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Mr. Arbuthnot: Reliable figures prior to 1978 are not available. The married woman's option was abolished from April 1977 but women who had the right to pay reduced-rate contributions at this time were allowed to continue to do so provided that certain conditions were satisfied. The numbers of women who paid reduced national insurance contributions in each year since 1978 are as follows:
|Number Year |(thousands) ------------------------------------ 1978-79 |1,917 1979-80 |1,875 1980-81 |1,754 1981-82 |1,544 1982-83 |1,371 1983-84 |1,237 1984-85 |1,139 1985-86 |1,075 1986-87 |1,031 1987-88 |1,013 1988-89 |1,016 1989-90 |1,016 1990-91 |992 1991-92 |915 1992-93 |845 1993-94 |*763 * Figures for 1993-94 may not yet be complete.
Ms Lynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much money his Department estimates was lost through social security fraud in each year from 1990 to the latest year for which figures are available.
Mr. Arbuthnot: The following table details the estimated value of fraud losses prevented by Benefits Agency investigators in the four financial years since 1990 91:
|Savings Year |(£million) --------------------------------- 1990-91 |341 1991-92 |427 1992-93 |558 1993-94 |654
Although the full extent of social security fraud is not known, we are examining ways of producing a reliable estimate of the sum which might be involved.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the cost of benefits paid in each year since 1990 91 to the unemployed in (a) all benefits, (b) unemployment benefit (c) income support, (d) housing benefit and (e) council tax and other benefits; what are
Column 605the average costs of benefits for persons unemployed; and what is the corresponding information for people unemployed for more than (i) one year and (ii) two years.
Mr. Roger Evans: The available information is set out in the tables.
Column 606Information relating to the proportioning of housing benefit, council tax benefit and community charge benefit according to the length of time that people are unemployed is not kept.
Expenditure on the unemployed 1990-1994 Years beginning April |1990-1991 |1991-1992 |1992-1993 |1993-1994 Benefit |£ millions|£ millions|£ millions|£ millions -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- All benefits |5,300 |7,560 |8,970 |9,720 Unemployment benefit |870 |1,600 |1,760 |1,740 Income support |2,950 |4,230 |5,380 |5,720 Housing benefit |1,120 |1,340 |1,420 |1,910 Community charge benefit |330 |350 |380 |310 Social fund |20 |30 |30 |30 Notes: <1>The figures are rounded to the nearest £10 million <2> Totals may not sum due to rounding <3> Sources: The 1994 departmental annual report
Average weekly payments (£) of benefits for the unemployed 1990-94 Years<1> |1990-91 |1991-92 |1992-93 |1993-94 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Unemployment benefit-All |40.20 |44.64 |46.19 |47.38 Income support-All |44.69 |49.69 |53.20 |55.01 Income support-1-2 years |48.36 |53.36 |58.24 |59.59 Income support-2 years or over |49.31 |53.62 |55.89 |59.51 Housing benefit-All |26.39 |30.42 |35.94 |39.74 Community charge benefit-All |6.76 |3.85 |4.70 |- Council tax benefit-All |- |- |- |7.33 <1> The figures are as at May each year.<2> The figures for 1993-94 are estimated outturns. <3> Amounts are rounded to the nearest penny. Sources: <4> Unemployment benefit: the half-yearly analysis of unemployed claimants ( 5 per cent. sample). Income Support: the income support annual statistical enquiry (1 per cent. sample).
Sir Ralph Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, how many people are claiming income support who are actively seeking work; and if such persons are included in the official unemployment figures.
Mr. Roger Evans: As at 11 August 1994, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 1.89 million people claiming income support who were both available for and actively seeking work. They were included in the claimant unemployment count.
Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people in (a) Greenock and Port Glasgow, (b) Strathclyde and (c) Scotland as a whole have appealed to a social security appeal tribunal concerning a decision that they are fit for work, or work within limits; what percentage of these people were successful; and if he will give the figures for those who were represented and those who were not with the corresponding success rates.
Mr. Hague: Figures are available only on appeals against all decisions on invalidity benefit and for Scotland as a whole. Information on the last available full year is as follows.
