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Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answers to the hon. Member for Cynon Valley of 6 December, Official Report, column 168 and the hon. Member for Wallsend (Mr. Byers) 16 January, Official Report, column 286, what information is collected about the cost of upkeep of overseas diplomatic residences owned by Her Majesty's Government.
Mr. Goodlad: Information on all expenditure associated with diplomatic properties is accounted for in accordance with Government accounting rules. The expenditure on upkeep of property at posts is recorded by functional subhead--maintenance, furnishing, utilities etcetera --and not by individual property. To identify the upkeep, therefore, of owned residences of heads of post, for example, it would be necessary to extract specific information from a range of subhead records held at posts. This is not readily done. With the advent of a new financial management accounting system in April 1996, it is the FCO's intention to make aggregation of the relevant figures more easily attainable.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what factors made it (a) possible to provide information in respect of the cost of upkeep of diplomatic residences in response to the question of the hon. Member for Wallsend (Mr. Byers) of 16 January, Official Report, column 286 and (b) impossible to provide such information in response to the question of the hon. Member for Cynon Valley of 6 December, Official Report, column 168.
Column 749costs for certain posts and total entertainment costs for those posts. This information is held centrally and is therefore relatively easy to identify.
The question from the hon. Member for Cynon Valley of 6 December asked for details of the cost of the upkeep of owned residences of heads of post. Such expenditure is included in a range of overseas subheads which combine the total cost of maintenance, furnishings, utilities and other upkeep costs for overseas offices, heads of mission residences and staff residential accommodation. Since the responsibility for such maintenance is partially delegated to posts and partially exercised in London, each post would be required to prepare and submit separate analyses; this could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy in respect of UN Security Council resolutions regarding the retention of full-scale sanctions against Iraq.
a. Tandem CLX computers to the new Portsmouth dockyard Comcen. b. Ten channel RATT ship shore equipment to Faslane.
c. Two core network packet switches to other nodes in the naval shore telecommunications network. The precise destination remains subject to detailed planning for reconfiguration of the NSTN. d. NATO submarine broadcast control equipment to either Comcen Whitehall or RAF High Wycombe.
A number of small obsolescent equipments and system components at Pitreavie would be disposed of. Those with remaining useful life would be retained in store to support other Comcens.
As stated in the consultation document on Pitreavie, where final destinations for relocating equipment are unclear the most expensive option has formed the basis of the estimated costs involved.
Ms Rachel Squire: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what considerations underlay the decision to include in the average costs quoted in C31 consultation document of the defence costs study on Pitreavie of both general running costs and one-off costs.
Mr. Soames: Both general running costs and one-off costs need to be taken into account to gain a complete understanding of the overall costs and relative savings associated with particular options. This was the basis of the approach used in the consultation document on
Column 750Pitreavie. In the case of future unprogrammed one-off costs, provision was made, where appropriate, on the basis of figures derived from historical expenditure patterns.
Mr. Soames: Proposals on the future location of FOSNNI's operational headquarters were promulgated in a consultation document dated 21 October 1994. Amended financial information relating to these proposals was issued subsequently on 16 December. The period allowed for consultation was extended slightly to allow for this additional information to be studied and consultation formally completed on 6 January 1995. Responses to our proposals are currently being given careful consideration and I hope to announce a decision shortly.
Mr. Soames: Married quarters which are suitable for individual sale are normally offered for sale to service personnel through the services discount scheme. Any properties not suitable for this scheme are currently being offered for sale in bulk to housing associations at a discount in return for nomination rights on some of the properties for personnel leaving the services. Any properties not taken up through schemes are offered for sale on the open market at full market price.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the breakdown by company and country of origin of purchases of motor vehicles under his Department's enabling contract arrangements in the last year for which figures are available.
Sir Nicholas Bonsor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration he gave to the leasing of tracked tractors before inviting Caterpillar Overseas SA of Switzerland to tender for the reconditioning of 82 tracked tractors under tender No. ABRO1A2/1695; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Nicholas Bonsor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration he gave to the leasing or contract hiring of staff cars before inviting tenders for replacement of part of the staff car fleet under tender No. LV2a/255; whether the successful contractor will be required to provide maintenance of the vehicles; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman: I am pleased to confirm that an order valued in the region of £40 million has been placed with BAeSEMA to build an ocean survey vessel for the Royal Navy's hydrographic service. The new ship will be built by Appledore Shipbuilders Ltd. in Devon under sub-contract to BAeSEMA and will carry out systematic hydrographic surveys in the world's oceans, replacing the existing specialised vessel HMS Hecla. This order recognises the importance to the Royal Navy of a continuing specialist hydrographic capability and is part of the Government's plans to replace current hydrographic vessels and equipment as it becomes necessary, which were announced by the then Minister of State for Defence Procurement in the House on 8 March 1994.
