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Mr. Boswell: No underspend is anticipated in the 1994 95 budget of the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Teachers

Ms Hodge: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what are her Department's estimates of the total number of qualified teachers in England and Wales in 1994 95 and the forecasts for each subsequent year up to and including 2000 2001.

Mr. Robin Squire: Returns from the Department's 1994 95 census of teachers are incomplete: the results will be published later this year. Projections of teaching numbers are not available.

Pupil-teacher Ratios

Ms Hodge: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what are the Department's estimates of the average pupil-teacher ratios in (i) primary schools and(ii) secondary schools in 1994 95 and the forecasts for each subsequent year up to and including 2000 2001.

Mr. Robin Squire: Returns form the Department's 1994 95 censuses of pupils and teachers are incomplete: the results will be published later this year. Figures for future years will reflect the decisions of employers.

Local Education Authority Budgets

Mrs. Currie: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) if she will list in rank order the shire county local education authorities showing the reserves held in their education budgets at the most recent date available;

(2) if she will list in rank order (a) the metropolitan district education authorities outside London and (b) the London boroughs to show the reserves held in their education budgets at the most recent date available.

Mr. Robin Squire: Reserves held by local authorities are not apportioned between education and other services.

For the financial year ending on 31 March 1994, the table shows the total amount of balances held by schools for each LEA for which the information is available to the Department. The figures are shown in rank order for (a) metropolitan districts outside London; (b) inner and outer-London boroughs; and (c) shire counties.


Column 613


Total balances in schools-year ending 31 March 1994      

                                         |Balance        

LEA                                      |(£000)         

---------------------------------------------------------

a) Metropolitan districts outside London                 

Birmingham                               |16,696         

Sandwell                                 |5,742          

Bradford                                 |5,632          

Sefton                                   |5,684          

Sheffield                                |5,616          

Coventry                                 |4,802          

Doncaster                                |4,735          

Leeds                                    |4,587          

Solihull                                 |4,504          

Newcastle upon Tyne                      |4,271          

Wolverhampton                            |4,155          

Wigan                                    |4,144          

St. Helens                               |3,941          

Kirklees                                 |3,868          

Wakefield                                |3,643          

Walsall                                  |3,594          

Wirrall                                  |3,249          

Manchester                               |3,146          

Barnsley                                 |3,046          

Stockport                                |2,741          

Salford                                  |2,456          

Calderdale                               |2,330          

Bolton                                   |2,291          

Bury                                     |2,225          

Knowsley                                 |2,078          

Sunderland                               |1,897          

South Tyneside                           |1,861          

Gateshead                                |1,577          

Dudley                                   |1,317          

Tameside                                 |1,303          

Trafford                                 |1,055          

Rotherham                                |930            

North Tyneside                           |372            

Oldham                                   |322            

Rochdale                                 |211            

Liverpool                                |n/a            

                                                         

b) London boroughs                                       

Tower Hamlets                            |8,189          

Croydon                                  |5,499          

Lambeth                                  |5,325          

Hounslow                                 |4,969          

Enfield                                  |4,778          

Camden                                   |4,768          

Newham                                   |4,694          

Brent                                    |4,545          

Barnet                                   |4,279          

Lewisham                                 |4,270          

Havering                                 |3,544          

Southwark                                |3,513          

Haringey                                 |3,352          

Redbridge                                |3,247          

Wandsworth                               |3,228          

Westminster                              |3,195          

Bromley                                  |3,134          

Merton                                   |2,996          

Ealing                                   |2,971          

Islington                                |2,549          

Richmond upon Thames                     |2,440          

Hammersmith and Fulham                   |2,366          

Hillingdon                               |2,231          

Hackney                                  |2,171          

Bexley                                   |2,013          

Barking                                  |1,707          

Harrow                                   |1,640          

Kensington                               |1,386          

Sutton                                   |1,303          

Kingston upon Thames                     |774            

Corporation of London                    |38             

Greenwich                                |n/a            

Waltham Forest                           |n/a            

                                                         

