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Miss Lestor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the final preparatory committee for the world summit for social development which ended in New York on 27 January.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: The final preparatory committee of the world summit for social development took place in New York from 16 to 18 January. It made considerable progress on the draft declaration and programme of action covering the three core issues of the summit: (a) the enhancement of social integration; (b) alleviation and reduction of poverty; (c) generation of productive employment. The draft texts will be finalised at the summit in Copenhagen from 6 to 12 March.
Mr. Etherington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Russian Government concerning the invasion of Chechnya; what consideration he has given to suspension of economic aid and trade contracts with Russia; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: The Russians are well are of our concerns about their handling of the intervention in Chechnya and, in particular, at the appalling civilian casualties. Most recently, on 24 January, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister wrote to President Yeltsin recognising that there are no easy answers to this deep-rooted problem, but pressing President Yeltsin to put an early end to the fighting; allow humanitarian relief; and work for a political agreement which allows the Chechen people to express their identity within the Russian Federation.
We have encouraged Russia to assist the Organisation on Security and Co- operation in Europe in its efforts to help find a solution to this tragic conflict. We fully support the OSCE's involvement. A senior British official was a member of the OSCE team which has just visited Chechnya. We are also assisting humanitarian relief efforts. The ODA has committed £1 million.
Our aim remains to support democratic reform in Russia. At present, we believe it would be counterproductive to suspend our assistance programmes. Those that would be the most affected are reformers who are feeling most beleaguered at present.
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consideration has been given by his Department to structural changes in the UN, including the Security Council, and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: In our continuing efforts to improve the performance of the UN, we look at all aspects of the organisation, including structures. For example, we have played a leading role in the restructuring of the UN's peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts. We support the proposed enlargement of the UN Security Council and are playing an active role in the debate in New York.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will provide estimates for the total amount that has been paid to N. M. Rothschild and Sons Ltd. with respect to any work undertaken by it on privatisation programmes in which his Department has been engaged since 1979 after taking account of inflation.
Mr. Goodlad: The situation in Burma remains of great concern. Our policy and that of our European Union partners is one of critical dialogue with the State Law and Order Restoration Council. We have made it clear that normalisation of our relations depends on progress in key areas, including human rights and political and economic reform.
Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the current establishment of the United Kingdom embassy in Algeria; and what safety precautions have been taken.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: There are currently four diplomats at the embassy in Algiers. The staffing situation is kept under regular review in the light of the security situation there. The diplomats are protected by a team of nine Royal Military police. Major improvements have been made to the physical security of the embassy and staff accommodation.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: We deplore the escalating violence on both sides. We call for a wider dialogue involving all those who reject violence with a view to holding genuine elections during the course of this year. We call on the Algerian Government to continue implementing its International Monetary Fund--approved programme of economic reforms.
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek information from the US Government about the reason why the US air force intelligence document relating to Pan Am 103 produced in 1991 was provided to the parties in a legal dispute relating to the destruction of the aircraft.
Column 622to seek information about Ali Akbar Mohtashemi following the production of the US air force intelligence document relating to Pan Am 103 in 1991;
(2) what representations were made to the Government of the Republic of Syria to seek information about terrorist groups following the production of the US air force intelligence document relating to Pan Am 103 in 1991.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: None. As I indicated in my reply to my hon. Friend of 26 January, Official Report, column 332, the allegation contained in the document was first made at an early stage in the Lockerbie investigation, was examined at the time, but no evidence has been found to substantiate it.
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when Mr. Edwin Bollier of the Swiss Company Mebo sought the opportunity to see the circuit board relating to the timing device in Pan Am 103; and whether permission has been given.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: My noble and learned Friend the Lord Advocate has repeatedly made it clear that it would not be proper to discuss communications between the prosecuting authorities and a potential witness in pending criminal proceedings.
Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions departmental officials met representatives of Ian Greer Associates (a) formally and (b) informally on 26 January to discuss matters relating to their clients' interests.
Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will set out for each of the next steps agencies in his Department, whether they have acquired their own headquarters buildings and, if so, at what purchase cost or annual rental; how many support staff they have required which were not required when their operations were within his Department; how many of them publish periodical journals and at what annual cost; how many have fleets of executive cars or single executive cars and at what annual cost; how many have specially designed logos and at what cost; how many have corporate clothing and at what cost; and what is the cost of specially designed and printed corporate stationery.
Mr. Hague: The Department of Social Security has six next steps agencies: the Benefits, Contributions, Resettlement, War Pensions, Information Technology Services and Child Support Agencies. Each agency is set demanding annual targets for efficiency and quality of
Column 623service, and running cost budgets are tightly controlled and subject to specific efficiency savings targets. Direct comparisons between pre and post-agency performance are difficult to make because of change in work loads and the introduction of new work such as that of the Child Support Agency. It is, however, clear that there have been significant improvements as illustrated, for example, in
Column 624the published evaluation reports on the Resettlement and Contributions Agencies.