Appeals on Invalidity Benefit in the Scottish Region Year ending 1993 Appeals ------------------------------------------------------------------- Lodged |4,101 Heard and Decided |1,595 In Appellant's Favour |50 per cent. Representative and/or Representative and Appellant Present |758 In Appellant's Favour |65 per cent. No Representative Present |837 In Appellant's Favour |37 per cent. Source: The annual social security appeal tribunal statistics 1993 produced by the Government Statistical Service.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what action he is taking in respect of the payment of housing benefit to prisoners; and if he will make a statement;
Column 607(2) if he will make a statement on the provision of housing benefit to the tenant of Mr. and Mrs. Shelston of 123 Southland Park road, in the light of previous representations from the hon. Member for South Hams.
Mr. Roger Evans: We are consulting the Social Security Advisory Committee and local authority associations about proposals for restricting the payment of housing benefit to prisoners to 13 weeks, and their reports are expected shortly. Subject to their views and the approval of Parliament, we intend to bring the amended regulations into effect from 1 April 1995.
Housing benefit is available in the normal way to the tenant of Mr. and Mrs. Shelston although, for reasons of confidentiality, no details can be provided.
Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people are expected to be in receipt of incapacity allowance for the years ending April 1996, 1997 and 1998; and how many of those will be (a) single, (b) claimants with partners and (c) claimants with dependant children.
Mr. Hague [holding answer Friday 27 January 1995]: The information is not available in the format requested. The available information is in the table.
Estimated number of claimants in receipt of incapacity benefit thousand |1996 |1997 |1998 ---------------------------------------------------- Total |1,800|1,685|1,635 Total with adult dependency increase |410 |345 |300 Total with child dependency increase |120 |115 |115 Notes: 1. Estimates are provisional and as such will be subject to revision at a later stage. 2. Figures rounded to the nearest thousand. 3. Figures take account of the estimated effect of the new medical test.
Mr. Dewar: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if, on the basis of information in Cm. 2714 on the Pensions Bill, he will estimate the percentage of women retiring in (a) 2000 01, (b) 2010 11, (c) 2020 21, (d) 2030 31 and (e) 2040 41 who will retire with entitlement to a full basic pension (i) under the existing scheme and (ii) after proposed changes in the Pensions Bill.
Mr. Arbuthnot: The Government Actuary advises that there is little difference between proportions of women who will receive a full basic pension under the current scheme and with the new state pension age. By 2025, almost all women, on reaching age 65, will retire with a basic pension in their own right: the average entitlement being over 90 per cent. Approximate, rounded, percentages of those who will retire with a full basic pension, based on estimates of the projected average level of pension, are contained in the table.
|Percentage of women |retiring in |year with full basic |pension Year |percentage --------------------------------------------------------------- 2000-01 |25 2010-11 |50 2020-21 |65 2030-31 |65 2040-41 |65
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how may dental practices in Gwynedd were represented at the meetings between Welsh Office officials and dentists in Gwynedd; how many of these indicated that they would be prepared to recommence taking patients on the NHS if the Government were to make policy changes; and what were the policy changes requested.
Mr. Richards: The information is not available in the form requested.
Following the publication of the Green Paper "Improving NHS Dentistry", Welsh Office officials held a series of consultation meetings in each of the eight counties in Wales. Some 30 dentists attended the meeting in Gwynedd.
The purpose of the meeting was to seek dentist views' on the contents of the Green Paper. The intention of individual dentists was not addressed.
Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what amounts of cash he has given to the Pre-school Playgroup Association Wales for each of the last five years.
Mr. Richards: Wales PPA has received funding from the "Support for Child and Family Services" grant scheme and the details are as follows:
\ |1990-91 |1991-92 |1992-93 |1993-94 |1994-95 |£ |£ |£ |£ |£ -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Core costs |143,657 |143,657 |158,023 |161,970 |164,400 Equipment |- |4,032.50 |- |- |- Children Act training |- |5,700 |6,950 |- |- Powys development officer |- |4,778 |3,756 |3,850 |2,260 Review |- |- |13,400 |- |- Total |143,657 |158,167.50|182,129 |165,820 |166,660
Column 609In addition to the above, a grant of £92,269 was awarded in respect of a joint Wales PPA/MYM venture, for the development of a special needs training pack.
Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how he proposes further to help Pre-school Playgroup Association Wales; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Richards: Along with other voluntary organisation and bodies, Wales PPA has applied to the Welsh Office for funding in 1995 96 under the "Support for Child and Family Services" grant scheme. The applications are currently under consideration and an announcement will be made as soon as possible.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many cases of contagious agalactia have occurred in each year since 1985.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: No cases of contagious agalactia have occurred in Wales since 1 January 1993. This disease became notifiable only on that date and official records prior to that were not collected.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many cases of sheep pox have been reported in each year since 1985.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: No cases of sheep pox have occurred in Wales since 1985.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many times he has attended the Council of Ministers meetings in Brussels since he took office; what were the dates of the visits; and what were the subjects discussed.
