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Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what amount of money was recovered through investigations into social security fraud in the last financial year; and how many staff were employed on these duties.
Mr. Arbuthnot: The administration of fraud work is a matter for Michael Bichard, 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. Simon Hughes, dated 17 January 1995:
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the amount of money recovered through fraud investigations in the last financial year and the staff employed on these duties.
Over 3,000 staff are involved in the investigation of benefit fraud.
Estimated benefit savings, from fraud identified and stopped during 1993 94, were £654m. The value of overpaid benefit actually recouped, including fraud cases, totalled £80m. 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. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will total the number of instances where information from non- custodial parents alleging social security fraud by the parent with care has (a) been reported to the Child Support Agency and (b) been referred to the Benefits Agency for action; and what has been the outcome of these investigations, in respect of each three months of the CSA's existence.
Mr. Burt: It is not a business requirement of the Child Support Agency to keep statistics centrally on allegations of benefit fraud as any such allegation is referred to the Benefits Agency for investigation. Statistics provided by the BA on the numbers of cases referred by the CSA and those investigations which subsequently yielded a weekly benefit saving are as follows:
|Total |July- |October- |April- |April- |September|November |November |June 1994|1994 |1994<2> |1994 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Referrals<1> |2,897 |2,664 |2,049 |7,610 Cases yielding WBS |1,131 |1,086 |748 |2,961 Percentage |39 |41 |37 |39 <1>No information is kept on the origins of an allegation eg: Absent Parent, Parent with Care or other. <2>Two months only.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many invalidity benefit awards have been (a) reviewed, (b) disallowed following review and (c) reinstated on appeal during the last 12 months in each of the Doncaster and Mexborough area Benefits Agency offices.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Martin Redmond, dated 17 January 1995:
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about Invalidity Benefit (IVB) awards in Doncaster and Mexborough.
The Benefits Agency (BA) Doncaster District comprises Doncaster West District Office (DO) and Doncaster East Benefit Office (BO). Reviews of IVB cases appropriate to the Doncaster District are centralised at Doncaster West DO.
Mexborough BO is part of the BA Rother and Dearne District which comprises Rotherham South DO and Goldthorpe, Mexborough and Rotherham North BO's. Reviews of IVB cases for customers dealt with by Mexborough BO are dealt with at that office.
The information requested is provided in the following table:
IVB awards reviewed between 1 January and 31 December 1994 |IVB awards |IVB awards |reviewed and |reinstated on Office |disallowed |appeal -------------------------------------------------------- Doncaster DO |616 |126 Mexborough BO |260 |55
Requests for review were received by the Adjudication Officer (AO) in 707 cases at Doncaster and 383 at Mexborough. Of those cases, the AO decided that in 91 cases at Doncaster and 123 at Mexborough the requirements for entitlement to IVB were still satisfied and IVB should not be reviewed. However, in the remaining cases the AO decided that the award of IVB should be reviewed and disallowed. I hope you find this reply helpful.
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what were the full costs of the Government's current campaign on disability; and if he will break down the expenditure by category of advertisement and publication.
Break down of expenditure ----------------------------------------------------------- Advertising Posters |£490,000 Press |£310,000 Insertion appear in: Daily Star |Daily Mirror Daily Express |Daily Mail Today |The Sun The Guardian |The Independent Daily Telegraph |The Times News of the World |Sunday Mirror The People |Sunday Express Mail on Sunday |The Observer Sunday Telegraph |Sunday Mail Publications You and Disability leaflet |£76,000 Braille and audiotape |£2,000 Marketing/distribution |£44,000 Research |£78,000 The Costs of individual press insertions are negotiated individually by our advertising agency and are commercial in confidence.
Ms Lynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the number of disabled people in the United Kingdom; how that figure is arrived at; when it was last calculated and by what method; when he plans to update the figure; and what definition of disabled people is used for the calculation of these figures.
