension limit for unemployment benefit.                                                                                                        |April 1981          |April 1981          |74.20               |98.70                                    

(o) £200 savings limit for the lower rate of voluntary unemployment deduction.                                                                                      |November 1980       |April 1988          |278.70              |316.70                                   

(p) £27 (£8 if living in a hostel) protected earnings and the £1 margin over protected earnings, where income support is paid after a trade dispute is recoverable. |April 1988          |April 1988          |37.55               |42.70                                    

(q) £52.50 rate of statutory sick pay.                                                                                                                              |April 1990          |April 1990          |65.35               |69.60                                    

(r) £100 maternity payment from the Social Fund.                                                                                                                    |April 1987          |April 1990          |126.50              |132.50                                   

(s) £500 and £1,000 capital limits for maternity and funeral payments from the Social Fund:                                                                                                                                                                                  

£500                                                                                                                                                                |April 1990          |April 1990          |632.50              |662.50                                   

£1,000                                                                                                                                                              |April 1990          |April 1990          |1,264.95            |1,325.10                                 

(t) £75 limit on additional expenses included in a funeral payment from the Social Fund.                                                                            |April 1987          |April 1987          |107.85              |127.95                                   

(u) 25 pence age addition to retirement pension.                                                                                                                    |September 1971      |September 1971      |1.60                |2.70                                     

 (v) £10 Christmas bonus.                                                                                                                                           |December 1972       |December 1972       |67.15               |98.45                                    

(w) £2,500 exempt payments limit for recovery of benefits from compensation payments.                                                                               |September 1990      |September 1990      |3,110.80            |3,312.65                                 

 (x) £30,000 vaccine damage payment.                                                                                                                                |March 1979          |April 1991          |33,661.30           |36,269.90                                

Notes:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

(1)The figures have been rounded to two decimal places.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

(2)In each step of the calculation the amount has been rounded to the nearest 5p.                                                                                                                                                                                            

(3)The retail prices index-all items-and the retail prices index-all items except housing ROSSI-as published by the Central Statistical Office have been used for the prices uprating-ROSSI in relation to amounts which apply to income-related benefits.                   

(4)Average earnings index-whole economy unadjusted-as published by the Employment Department has been used to calculate the earnings uprating.                                                                                                                               

Benefit Uprating

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list details of the April 1995 benefit uprating, including those benefit rates, disregards and capital and income limits which will not be increased.


Column 640

Mr. Hague: I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Thanet, North (Mr. Gale) on 8 December at column 376 .

The table refers to benefit rates, disregards and capital and income limits which are not covered by the table of main benefit rates which has been placed in the Library.


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Benefit Description                                                                                                                                                |April 1994                |April 1995                                           

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

 Child Dependency Increase: increase in earnings limit pertaining to second or subsequent children                                                                 |16.00                     |16.00                                                

 Christmas Bonus                                                                                                                                                   |10.00                     |10.00                                                

 Compensation recovery small payments limit                                                                                                                        |2,500                     |2,500                                                

Council Tax Benefit, Disability Working Allowance, Family Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support: disregard from grant for students' books and equipment          |273.00 per year           |276.00 per year                                      

 Housing Benefit:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

 Disregard from students' eligible rent:                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 London                                                                                                                                                            |24.80                     |25.00                                                

 Elsewhere                                                                                                                                                         |17.20                     |17.35                                                

 Child's earning disregard                                                                                                                                         |5.00                      |5.00                                                 

 Where disabled child premium is payable                                                                                                                           |15.00                     |15.00                                                

 Overriding Income Disregard                                                                                                                                       |10.00                     |10.00                                                

 Family Credit: free living accommodation treated as earnings                                                                                                      |12.00                     |12.00                                                

 Incapacity Benefit-the additional rate frozen at April 1994 levels (the earnings-related additional pension currently paid with Invalidity Benefit) no fixed rate |no fixed rate                                                                   

 Industrial Death Benefit, Widows Pension Initial Rate                                                                                                             |57.65                     |57.65                                                

 Income Support Mortgage: limit on outstanding capital with which Income Support will help with interest repayments                                                |125,000                   |100,000                                              

 Pneumoconiosis, Byssinosis and Miscellaneous Diseases Scheme Death Benefit (lump sum)                                                                             | 300.00                   | 300.00                                              

  Social Fund:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

 Funeral Payment                                                                                                                                                   |No limit                  |Maximum of 875.00                                    

 Additional Expenses                                                                                                                                               |75.00                     |75.00                                                

 War Pensions:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Education Allowance                                                                                                                                                |Maximum of 120.00 per year|Maximum of 120.00 per year                           

Parents and other Dependants Pensions:                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 One parent                                                                                                                                                        |Maximum of 75.00 per year |Maximum of 75.00 per year                            

 Two parents                                                                                                                                                       |100.00 per year           |100.00 per year                                      

 Other adult                                                                                                                                                       |54.00 per year            |54.00 per year                                       

 One juvenile                                                                                                                                                      |26.00 per year            |26.00 per year                                       

 More than one juvenile (aggregate)                                                                                                                                |75.00 per year            |75.00 per year                                       

Single Pensioners

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the numbers and percentage of single pensioners whose total income is below (a) £80 per week, (b) £75 per week and (c) £70 per week.

Mr. Arbuthnot [holding answer 9 December 1994]: The information is in the tables.


Column 642


Table 1. Estimated number and percentage of single  

pensioners                                          

with net before housing costs income under £80, £75,

 £70 (1992).                                        

            |£80      |£75      |£70                

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

Numbers     |1,700,000|1,400,000|1,100,000          

Percentages |39       |31       |26                 


Table 2. Estimated number and percentage of single  

pensioners                                          

with net after housing costs income under £80, £75, 

£70 (1992).                                         

            |£80      |£75      |£70                

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

Numbers     |2,900,000|2,700,000|2,500,000          

Percentages |65       |61       |57                 


 

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