Mr. Redwood: I have not yet attended a meeting of the Council of the European Community as Secretary of State for Wales. I was a regular attender as a UK Minister at the Department of Trade and Industry.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people have found themselves with no recourse to compensation following serious flooding incidents in Wales over the past 18 months; and what evaluation there has been of the permissive drainage powers of district and borough councils.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: Information on numbers of people who have found themselves with no recourse to compensation is not held by the Welsh Office. The permissive drainage powers of district councils were reviewed when the National Rivers Authority was created by the Water Act 1989 and no reason was found to change existing arrangements.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the average wage of workers in Wales in each year since 1989.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: The average gross weekly earnings of full-time employees in Wales from 1989 to 1994 is set out in table X5 of part A of the "New Earnings Survey", published annually by the Employment Department.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations his Department has made to the European Commission on the subject of the export of live animals from Wales; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food conducts negotiations and discussions on behalf of the United Kingdom Agriculture Departments on the issue of live animals exports, and the Welsh Office is in regular contact with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food about this subject. The United Kingdom continues to press the EC to resolve the issue quickly, and has asked the French presidency to place welfare discussions amongst its priorities. The question of welfare standards during transport was raised by the UK at the Agriculture Council on 23 January 1995 and the Commission and the presidency have agreed to search for an early solution to the matter.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many full- time fishermen there were in Wales in each year since 1989; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Richards: The latest available information is published in table 2.6 of "UK Sea Fisheries Statistics 1993", a copy of which is in the Library of the House. No separate information is available on the number of full-time fishermen in Wales.
Mr. Ron Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what accumulated balances are currently held by each of the
grant-maintained schools in Wales.
Mr. Redwood: The accumulate balances, shown in the latest audited accounts for each grant maintained school, are as follows:
|£ ------------------------------------------------- Bryn Elian, Clwyd |77,480 Derwen, Clwyd |30,054 Eirias, Clwyd |214,357 Emrys ap Iwan, Clwyd |111,062 Maelor, Clwyd |34,670 Pen-y-Bryn, Clwyd |1,546 Brynmawr, Gwent |6,918 Cwmcarn, Gwent |18,510 Our Lady and St. Michaels, Gwent |272 St. Albans, Gwent |35,095 Caergeiliog, Gwynedd |36,729 Llanerfyl, Powys |30,213 St. Cyres, South Glamorgan |100,993 Stanwell, South Glamorgan |118,129 Bishop Vaughan West Glamorgan |69,542
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the termination payments made to chief executives and general and senior managers in each NHS trust since its inception, indicating the size and number of individual payments.
Mr. Richards [holding answer 13 February 1995]: This information is not available for payments made before 1 April 1994. NHS trusts have notified the
Column 611Department of the following termination payments to chief executives and general and senior managers this financial year.
|Number of|Amount |payments |£ ----------------------------------------------------------------- Carmarthen and District NHS Trust |2 |37,883 Glan Clwyd NHS Trust |1 |20,718 Clwydian Community Care |1 |45,000
Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many representations he has received on matters relating to education in the last four months.
Mr. Richards [holding answer 13 February 1995]: I have received many representations on a wide range of education matters over the last four months.
Mr. Devlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what decisions he has taken regarding defence cost study number 10.
Mr. Soames: Proposals recommending the rationalisation of naval stores depots were announced on 14 July 1994 and set out in detail in a consultative document promulgated on 19 August 1994.
Representations were made by trade unions, a number of local authorities and Members of Parliament. The most detailed and careful consideration was given to all of the representations received on these proposals. Having reviewed all of this work, I am satisfied that the basis for the rationalisation of naval stores depots in order to provide an improved and more cost-effective system of stock distribution to the Royal Navy is sound.
I have therefore decided to proceed with the rationalisation under which depots at Eaglescliffe, Wrangaton and Exeter will close by April 1997, part of the latter site will be retained at least in the short term to support naval engineering tasks, pending further study. Naval stores depots at Devonport and Rosyth will be reduced, in the same time frame, although new waterfront storage facilities at the former will be provided to improve local support arrangements for the vessels base ported there. Naval stores facilities at Portsmouth will be enhanced by April 1997 to provide a central storage and distribution facility for a major part of the naval stores inventory. Facilities at Faslane will also be improved to meet the requirements of logistic support to the Fleet in Scotland.