Mr. Hague: All the information is contained in the Office of Population, Censuses and Surveys, surveys on disability in Great Britain published between September 1988 and July 1989, copies of which are held in the Library. No date has been set for a further survey.
|Number ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Income Support recipient with pensioner premiums |1,492,000 Housing Benefit recipients with pensioner premiums |1,977,000 Notes: -some 900,000 Income Support recipients will also be in receipt of Housing Benefit. -Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand. -a case is defined as being a pensioner if in receipt of the pensioner premium, higher pensioner premium or enhanced pensioner premium. Source: Income Support Statistics Annual Enquiry May 1993. Housing Benefit Management Information Statistics May 1993.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security under what circumstances payments of income support are made to persons under 18 years of age; how many such recipients are currently recorded; and what is the average weekly payment to such persons.
Mr. Roger Evans: Young people aged 16 and 17 can claim income support at any time if their circumstances exempt them from the availability for work rules. In addition those who have ceased compulsory education and of necessity have to live independently from their family because they are estranged can claim in the period that their parents would have received child benefit. The young person is required to register unemployed with the Employment Service and for work or training opportunities with the careers service.
Outside the child benefit period, the temporarily sick with supporting medical evidence can claim until fit for
Column 544work or training, as can recently discharged offenders who are estranged from their family for up to eight weeks, provided they are registered for work and training.
Further, the Secretary of State may direct that income support be paid to any registered young person who is not entitled under the above rules but who would be at risk of unavoidable severe hardship if benefit were withheld. Income support would normally be paid until a job or a Government training place is secured.
The number of income support recipients aged under 18 is 36,000 and the average weekly amount paid is £36.79.
Source: Income Support Statistics Quarterly Enquiry February 1994 (sample survey of 1/20 cases). The figure is rounded to the nearest thousand.
Mr. Roger Evans: Details of the changes announced in my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's uprating statement on 30 November 1994 were issued to all local authorities in mid-December. Officials are currently discussing the housing benefit proposals with the local authority associations before preparing regulations and detailed guidance, which will be issued to all authorities nearer to the October 1995 implementation date.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many staff in his Department have reported an offer of employment from an outside employer since February 1993 as required under the civil service management code; and how many of these reports were followed by an application to join the company concerned.
Records that are kept relate to staff who have made an application to take up an outside business appointment. The total for the Department since February 1993 is six.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the actual expenditure total for his Department for the combined years from 1990 91 to 1995 96 in 1994 prices; and what is his estimate of total expenditure assuming that unemployment from 1990 91 to 1995 96 had remained constant at the average unemployment level of 1990 91.
Actual expenditure total for Department of Social Security ]£ millions [TITRE ---------------------------------------------------- Amount (1994-95 prices) |69,206|75,451|82,975
Estimated expenditure if unemployment remained constant at 1990-91 level £ millions Year |1991-92|1992-93 ------------------------------------------------ Amount (1994-95) prices |75,218 |82,594 1.The data source is the Government Expenditure Plans 1990-91 to 1992-93 (CM 1014) and the 1994 Departmental Report. 2.1992-93 is the latest year for which the actual outturn figures are available.
Dame Peggy Fenner: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food pursuant to his oral answer to the hon. Member for St. Ives (Mr. Harris) on 10 January, Official Report , columns 21-22 , if he will make available fuller details of the agreement that was reached on the integration of Spain and Portugal into the common fisheries policy.
Mr. Waldegrave: The Council reached agreement on the basis of documents prepared by the German presidency. It is the intention that legal instruments embodying the agreement should be issued as soon as possible. These will be made available to the House in the usual way. However, in order to facilitate hon. Members' consideration of the matter, I have placed copies of the substance of the agreement in the Library of the House.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will make a statement about the offence which will be committed by a Spanish vessel fishing for non precious stocks in the North sea as a full participant in the common fisheries policy after 1 January 1996;
(2) for what reasons he informed fishermen in his letter after the December Fisheries Council that the exclusion of Spanish fishermen from the North sea would continue unaffected.