Mr. Michael Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how the United Kingdom intends to respond to the recent United Nations request for additional troops and equipment to enable UNPROFOR to implement the cessation of hostilities agreement in Bosnia.
Mr. Rifkind: The Government made a formal offer to the UN yesterday of an additional United Kingdom contribution to UNPROFOR. This consists of three Royal Air Force Chinook helicopters for military resupply and movement of UNPROFOR, and a further 12 British Army helicopters, comprising six Lynx and six Gazelles for air reconnaissance and transport. A further three Chinooks will be available on standby in the UK. We are also offering to provide up to 19 additional UN military observers to augment the 18 UK UNMOs already in theatre.
In reaching this decision, the Government judged it essential to respond positively to the UN request in order to support the recent cessation of hostilities agreement, which offers an opportunity for concluding a durable, negotiated peace settlement to which all the parties can agree and by which they will abide. As a member of the five-nation contact group leading the peace negotiations, and as a nation with one of the largest military contingents in Bosnia, this positive response demonstrates the Government's firm and continuing commitment to a lasting peaceful solution to the conflict.
Mr. Soames: We have at present no plans to contractorise or privatise any of the depots or vessels administered by the Director of Marine Services (Naval). Invitations to tender will shortly be issued to a number of companies and to an in house team, however, inviting bids for the provision of services undertaken at present by the directorate.
Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those contractors who are carrying out marine service operations for his Department's Directorate of Marine Services (Naval); when they began their contract; how long the contracts were for; and which operations they cover.
Contractor |Period of contract |Operation -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- James Fisher and |3 June 1991 to 2 |Range safety Son plc | June 1995 AV Seawork |1 May 1993 to 30 |Support to training |April 1998 |exercises, |including sea |survival.
Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when was the last review carried out into the operation of his Department's Directorate of Marine Services (Naval); and what were the recommendations of that review.
Mr. Soames: A study into the feasibility of market testing the Directorate of Marine Services was completed in February 1994; this concluded that the marine services organisation should be market tested. The future of the organisation was also considered during "Front Line First", in common with all naval support services; this endorsed the findings of the market testing feasibility study.
Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many reviews have been carried out into the operation of his Department's Directorate of Marine Services (Naval) in the last 10 years; and what were the recommendations of those reviews.
Mr. Soames: In addition to the market testing feasibility study and "Front Line First", which were both completed during 1994, there have been two separate reviews of the totality of operations carried out by the Directorate of Marine Services (Naval). The first of these was undertaken during 1989 90 and resulted in a division of the directorate's responsibilities between the Commander in Chief Naval Home Command and the Chief of Fleet Support. As a result of difficulties subsequently experienced with this approach, a second review was undertaken in 1991 92, resulting in re unification of the directorate.
Her Majesty's mooring and marine salvage depot, Pembroke Dock, Dyfed;
The NATO mooring and support depot, Fairlie, Strathclyde; Marine services bases within HM naval bases at Devonport, Portsmouth, Portland, Faslane and Rosyth;
Marine services bases at Greenock and Kyle of Lochalsh.
Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what operations which are the responsibility of his Department's Directorate of Marine Services (Naval) have been privatised or contractorised in the past 10 years.
Mr. Soames: The following operations, previously the responsibility of the Directorate of Marine Services (Naval), have been privatised or contractorised during the past 10 years: Range safety at coastal ranges around the United Kingdom (contractorised);
Support to sea survival and other training exercises (contractorised);
The Gourock to Kilgreggan ferry service (privatised).
Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people have started employment at ABRO Bovington since that establishment became an agency; how many were, on recruitment, (a) established civil servants with more than 10 years service, (b) established civil servants with less than 10 years service, (c) currently unemployed, (d) ex casual or period contract MOD or civil service staff and (e) currently employed outside of the MOD and Civil Service.
Mr. Freeman: This is a matter for the chief executive of the Army Base Repair Organisation. I have therefore asked him to reply. Letter from J R Drew to Mr. Ian Bruce, dated 20 January 1995: I am responding, as Chief Executive of the Army Base Repair Organisation, to your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Defence about the number of people who have joined the staff of ABRO Bovington since the launch of the Agency on 1 April 1993.
