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Mr. McMaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give the most up to date figures in relation to Benefits Agency activity in each parliamentary constituency affected by the floods in Strathclyde during December 1994 for (a) the number of claims for community care grants, (b) the numbers accepted and paid as per claim, (c) the value of grants claimed expressed as (i) a total and (ii) an average, (d) value of grants paid expressed as (i) a total and (ii) an average, (e) the numbers of claims for crisis loans, (f) the numbers accepted and paid as per claim, (g) the value of applications claimed expressed as (i) a total and (ii) an average, (h) the numbers of claims for community care grants refused expressed as (i) a total and (ii) a percentage, (i) the number of claims for crisis loans refused expressed as (i) a total and (ii) a percentage, (j)
Column 388the number of community care grants reduced from claim as (i) a total and (ii) a percentage and (k) the number of crisis loans reduced from claim as (i) a total and (ii) a percentage; and if he will make a statement.
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 with such information as is available.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Gordon McMaster, dated 16 January 1995:
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Community Care Grant (CCG) and Crisis Loan (CL) applications received by the Benefits Agency (BA) from people affected by the recent flooding in the Strathclyde area.
BA District boundaries do not correspond with county or local authority boundaries and information relating to Strathclyde has, therefore, been provided for the five BA Districts serving Strathclyde; Renfrew, Glasgow South West, Glasgow Laurieston, Springburn and Cumbernauld, and Glasgow East.
Information relating to the amounts requested and the number of awards made which did not meet the full amounts requested can only be obtained at a disproportionate cost. This is because this information could only be obtained by examining every application made by the flood victims. However, the Districts keep simple separate records relating to applications by the flood victims in respect of the amount paid and category of application. I have, therefore, provided at Annex A and Annex B information on the total number of CCG and CL applications received, the number and amounts awarded and the numbers refused for each District as at 12 January 1995, the latest information available.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Community care grant applications made by Strathclyde flood victims as at 12 January 1995 |Number of |applications|Number |Percentage |Amount |Average |Number |Percentage District |received |awarded |award |awarded (£) |award (£) |refused |refused ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Renfrew |421 |400 |95.0 |70,340 |175.85 |21 |5.0 Glasgow South-west |14 |14 |100.0 |17,712 |1,265.14 |n/a |n/a Glasgow Laurieston |4 |4 |100.0 |1,978 |494.50 |n/a |n/a Glasgow East |1 |1 |100.0 |520 |520.00 |n/a |n/a Springburn and Cumbernauld |4 |2 |50.0 |2,139 |1,069.50 |2 |50.0 Totals |444 |421 |- |92,689 |- |21 |-
Crisis loan applications made by Strathclyde flood victims as at 12 January 1995 |Number of |applications|Number |Percentage |Amount |Average |Number |Percentage District |received |awarded |award |awarded (£) |award (£) |refused |refused ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Renfrew |102 |94 |92.2 |10,868.00 |115.62 |8 |7.8 Glasgow South west |2 |2 |100.00 |1,760.00 |880.00 |n/a |n/a Glasgow Laurieston |3 |3 |100.00 |221.24 |73.75 |n/a |n/a Glasgow East |1 |1 |100.00 |1,000.00 |1,000.00 |n/a |n/a Springburn and Cumbernauld |1 |1 |100.00 |69.00 |69.00 |n/a |n/a Totals |109 |101 |- |13,918.24 |- |8 |-
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the average cost of processing a claim for disability living allowance when it goes to appeal; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hague: The administration of disability living allowance 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 388Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Alex Salmond, dated 16 January 1995:
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the average cost of processing a claim for Disability Living Allowance when it goes to appeal.
Information regarding the overall cost is not available in the exact format required.
Benefits Agency (BA) staff are responsible for preparing an appeal which is then submitted to the Independent Tribunal Service
Column 389(ITS). The papers are returned to the BA once the appeal decision has been given. The estimated cost to the BA of preparing an appeal for submission to the ITS is £10.93 per case. This figure does not include the cost to the ITS in hearing the appeal.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many of the individuals appointed by his Department to public positions in the last year were first identified by the Public Appointments Unit.
Mr. Hague: There were four such appointees in the year ended 31 December 1994.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the average cost of unemployment benefit and income support for a couple with two children of school age, where there is no other income apart from child benefit, and no capital resources available to them at the latest date for which figures are available.
Mr. Roger Evans: The information is set out in the table.
|Average amount Benefit in payment |£ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Unemployment Benefit and Income Support |112.29 Income Support only |115.46 Overall Average |115.04 Notes: 1. School-age children have been assumed to be those between five and 16 years of age. There may be other children included in the benefit unit. 2. Amounts are rounded to the nearest penny and include any Unemployment Benefit paid to the partner in his/her own right. 3. Amounts are derived from the Income Support Statistical Enquiry, February 1994.