Mr. Jack: The recent negotiations on Spain and Portugal confirmed that Spain has acquired no fishing rights in the North sea after 1 January 1996. The decisions reached at the December Fisheries Council on Spanish and Portuguese integration in the common fisheries policy apply only to those waters referred to in their act of accession west of 4 deg west and the English channel. Council regulation 1275/94, article 4, adopted by the Fisheries Council last April, provides a possibility for the Commission to make a proposal granting Spain access to other waters, including the North sea, for non quota species taking account of track record in a recent and representative period. However, unless and until such a proposal is made, and a Council decision taken on it, it will remain an offence for Spain to fish in the North sea.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what system of reporting is proposed by him for Spanish vessels fishing in the Irish box as a result of the December Fisheries Council agreement; what plans he has for reporting in person to the coastal state on arrival and departure; to whom the vessels will report; and what co- ordination will be developed with Irish authorities.
Mr. Jack: Further to the agreement reached at the December Fisheries Council, detailed plans for the implementation of control measures for the Irish box from 1 January 1996 have still to be developed. These, along with other matters, will be the subject of consultation with the fishing industry and other interested parties.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many fishermen in (a) Grimsby, (b) Hull and (c) the south-west were sent his letter of explanation after the Fisheries Council; and how the fishermen who received it were selected.
Mr. Jack: My letter explaining the outcome of the December Fisheries Council was sent to recipients of all currently valid licences issued by my Department for fishing vessels over 10m based in England and Wales. At the time that the letter was sent, there were 1,483 such vessels. A separate breakdown of the number of letters sent to people in particular areas could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Waldegrave: Precise details of the responsibilities and relationships are set out in the various agency framework documents, copies of which are in the Library of the House. In broad terms, agency chief executives report directly to me. Detailed arrangements are in place for the performance of each agency to be monitored through its ownership board which is chaired by a senior official in the core Department.
(2) what has been the consumption of veal in the United Kingdom for each year since 1985.
UK Veal Production and Consumption 1985 to 1993 |Available for |Production<1> |consumption<2> |'000 tonnes |'000 tonnes ------------------------------------------------------------ 1985 |5.3 |8.1 1986 |3.7 |6.5 1987 |3.2 |4.2 1988 |1.9 |2.8 1989 |1.4 |1.4 1990 |1.9 |2.6 1991 |2.0 |3.6 1992 |1.4 |2.4 1993<3> |0.8 |n/a <1>The meat produced from calves-under 127 kg dressed carcase weight-slaughtered in the United Kingdom. <2>Production plus imports of veal minus exports of veal-excluding live exports. <3>It is no longer possible to identify separately imports and exports of veal. Source: MAFF
Mr. Colvin: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on his review of procedures with regard to the application of the rules of the farm woodland premium scheme as they relate to the growing of coppice by Mr. David Uren.
Mr. Jack: Our legal advice is that the rules of the farm woodland premium scheme, as set out in statutory instrument 1992 No. 905, do not allow for any land converted to woodland to be managed as coppice. We have therefore reviewed the scheme rules and procedures booklet and the standing instructions to the Ministry's regional organisation on administering the scheme, to ensure that this provision is clear and is being applied consistently. The question of whether this rule or other details of the scheme should be changed can be considered as part of the review of the scheme which will begin later this year.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has made to the European Union regarding the harvesting restrictions imposed on crops grown on land which is coming out of set-aside provision.
Mr. Jack: Marketable food crops can only exceptionally be sown on set-aside land and the clear intention, supported by the text, of both EC and United Kingdom legislation is that the facility can be used only for crops sown for harvesting the following year. No reference to EU authorities is necessary in this case.
(2) how many live calves have been exported each year from 1985 (a) for veal production and (b) in total.
Mrs. Browning: The available information, relating to exports from Great Britain, was given in my answer to the hon. Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley) on 12 January, Official Report, columns 208-10. It is not possible to say what numbers were destined for veal production, or what numbers originated from dairy herds.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what measures were taken for the welfare and alternative transport of calves waiting for export at Coventry airport delayed due to the crash on 21 December 1994 of the transport aircraft, (2) what reports he has received of calves that died between 1 and 10 January while awaiting export.
Mrs. Browning [holding answer 13 January 1995]: The Department is aware of 1,587 calves that were intended to be flown out of Coventry on the day of the air crash or the day following; four exporters were involved.
Our information on these calves is derived from welfare inspections carried out by Ministry veterinary staff at premises where animals were subsequently held, from inspection carried out for certification purposes in relation to animals eventually presented for export and from information obtained from the animals' owners.