These measures will result in significant savings of some £174 million over 10 years and some £24 million a year thereafter. Regrettably, there will also be significant reductions in civilian posts at the depots affected; approximately 1,170 posts will no longer be required. It is anticipated that many of these will need to involve redundancy. However, my Department will make every effort to keep redundancies to a minimum and will ensure that anyone made redundant will be offered a
Column 612comprehensive resettlement package and assistance with training. We will of course continue to consult staff and the trades unions about the detailed implementation of this programme. In addition, by liaising with other Government Departments, local authorities and training and enterprise councils, my Department will do everything it can to assist in finding alternative employment.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will stop the training of Colombian military students until political killings in Colombia have ceased; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames: British military personnel have been providing training to the Colombian authorities to help counter the illicit production and trafficking of drugs since 1989. Although details of the assistance provided are confidential between the two Governments, I can assure the hon. Member that the training is dedicated to the fight against drugs.
Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what signals are communicated to a Royal Navy submarine or a submarine belonging to a NATO power when that vessel is perceived to be posing a danger to fishing vessels.
Mr. Soames: The conduct of dived Royal Navy submarines, and of dived foreign submarines in United Kingdom waters, is governed by the code of practice, a copy of which is in the Library of the House. Compliance with the code, together with the "SUBFACTS" system of providing information about dived submarine movements, and a number of other safety measures agreed after extensive consultation with the fishing industry, ensures that dived submarines and fishing vessels are able to co-exist safely.
In addition, we have recently agreed with the fishing industry that, when a submarine is exercising with a number of warships, one of the surface vessels participating in the exercise would, in addition to its exercise role, be designated the fishing vessel safety vessel. This vessel would have responsibility for confirming the position of any fishing vessel in the vicinity.
Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what topics were discussed at the meeting on 6 February in Munich of representatives of the nations participating in the Eurofighter 2000 project.
Mr. Freeman: As part of our regular programme of contacts with our Eurofighter 2000 partners, I met my counterparts from the other nations in Munich on 6 February to review progress in the reorientation of the project as agreed by the four Defence Ministers in December 1992, and to discuss a number of matters relating to planning for future phases.
Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to announce the date for the commencement of the production phase of the Eurofighter 2000; and if he will make a statement on the future of the project.
Mr. Freeman: On current plans, we expect to reach decisions on entering the production phase of the project by the end of this year.
We remain committed to the development of the Eurofighter 2000 which will provide the cornerstone of the RAF's future air combat capability.
Mr. Trotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is this policy concerning the placing of contracts for Royal Fleet Auxiliary refits; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman: RFA refits are part of the unallocated ship refit programme, contracts for which are placed following competition. I am pleased to confirm our intention that RFA ships remain in the unallocated programme.
Ms Rachel Squire: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the value for money achieved by the sale of HMS Andromeda.
Mr. Freeman: HMS Andromeda has not yet been sold. Once the decision has been taken to dispose of a ship, the sale price we would aim to achieve would not be below the value of recoverable and re-usable on-board stores and equipment plus the scrap value of the remainder of the ship.
Ms Rachel Squire: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the efficiency with which HMS Andromeda was refitted.
Mr. Freeman: The refit was carried out under the normal price negotiation, contract oversight and post-costing mechanisms for commercial refitting. These were reviewed following completion of the refit and were found to be well within accepted limits for commercial refitting.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent on maintenance, furniture, fittings and refurbishment at the official service residence, Air house, at Rheindahlen, Germany, for each year since 1985; which officers lived in the residence from 1985; who authorised the expenditure; and when the property was sold and for how much.
Mr. Soames: Air house, Rheindahlen was the property of the Federal German Government and was returned to them on 30 June 1993. The occupants since 1985 were as follows:
Occupants |Year ------------------------------------------------------ Air Marshal Sir David Parry-Evans |1985-87 Air Marshal Sir Anthony Skingsley |1987-89 Air Marshal Roger Palin |1989-91 Air Marshal Sir Andrew Wilson |1991-93
Details of expenditure on the residence from 1991 are contained in annex C to my Department's paper on official services residences which is in the Library of the House.