Mrs. Golding: To aks the Secretary of State for Social Security what recent research his Department has done into the number of children acting as carers for adults or other children; and what plans there are to do so in the foreseeable future.
Mr. Bowis: I have been asked to reply.
We are currently testing questions in the Office of Population Census and Surveys omnibus survey, to see whether reliable information may be gathered on young carers.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the difference in the tax arrangements in respect of the treatment of (a) Buckingham palace, (b) Windsor castle, (c) Sandringham and (d) Balmoral.
Mr. Nelson: Buckingham palace and Windsor castle are treated as being occupied by the Crown. Both properties comprise domestic and non- domestic accommodation. The domestic accommodation is valued
Column 390for council tax. Because the Crown is exempt from rating, a contribution in lieu of rates is paid in respect of the non- domestic accommodation.
Sandringham house and Balmoral castle are occupied by Her Majesty in person. In each case, the property is valued for council tax.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to penalise public limited companies which fail to pay their bills promptly.
Mr. Aitken: It is for individual suppliers rather than Government to seek redress from business customers who fail to honour agreed credit terms. There are therefore no plans to introduce any system of penalties. The Government announced a package of measures, in the White Paper on competitiveness in May 1994, to address late payment. One of the measures is the implementation of proposals to require public companies to state their payment policies in the directors' reports.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from (a) hon. Members and (b) organisations outside the House, during the past 12 months relating to making exempt from VAT repairs to public buildings owned or run by charitable organisations; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: I have received a small number of representations for repair and maintenance to charity buildings to be exempt from VAT. Such an exemption would not be permissible under the EC sixth VAT directive.
Mr. Hanson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consultations he has had with the British Amusement and Catering Trades Association with regard to the proposed amusement machine licence duty; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: As announced in the Budget, implementation of this new duty will not take place until November 1995. This will allow Customs and Excise to consult with the trade on the scope and coverage of amusement machine licence duty. I am aware that BACTA is collating information from its members and will be making representations to me in a meeting on 23 January.
Sir David Steel: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the duty on amusement machines is to be imposed on the basis of the number of players per machine; and how he expects the imposition of duty to affect employment prospects within the industry at all levels.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: The proposals contained in the Finance Bill for the duty on amusement machines provide that the number of chargeable machines equates to the number of simultaneous playing positions. This mirrors the existing provisions for gaming machines. I am meeting representatives of the industry on 23 January and will give careful consideration to any representations they make about employment prospects as a result of the introduction of this new duty.
Mr. David Nicholson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes have taken place in the blind persons' tax allowances in each year since 1989; what was the cost thereof; and if he will make a statement on his decision in the November 1994 Budget.
Sir George Young: The blind person's allowance is not subject to statutory annual indexation. However, it was doubled in 1990 91 from £540 to £1,080 and further increased to £1,200 in 1994 95. At 1995 96 income levels, the cost of the allowance is expected to be about £3 million greater than if the allowance were available only at its 1989 90 level of £540. Between 1989 90 and 1995 96, the allowance has increased by almost 70 per cent. in real terms.
Mr. Butterfill: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much compensation has been paid out directly by insurance companies regulated by the Life Assurance and Unit Trust Regulatory Organisation to investors who have suffered losses in respect of life and pensions business as a result of bad advice and fraud in each year since 1988.
Mr. Nelson: I regret that this information is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. In the first instance, investors' complaints go directly to the life office involved. Where agreement is reached at this stage, firms are not required to publish details. If agreement cannot be reached, the Insurance Ombudsman Bureau can intervene. The ombudsman does not publish a breakdown of awards made to investors in the form requested.
Sir Peter Fry: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will ensure that the hon. Member for Wellingborough receives a written reply to the questions he asked the Paymaster General during the debate on the Value Added Tax (Transport) Order on 11 January concerning the Confederation of Passenger Transport's query on exclusive tours and the effect of the sixth VAT directive M/388 EEC on the implementation of the order.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: I can assure my hon. Friend that I shall be writing to him in reply to the questions that he asked.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the effect of the Government's proposals in clause 140 of the Finance Bill 1995 on (a) the public expenditure new control total and (b) the total tax revenue in (i) 1993 94, (ii) 1994 95 and (iii) 1995 96.
Sir George Young [holding answer 13 January 1995]: Clause 140 will put right a defect in existing law and does not represent any change in existing practice. The recent "Financial Statement and Budget Report" does not show it as having any effect.
Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions the Treasury has had with (a) the Department of Health and (b) representatives of the
Column 392private medical insurance providers, regarding extending tax relief to all people with private medical insurance.