Following the unforeseen unavailability of the air route out of Coventry, alternative plans to export some of the calves on the Shoreham-Dieppe route were frustrated or delayed when the opening of the route was delayed first by bad weather and then by
Around 1,070 of the animals were sooner or later retained or sold for rearing in the United Kingdom; 435 were exported through Shoreham on 6 January and Plymouth on 7 January.
We are aware that 51 calves died, apparently from disease. Twenty-seven of these deaths occurred at one holding premises where a further 35 calves were found to be unfit for transport and were humanely slaughtered on the premises.
Sir Nicholas Bonsor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what military needs it was decided that truck- mounted concrete mixers were required, as set out in future purchase No. EM and D1A/150; what consideration has been given to leasing the equipment; what information he has as to the availability of such equipment on the civil market; why there has been a delay in the issue of tenders; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman: The two truck-mounted concrete mixers in future purchase No. EM and D1A/150 are for use for construction by the Army on operational deployment. Vehicles that meet the military specification for this requirement are not currently available for leasing or immediate purchase on the civil market. Issue of the tender has been delayed pending finalisation of the specification.
Column 549ultra-light dumpers are required as set out in future purchase No. EM and D1A/154; what consideration has been given to leasing the equipment; what information he has as to the availability of such equipment on the civil market; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman: The 39 ultra-light dumpers announced in future purchase No. EM and D1A/154 will be used for military engineering construction and training. This purchase represents a proportion of the overall Army requirement. Leasing was considered but ruled out because of cost and the extensive use of these machines on overseas deployment. The balance of the Army's requirement will be met from short-term hire on an as- required basis.
Ms Rachel Squire: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on when the consultation document on the Air Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland and the location of the rescue co- ordination centre will be published;
(2) whether RAF Kinloss is now being considered as a site for the relocation of the rescue co-ordination centre at Pitreavie and alternative to RAF Leuchars.
Mr. Soames: It remains my Department's plan to relocate the Air Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland to RAF Leuchars, although the future location of the rescue co-ordination centre is under review. I hope to make an announcement shortly. Neither relocation entails any civilian job losses and it is not therefore our intention to issue a formal consultative document. Nevertheless, the trade unions have been, and will continue to be, consulted on our plans.
Ms Rachel Squire: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the savings that are expected to accrue from the transfer of Flag Officer Scotland Northern and Northern Ireland from Pitreavie to Faslane, with particular reference to the cost of building an extra floor on the command building at Faslane to accommodate FOSNNI, compared to the maintenance of Pitreavie.
Mr. Soames: The savings accruing from the proposed transfer of FOSNNI from Pitreavie to Faslane are broken down in detail in the consultation document. These savings accrue against the option of maintaining FOSNNI's operations at Pitreavie. Since that date, further planning has revealed that the provision of an extra floor on the command building at Faslane, as opposed to the refurbishment of the building originally proposed to accommodate FOSNNI, may offer additional saving despite the slightly higher works costs--some £600, 000--involved. This is currently being evaluated and would be proceeded with only on the basis that it improved or preserved the level of savings set out in the consultation document.
Column 550Pitreavie as part of the tri-service communication network.
Mr. Soames: For as long as Pitreavie remains operational, the site will be included as one of the many establishments that the tri-service defence fixed telecommunications system will be required to serve. The development of Pitreavie in this respect would not be required. No broader development of Pitreavie for tri-service communications has been considered.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff in his Department have reported an offer of employment from an outside employer since February 1993 as required under the civil service management code; and how many of these reports were followed by an application to join the company concerned.
Mr. Freeman: No reports have been made, but offers of employment may have been submitted using the Department's usual application form. Since February 1993, 526 business appointment applications have been received.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what use is made by the service police of (a) the British Telecom Intelligence Department or (b) the Post Office Investigations Department in investigating allegations of homosexuality among armed forces personnel.
Mr. Soames: Civilian police do not, as a matter of routine, have access to the records of service personnel. They may, however, request and receive information from service records to assist in their investigations.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the failure rates of anti-personnel land mines which are intended to self-destruct or self-neutralise; and what is their purchase cost.