Because of changes in work loads and work organisations, it is not possible directly to compare the numbers of support staff before and after the establishment of agencies. The other information requested on agencies' expenditure is in the table.
|Information |Child |Contributions |Resettlement |War Pensions |Technology |Support |Benefits Agency |Agency |Agency |Agency |Services Agency |Agency ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Headquarters buildings |Quarry <1>House purchased |<3>None |<3>None |The Agency is moving in |<3>None |<3>None |at a cost of <2>£54 million. |February to a new |No.1 Trevelyan Square |building on the Norcross |has an annual rent of |site, built at a cost of |<2>£485,623 |<2>£12 million Periodical journals |£528,000p.a |£64,000p.a |None |£10,000p.a |£90,000p.a |None Executive car(s) |None |None |None |None |None |None Specially designed logos |£11,900 |£19,800 |None |£13,574 |Designed |£58,750 |in-house at | minimal cost Corporate clothing |<4>£4,117,810 |<4>£18,235 |None |None |None |None Specially designed and corporate stationery |<5>£255,377 |<5>£29,204 |<5>£264 |<5>£9,364 |<5>£14,305 |<5>£32,930 <1> Quarry House is shared with the NHS executive. <2> There was a good business case for moving to new premises, and the moves will result in long-term savings. <3> The Contributions, Resettlement, Information Technology Services and Child Support Agencies headquarters occupy sites that were part of DSS before the agencies were created. <4> Figure given is total to date. <5> Figure given is expenditure to date in the current financial year.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 19 December, Official Report, columns 929 30, which posts were filled as a result of the employment of executive search agencies; which executive search companies were involved in this exercise; and what were the values of the individual contracts involved.
W |Name of Executive |search Name of post |Agency involved --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pensions Ombudsman |Price Waterhouse Director of Resource |Price Waterhouse Management and Planning Director of Procurement |Purchasing and Materials (not yet finalised) | Management Services [PMMS] The value of individual contracts is confidential.
Mr. McAllion: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proportion and number of non-industrial civil servants in the departments and agencies for which he has responsibility are registered disabled and disabled as defined by the Cabinet Office document "Focus on Ability."
Mr. Hague: On 1 July 1994, the number of registered disabled people in the Department was 1,574. This represented 1.8 per cent. of all staff. Figures for the number and proportion of all disabled people employed in the Department are not yet available. We are still
Column 624conducting surveys, but indications at this stage are that there are at least as many non-registered disabled people in the Department as there are registered.
Dr. Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many complaints have been received by the Child Support Agency since its inception; how many complaints have resulted in financial redress; on what basis financial redress has been made; and if he will give details of the individual and total payments that have been made.
Letter from Miss Ann Chant to Dr. Tony Wright, dated 31 January 1995:
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security on complaints about the Child Support Agency.
From 5 April 1993 to 30 November 1994 the Agency recorded 29,621 complaints. No distinction is made between complaints against the operations of the Agency and those concerning child support legislation.
A special payment will be considered where a clear and unambiguous error by the Agency has resulted in an actual financial loss to the client. To the end of November, 16 such payments had been paid, totalling £1,148.46. This figure includes single payments of £310.00, £300.00, £172.39, £105.91, £100.00, £65.80, £25.00; two payments of £15.00, and six payments for various amounts less than £10.00.
I hope this reply is helpful.
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his Department's estimate of the number of women aged (a) 60 to 65, (b) 65 to 70, (c) 70 to 75, (d) 75 to 80 and (e) over 80 years who have access to (i) only state benefits, (ii) state benefits and state earnings-related pension scheme, (iii) own occupational pensions, (iv) own private pensions and (v) benefits from deceased partners.
Table 1: Numbers of women pensioners with only state benefits, by age Age |60 to 64 |65 to 74 |75 to 79 |80 and over ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Number |200,000 |300,000 |200,000 |250,000 N.B: these figures are for benefit units so that the husband's income is taken into account for married women.
Table 2: Numbers of women pensioners with an Occupational Pension, by age |75 and Age |60-64 |65-69 |70-74 |over ------------------------------------------------ Number |500,000|650,000|600,000|550,000 Notes: 1. Due to sample sizes it has been necessary to merge age ranges from those requested. 2. Estimates are rounded to the nearest 50,000, they are based on small sample sizes and should be treated with caution. 3. Estimates are derived from the 1992 family expenditure survey and the 1991 GAD survey of occupational pensions. 4. SERPS is a state benefit and is therefore included in table 1. 5. Information on the numbers of women receiving private pensions is not available. 6. Separate figures for women receiving occupational pensions and benefits by virtue of their deceased husbands are not available. They are included in the information in table 2.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will provide estimates for the total amount that has been paid to N. M. Rothschild and Sons Ltd. with respect to any work undertaken by it on privatisation programmes in which his Department has been engaged since 1979 after taking account of inflation.
Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security on how many occasions departmental officials met representatives of Ian Greer Associates (a) formally and (b) informally on 26 January to discuss matters relating to its clients' interests.