Sir George Young [holding answer 13 January 1995]: The Treasury receives representations from, and has discussions with, a wide range of organisations with regard to taxation issues. These have included both the Department of Health and representatives of private medical insurance providers.
Mr. Darling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the principal reasons for the reduction in forecast receipts from the insurance premium tax in 1994 95 and 1995 96 contained in table 4A.1 of the "Financial Statement and Budget Report 1995 96" compared with the equivalent figures in table 4.1 of the "Financial Statement and Budget Report 1994 95".
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory [holding answer 16 January 1995]: Revision to the forecast for insurance premium tax for 1994 95 reflects the decision made after the publication of the 1994 FSBR to change from monthly to quarterly tax returns. This is expected to delay some receipts from 1994 95 into 1995 96. The revision to receipts for 1995 96 is well within likely forecasting error, but reflects a revised view of the likely trend of lower premiums.
Mr. Darling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from the insurance industry in response to the consultations he announced on 29 November 1994 on his proposals to extend the powers of Customs and Excise in connection with the collection of insurance premium tax.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory [holding answer 16 January 1995]: Representations were received from the Association of British Insurers, which represents insurance companies that will account for the vast majority of insurance premium tax. Representations concerned the implementation and application of the tax and they have been taken into account in drafting legislation.
Mr. Timms: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the initial cash bid received from each cable franchisee awarded a cable franchise under the Broadcasting Act 1990.
Mr. Ian Taylor: The initial cash bids for the West Kent and the Blackpool and Fylde franchises were £1,600,210.75 and £762,000 respectively.
Mr. Timms: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many cable franchises have been awarded under the Broadcasting Act 1990 in each year since the Act became law.
Mr. Ian Taylor: Two local delivery franchises have been awarded since the Broadcasting Act became law. Both were awarded during 1994, the first for the West Kent franchise, awarded on 19 May, and the second for the Blackpool and Fylde franchise, on 15 September.
Mr. Timms: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how much revenue has been derived from cable franchisees in (a) application fees and (b) tender payments in each year since the enactment of the Broadcasting Act 1990.
Mr. Ian Taylor: The application fee for the two franchises which have so far been awarded was £15,000 each. No tender payments have yet been made.
Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what economic development initiatives his Department has undertaken in the northern region in 1994; and what initiatives are planned for 1995.
Mr. Ian Taylor: In 1994, Government offices began to implement the measures contained in the competitiveness White Paper in consultation with the northern regional business community. In addition, my Department's programmes of assistance continue to operate in the region--for example, regional selective assistance in assisted areas--and a range of economic development projects will be funded through the single regeneration budget. For 1995, the focus will again be on the competitiveness White Paper and establishing full regional business link coverage by the middle of the year. A significant proportion of the region will also benefit from European structural funds as well as the continuation of the full range of other programmes.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the President of the Board of Trade which airlines have been granted preferred carrier status for civil servant travel to overseas destinations.
Mr. Heseltine: The preferred carrier for any particular civil servant's travel will depend on the circumstances of the journey concerned and value for money. My Department has non-exclusive arrangements with British Airways, British Midland Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Sabena Belgian Airlines, Air UK, Manx Airlines (Europe), Teeside Aviation and Air France.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what action is being taken to control the import of raw materials produced by prisoners or those kept in similar conditions.
Mr. Needham: With limited exceptions, the importation into the United Kingdom of any goods produced in any foreign prison or like establishment is banned by the Foreign Prison Made Goods Act 1897, as amended in 1988. Enforcement is a matter for HM Customs and Excise, which is dependent on receiving sufficient evidence, specific to the consignment concerned, of prison-made origin.
Mr. Ronnie Campbell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what role his Department has played in assisting inward investment by Taiwanese manufacturing companies in Northumberland.
Mr. Ian Taylor: My Department has provided regional selective assistance grants to the following projects:
(i) £8.25 million to Europa Magnetics Corporation of Cramlington to create 550 new jobs manufacturing floppy disks;
(ii) £250,000 to Synpac Chemicals Ltd. of Bedlington to create 57 jobs manufacturing chemicals; and
(iii) £90,000 to Lite-On Ltd. of Ashington to create 85 jobs manufacturing customised power supply components for electrical and electronic equipment.
In addition, my Department is working closely with the Northern Development Co., the local authorities, Northumberland training and enterprise council and others to provide a full aftercare service to all inward investors in the county, including those of Taiwanese origin.
Mr. Deva: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what proportion of companies which are founded in the United kingdom go bankrupt within two years.
Mr. Jonathan Evans: The information requested is not available.