Figures for earlier years could be provided only at
disproportionate cost. Since the reorganisation of the MOD budgetary system in 1991, ultimate responsibility for expenditure within each top level budget has rested with the relevant budget holder, who in this case was the Air Officer Commanding in Chief Germany. A significant portion of the expenditure shown reflected decisions on security made earlier.
Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what procedures were used to effect the stopping up of a public footpath on each occasion in the last 10 years, to date, where the power under section 16 of the Defence Act 1842 was exercised to stop up a public footpath.
Mr. Soames [holding answer Monday 6 February 1995]: During the last 10 years, the power conferred under section 16 of the Defence Act 1842 has been exercised to stop up a public footpath on two occasions. As far as can be ascertained from the available records, the procedures used were as follows:
Footpath No. 43 (Darley) at Menwith Hill station, North Yorkshire. This footpath had apparently been out of general use from 1955 when the station was established; indeed, the station was unaware of its existence, and a building has been constructed across the route, which in any case ran through the secure area of the base. In the early 1980s the Ramblers Association became interested in re-establishing the right of way, and in view of the situation it was thought appropriate to re-provide the footpath across the north-west corner of the site, a short distance from the original route, but outside the secure fencing. The agreement of the local highway authority was obtained that the new route was reasonable.
Footpath No. 31 at HMS Cambridge, Wembury, Devon. The stopping up of this footpath took place at a time when there was increased concern about the security risk to military establishments from the terrorist threat. The original line of the footpath ran through the establishment's administrative and accommodation area, around which a security fence had been established and the continuing threat to security from the footpath was deemed to be unacceptable. As at Menwith Hill, the new route was in fact slightly shorter than the original. Informal discussions were held with Devon county council footpath officers prior to the closure action being taken.
Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions in the last 10 years, to date, the power conferred under section 16 of the Defence Act 1842 to stop up public or private footpaths or bridle roads has been exercised; on each such occasion if he expressly authorised the stopping order to be made; on each such occasion who signed the stopping up order; what was the exact geographical location of the footpath or bridle road in question; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames [holding answer Monday 6 February 1995]: During the last 10 years, the power conferred under section 16 of the Defence Act 1842 to stop up public or private footpaths or bridle roads has been exercised on five occasions. Although, due to the passage of time, file records are now incomplete, ministerial approval is normally sought on each occasion and the orders are signed by the head of what is now the Defence
Column 615Lands Service. The information specific to each case is as follows:
At RAF Molesworth, Cambridgeshire, on 5 February 1985. The route in question was part of bridleway number 28 in the parish of Brington and Molesworth, between GR50702 27665 and GR50680 27779.
At Menwith Hill station, North Yorkshire, on 1 October 1985. The route in question was part of footpath number 43 in the parish of Darley, between GR42005 and 45776 and GR41996 45719.
At RAF Molesworth, Cambridgeshire, on 18 November 1985. The route in question was part of bridleway number 27 in the parish of Brington and Molesworth, between GR50858 27694 and GR50868 27710.
At RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, on 30 July 1990. The route in question was part of the Portway (bridleway number 1) in the parish of Upper Heyford, between GR45050 22647 and GR45051 22669.
At HMS Cambridge, Wembury, Devon, on 3 December 1991. The route in question was part of footpath number 31 in the parish of Wembury, between GR24987 04873 and GR25022 04882.
Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 20 December, Official Report , column 1166, where details of contracts awarded by his Department's central contracts branch are held; and what consideration he has given to collecting these details centrally.
Mr. Freeman [holding answer Tuesday 10 January 1995]: Financial and management responsibility for all goods and services purchased by my Department, including consultancy work, rests with individual budget holders. Large and valuable contracts are, however, placed by the appropriate central contracts branch in order to ensure an additional degree of oversight in entering into such important commitments. Although records are kept, for a time, of the value of, and parties to, such contracts, there is no requirement for the relevant contracts branch including the central contracts branch to maintain a full description of the purpose for which each contract was let; that remains the responsibility of the budgetary area concerned. There is no need for contracts branches to keep detailed information after the work is finished; and there are no Defence management reasons for collecting or maintaining details centrally. Finally, consultancy, in whatever form, routinely constitutes but one element in larger contracts and is often not separately identified or costed in such records as are held.
Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what proportion of young people who complete a youth training course obtain NVQs at (a) level 2 and (b) level 3.