The total number is 48, which breaks down as follows:
|Non-Industrial |Industrial Staff|Staff |Total ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- a. established civil servants with more than 10 years service: |1 |1 |2 b. established civil servants with less than 10 years service: |2 |3 |5 c. currently unemployed: |3 |3 |6 d. ex-casual or period contract MOD or Civil Service staff: |25 |2 |27 e. currently employed outside of the MOD and Civil Service: |7 |1 |8
Mr. Freeman: Hunting-BRAE Ltd., which manages and operates the Atomic Weapons Establishment on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, is today announcing a rationalisation of the sites of the establishment. This will involve some transfers of work to Aldermaston, and also the closure of the Cardiff site, the partial closure of the Burghfield site, and the transfer of the responsibility for some of the work carried out at Foulness site to the single defence science and technology agency proposed by the defence costs study. In all there will be about 850 job losses.
These proposals will be made possible by the completion of work on Trident warheads. They will allow sensible economies to be made without in any way affecting our ability to meet our present and future needs, and they have our full support. Our nuclear policy is unchanged. The Atomic Weapons Establishment will continue to underwrite the safety and reliability of warheads now in service and will retain the capability to design and produce warheads in future as circumstances make necessary.
Mr. Bowden: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the proportion of pensioners receiving income from savings identified as (a) all pensioners, (b) single male pensioners aged under 75 years, (c) single female pensioners aged under 75 years, (d) single pensioners aged under 75 years, (e) pensioner couples aged under 75 years, (f) single male pensioners aged 75 years and over, (g) single female pensioners aged 75 years and over, (h) single pensioners aged 75 years and over and (i) pensioner couples where at least one partner is aged 75 years and over; and if he will provide figures for the mean and median amount received for the latest year in which figures are available.
The proportion of Pensioners with Investment Income with the Mean and Median Amounts for those in Receipt |Proportion with |Investment |Income |Mean Amount |Median Amount |(per cent.) |(£ per week) |(£ per week) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- All Pensioner Units |76 |43.30 |10.10 Single male pensioners under 75 |70 |66.60 |23.30 Single female pensioners under 75 |72 |34.40 |7.30 Single pensioners under 75 |71 |41.00 |9.10 Pensioner couples under 75 |83 |53.60 |20.60 Single male pensioners 75 and over |68 |51.10 |8.60 Single female pensioners 75 and over |71 |25.10 |3.50 Single pensioners 75 and over |70 |30.20 |4.10 Pensioner couples with one partner 75 and over |83 |55.60 |13.40 Notes: 1. Percentages are rounded to the nearest one per cent. amounts rounded to the nearest 10p. 2. Estimates are drawn from the 1992 family expenditure survey at July 1992 prices. 3. Single pensioners are defined as those over state pension age, couples are those where the husband is over state pension age.
Mr. Bowden: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was (a) the mean and (b) the median income of (i) single pensioners and (ii) pensioner couples before and after housing costs in the latest year for which figures are available.
Mean and median income for single pensioners and pensioner couples 1992 (£ per week) |Single pensioners|Pensioner couples ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Mean net BHC |109.40 |206.20 Mean net AHC |93.00 |190.70 Median net BHC |86.30 |162.90 Median net AHC |62.80 |145.80 Notes: 1 Figures are rounded to the nearest 10p. 2 Estimates derived from the 1992 family expenditure survey. 3 "Single pensioners" are defined as single people aged over state pension age, "Pensioner couples" are married couples where the husband is over state pension age.
Mr. Arbuthnot: The information is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Estimates of the number of pensioner units who would be eligible for income support and with incomes below their income support level are contained in the DSS publication
Column 756"Income-related Benefits: estimates of take- up in 1992" which was published today. Copies have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the annual revenue which would be raised by the Exchequer if employer national insurance contributions were extended to cover all benefits in kind.
Mr. Arbuthnot: It is estimated that the extension of employers' contributions to all taxable benefits in kind would raise approximately £250 million in a full year. This is based on an estimate of taxable benefits in kind reportable to the Inland Revenue in 1994 95. It assumes the rate of national insurance contributions payable as currently chargeable under class 1A.