Ms Hoey: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will consider setting up an inquiry into the trading and competition practices within professional football.
Mr. Jonathan Evans: Under competition legislation, responsibility for considering and, if appropriate, investigating allegations of anti- competitive behaviour lies with the Director General of Fair Trading in the first instance. If the hon. Member has any evidence of business practices within professional football which may merit investigation under competition legislation, she should pass the evidence to him.
Mr. Battle: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how much his Department spent supporting academic research into the applications of biotechnology in the last year for which figures are available; and what proportion of the total public research and development budget this represents.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: I have been asked to reply.
Some £102 million was spent supporting academic research into biotechnology by the research councils in 1992 93. This was 1.9 per cent. of the total public civil and defence research and development budget.
Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what was the total number of full-time students in higher education in each of the last five years.
Mr. Boswell: The information requested is shown in the table:
Full-time higher education student enrolments (all domiciles) in England-1989 to 1993 Year |Number --------------------------------- 1993-94 |<1>839,000 1992-93 |763,000 1991-92 |671,000 1990-91 |593,000 1989-90 |544,000 Source: USR, DFE (FESR). <1> Provisional.
Mr. Ronnie Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many nursery school places are currently available in Northumberland.
Mr. Forth: Information on the number of nursery school places is not collected centrally. The number of pupils being taught in maintained nursery schools in Northumberland local education authority in January 1994 was 128.
Mr. Ronnie Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will give the total number of pupils on school rolls and the pupil-to- teacher ratio in primary schools in Northumberland for each year since 1988 to 1994.
Mr. Robin Squire: The information requested is shown in the table.
Pupils and pupil: teacher ratios in maintained primary schools in Northumberland LEA 1988-94 Position in January each year |Pupils (FTEs<1>) |Pupil:teacher |ratio<2> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1988 |19,382 |22.8 1989 |19,168 |22.5 1990 |19,505 |23.0 1991 |19,468 |23.5 1992 |19,710 |23.2 1993 |20,131 |23.8 1994 |20,243 |24.3 <1> Counting each part-time pupil as 0.5 full-time equivalent. <2> Including the full-time equivalent of part-time teachers.
Mr. Ronnie Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many pupils in the Northumberland education authority from families currently on income support or the family credit scheme will be entitled to free school meals.
Mr. Robin Squire: Only income support entitles pupils to a free school meal, although there is cash assistance within family credit. On census day in January 1994, the number of pupils known to be eligible for a free school meal in maintained schools in Northumberland education authority was 7,950--15.4 per cent. of day pupils.
Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what amount of GEST funds was available at the original introduction of the national curriculum; and what amount is available to local education authorities now;
(2) if she will list the amount of GEST funds allocated to each education authority at the original introduction of the national curriculum and for each subsequent year.
Mr. Forth: The GEST programme in 1988 89, when the national curriculum was introduced, supported LEA expenditure of £322.5 million, of which £9 million was for activities related to the national curriculum. In 1995 96, the GEST programme will support LEA expenditure of £251 million, of which £40.1 million will be for national curriculum related activities. The Department pays grant on this expenditure at the rate of 60 per cent. in most cases. This information sought for each education authority for each year since 1988 89 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will list by individual school and further education college in England the total budget allocated to each participating institution to fund GNVQs in each year since 1991; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Boswell: This information is not available to the Department. The great majority of the funding allocated to schools and colleges by local education authorities, the Further Education Funding Council and the Funding Agency for Schools is unhypothecated and total funds for the support of GNVQs are not therefore identified separately. As part of the GNVQ part 1 pilot scheme announced by the Minister of State on 21 December, 118 schools will receive specific support for part 1 GNVQ in 1995 96 under the Government's GEST programme or through other special grants. A table concerning the allocations made for individual schools has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what resources were specifically allocated in order to fund general national vocational qualifications in schools and further education colleges in England in each year since 1990; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Boswell: Under the Government's specific grant programmes, the following allocations have been made for vocational qualifications since 1990 91. Since 1992--93, these have focused on GNVQ support in schools, following the introduction of GNVQs in September 1992.
Year |£ million ------------------------------ 1990-91 |2.0 1991-92 |2.1 1992-93 |3.0 1993-94 |5.5 1994-95 |5.2 1995-96 |13.3
Ms Janet Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what is the division of responsibilities and relationship between her departmental Ministers and agencies.
Mr. Forth: In the case of the Department's one next steps agency, the Teachers' Pensions Agency, the respective responsibilities of the Secretary of State and the chief executive are set out in the agency's framework document of 1 April 1992, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many pupils in residential care are excluded from local authority schools in (a) Kirklees, (b) in all Yorkshire council areas and (c) nationally.
Mr. Forth: This information is not available centrally.