Mr. Wareing: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people in the Liverpool area have appealed to a social security appeal tribunal against a decision that they have been found fit for work or work within limits; what percentage of appellants was successful; and if he will give the figures for those who were represented and those who were not with the corresponding success rates.
Appeals on invalidity benefit in the North West Region Year ending 1993 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Lodged |3,775 Heard and Decided |1,754 In Appellant's Favour |56 per cent. Representative and/or Representative and Appellant Present |882 In Appellant's Favour |76 per cent. No Representative Present |872 In Appellant's Favour |36 per cent. Source: The annual social security appeal tribunal statistics 1993 produced by the Government Statistical Service.
Mr. Arbuthnot: I have today laid before the House a report that the Government Actuary has made on the operation of Social Security Acts between April 1985 and April 1990 in accordance with section 137 of the Social Security Act 1975. The report provides a detailed forward look into the next century of the possible future costs of benefits paid out of the national insurance fund and the contributions likely to be needed to pay for them. The report also takes account of proposals in the Pensions Bill and I welcome the extra information it provides to the debate.
Mr. Malone: No. National health service trusts have powers under the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 to determine the terms of their staffs' employment contracts. However, the Department has issued guidance to trusts--TEL(94)3--which makes it clear that they are expected to use these powers responsibly with regard to probity and value for money. Copies of the guidance are available in the Library.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the number of surgical procedures carried out by persons not legally qualified to operate on patients in each of the last three years for which figures are available.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make it her policy to require all meetings of NHS trusts to discuss tendering to be fully minuted; and what assessment she has made of NHS trusts' compliance with European Community tendering regulations.
Mr. Sackville: No. Paragraph 8 of section 10 of the Public Supply Contracts Regulations 1991 already requires national health service trusts to prepare a record in relation to the award of all contracts and sets out the information to be recorded. We are satisfied that NHS trusts are fully aware of their statutory obligations under those regulations.
Mr. Jack Thompson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the mental hospitals in the northern region in which there are patients suffering from involuntary tranquilliser addiction.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will carry out a study to determine the influence that private practice in the same unit or speciality has on the waiting list and waiting time for treatment in the NHS.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list those NHS trusts where, over the past 12 months, waiting times in accident and emergency departments have been reported as being longer than five minutes for an initial assessment and longer than two hours for treatment.
Mr. Malone: Information on the percentage of patients at national health service trusts who are seen and assessed within five minutes of arrival and accident and emergency departments for the three months ended March 1994 was published in "The Patients Charter Hospital and Ambulance Services Comparative Performance Guide 1993 94", copies of which are available in the Library.
Information on patients waiting longer than two hours for treatment in accident and emergency departments is not available centrally.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what restrictions she proposes on the sale to members of the public of herbal remedies and other products currently available without restriction in health shops.
Herbal products not covered by medicines controls may fall under the provisions of food safety legislation; there are no plans to change this position.
(2) how many people are currently employed in the private health sector;
(3) how many beds there are in private nursing homes;
(4) how many people are currently employed in private nursing homes.
Mr. Sackville: On 31 March 1994, there were 11,371 beds in private hospitals and 165,021 in private nursing homes. Figures are not available for the total number of people employed in the private health care sector and in private nursing homes, but the number of nursing staff in private nursing homes was 154,688--Source K036 returns.
Mr. McAllion: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion and number of non-industrial civil servants in the Departments and agencies for which she has responsibility are registered disabled and disabled as defined by the Cabinet Office document "Focus on Ability".
Mr. Sackville: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) on 5 December 1994, Official Report , columns 85 87 . No single definition of disability is given in the Cabinet Office document "Focus On Ability".
Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the current incidence of asthma amongst children under 10 years of age in the Rotherham district health authority; and what the figures were (a) in 1985 and (b) in 1975.
Mr. Thurnham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list those local authorities which have failed to meet the requirement to spend 85 per cent. of the transfer element of the special transitional grant in the independent sector.
Mr. Bowis: Audited returns detailing community care spending in the independent sector by local authorities in 1993 94 were due to be submitted to the Department by 31 December 1994. Some returns are still outstanding and are being followed up through the Audit Commission.
(2) how many beds there are in trade union-financed nursing homes.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of whether consultants are complying with their NHS contracts and whether private practice interferes with the function of the NHS or disadvantage non-paying patients.
Mr. Malone: National health service consultants are able to undertake private practice work as well as NHS work provided that it is not to the disadvantage of the NHS or NHS patients. NHS employers are responsible for ensuring that consultants are fulfilling their contractual commitments.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health in which NHS trusts, over the past 12 months, it has been reported that operations have been cancelled on the day they were due to take place; and where, in such circumstances, patients have not been readmitted within one month.
Mr. Sackville: Information on the number of patients at national health service trusts who, having suffered two last minute cancellations, were not admitted within a month thereafter, is published, for the three months ended March 1994, in "The Patient's Charter Hospital and Ambulance Services Comparative Performance Guide 1993 1994", copies of which are available in the Library.