Mr. Bowden: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his latest estimate of the number of pensioner households which do not claim (a) housing benefit and (b) income support to which they would be entitled; and what is this figure as a proportion of the total non-take-up of these benefits.
Ms Lynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make it his policy to produce a copy of the Disability Discrimination Bill using pictures and simple text to make it accessible to people with learning difficulties.
Mr. Hague: The White Paper, which explains in detail the Bill's provisions, is available in a full and simplified summary version on audio cassette. A shortened, simplified written version is also available. We have no plans to produce copies of the Bill in pictorial formats.
Ms Lynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make it his policy to produce a copy of the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill using pictures and simple text to make it accessible to people with learning difficulties.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many parents with care on income support prior to April 1993 (a) have had their cases taken on by the Child Support Agency and (b) will have the take-on of their cases delayed;
(2) how many parents with care, who have not returned their maintenance application form for over six months, will not have their cases pursued;
Column 757(3) how many parents with care in receipt of family credit prior to April 1993 have (a) had their cases taken on by the Child Support Agency and (b) have still to have their cases taken on; (4) how many parents with care, who have returned their maintenance applications forms with insufficient information to progress the case, will not have their case pursued; and, in this category, what is the Child Support Agency's definition of insufficient information; (5) if parents with care who do not return their maintenance application forms for six months or more will have their cases delayed or if this provision will apply only to those outstanding for more than six months at 20 December 1994.
Letter from Ann Chant to Mr. Frank Field, dated 20 January 1995: I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Questions to the Secretary of State for Social Security on the operations of the Child Support Agency.
Between April 1993 and the end of October 1994, the Agency recorded the issue of 1,111,700 maintenance application forms to parents with care. Of these, 291,000 went to parents who were in receipt of income support before the implementation of the Child Support Act 1991, and 296,000 to parents receiving Family Credit (FC) or Disability Working Allowance (DWA). Cases where FC or DWA was in payment prior to April 1993 cannot be identified separately within this latter figure, but there should be no remaining cases in this category where an application form has not been issued to the parent with care.
The measures announced on 20 December will enable the Agency to give priority to improving its performance in achieving accurate and regular payments of maintenance in the applications already received, and in the new cases which it will continue to take on.
The measures allow the Agency to defer the take on of the remaining pre April 1993 income support cases, with an estimated 340, 000 cases being deferred.
In addition, some several thousand cases are expected to be deferred where an application form was issued more than six months ago but either has not been returned at all, or is lacking information necessary to progress the case. Such information includes, for example, details of the absent parent and/or the qualifying child. Parents who have returned their incomplete form will be asked whether they wish the Agency to continue to process their application at the present time. This will be a one off exercise relating only to maintenance application forms issued before 1 July 1994.
A precise figure will be available for the cases which can be deferred where the application form was issued before 1 July once an exercise has been completed to identify those which fulfil the criteria. This should be about the middle of March.
The Agency will continue to deal with all applications arising from new and repeat claims to benefit, and from parents not in receipt of benefit without existing maintenance agreements. It will also still be able to take on cases where parents in receipt of income support wish to make an early application for a maintenance assessment. There is absolutely no question of deferring a case because the Absent Parent has refused to cooperate with the Agency. The Agency will recommence the take on of the deferred cases where the Parent With Care is currently in receipt of a prescribed benefit just as soon as it is in a position to deal with them promptly and effectively.
I hope that this is of help.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many parents with care since implementation of the Child Support Act 1991 have (a) not returned the maintenance application form, (b) had
Column 758good cause accepted and (c) been subject to the benefit penalty.
Letter from Ann Chant to Mr. Frank Field, dated 20 January 1995: I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the total number of maintenance assessment forms not returned to the Child Support Agency and the number of claims by Parents With Care (PWC) of good cause not to cooperate with the Agency in arranging maintenance.
According to the Agency's records, 1,111,733 maintenance application forms have been issued and 802,561 returned. However, not all of the remainder still have action outstanding since good cause activity will either have been completed or still be ongoing in many. In others, the parent with care will no longer be in receipt of a prescribed benefit.
The Agency accepted that in 57,000 cases the PWC had good cause not to cooperate with the Agency. Of the 39,000 cases where good cause was not accepted, a total of 11,500 reduced benefit directions were issued to the Benefits Agency for imposition.
Details of the number of cases in which benefit was actually reduced is not currently available, except at disproportionate cost. The Agency is, however, taking steps which will make this information available in the future.
I hope that this is of help.