c) Shire counties                                        

Lancashire                               |32,976         

Hampshire                                |25,542         

Essex                                    |23,612         

Hertfordshire                            |20,397         

Cheshire                                 |16,196         

Leicestershire                           |15,750         

Nottinghamshire                          |15,275         

Hereford and Worcester                   |13,855         

Suffolk                                  |13,500         

Derbyshire                               |12,475         

Avon                                     |12,093         

Oxfordshire                              |11,951         

Kent                                     |11,675         

North Yorkshire                          |11,470         

Devon                                    |10,340         

Northamptonshire                         |10,067         

Norfolk                                  |9,199          

Staffordshire                            |9,160          

Bedfordshire                             |8,297          

Cleveland                                |8,169          

Buckinghamshire                          |8,316          

Berkshire                                |7,985          

Durham                                   |7,799          

Humberside                               |7,764          

Wiltshire                                |7,341          

Cornwall                                 |7,241          

Dorset                                   |7,200          

Lincolnshire                             |6,891          

Warwickshire                             |6,576          

Somerset                                 |6,665          

Cambridgeshire                           |6,585          

Gloucestershire                          |6,240          

East Sussex                              |5,990          

Surrey                                   |4,986          

Shropshire                               |4,574          

West Sussex                              |4,499          

Northumberland                           |3,667          

Cumbria                                  |2,844          

Isle of Wight                            |1,487          

Isles of Scilly                          |n/a            

Note:                                                    

The figures are derived from the LMS outturn             

statements-1993-94-prepared by LEAs under section 42 of  

the Education Reform Act 1988, with the exception of one 

figure which has been separately provided by the LEA     

concerned. "N/A" denotes that the information is not yet 

available to the Department, either because no statement 

has been received or-in one case-because the LEA has     

been asked to clarify the treatment of balances in its   

statement. All figures represent surpluses net of        

deficits and cover all county and voluntary schools, and 

special schools in the case of the eight LEAs whose LMS  

schemes covered them in 1993-94. They also include the   

final balances shown in respect of schools which became  

grant-maintained during the course of the financial      

year.                                                    

Deficit Budgets

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what powers she has to intervene where school governors set deficit budgets.

Mr. Robin Squire: A local education authority school governing body which sets a deficit budget will normally be in breach of its duties under its LEA's scheme for the local management of schools. It is for the LEA to decide how to proceed if the situation arises. If the governors of a school have been guilty of a serious breach of the scheme requirements, or of financial mismanagement more generally, the LEA has power to suspend their right to a


Column 615

delegated budget and take over management of the school's finances.

Governing bodies of GM schools are under an obligation to remain solvent under the terms of their financial memorandum with the Funding Agency for Schools. Should a GM school submit a deficit budget it would be for the Funding Agency for Schools and the school to agree upon the action to restore the school's financial position. In the last resort, my right hon. Friend has the power, under sections 68 and 99 of the Education Act 1994, to direct a LEA or a governing body that she considers to have acted unreasonably or to be in breach of its statutory responsibilities to take corrective action.

Pupils

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many pupils are covered by the local education authorities in (a) Suffolk, (b) Cambridgeshire and (c) Norfolk.

Mr. Robin Squire: In January 1994, 93, 282 pupils were being taught in schools maintained by Suffolk local education authority, 84, 515 pupils in schools maintained by Cambridgeshire local education authority and 93,702 pupils in schools maintained by Norfolk local education authority. This excludes pupils being educated in grant-maintained schools.

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what per cent. of pupils stayed on to take A levels in (a) Suffolk, (b) Cambridgeshire and (c) Norfolk; and what percent in each of these counties obtained grades A to C last year in its A-level examinations in the last year for which figures are available.

Mr. Boswell: The exact information is not available in the format requested.

The estimated percentage of those in their last year of compulsory schooling in 1991-92 who subsequently enrolled in the first year of GCE A- level course in 1992-93 in schools and further education colleges was: 38.2 per cent. in Suffolk; 40.3 per cent. in Cambridgeshire; and 35.9 per cent. in Norfolk.

The estimated percentage of these students starting on a GCE A-level course in schools and colleges in 1992 93, who achieved at least one GCE A level at grade C or above after the second year of the course in 1994 was: 56.7 per cent. in Suffolk; 62.9 per cent. in Cambridgeshire; and 55.9 per cent. in Norfolk.

Special Needs

Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what was the percentage of pupils statemented in each local education authority in England in the last year for which figures are available; and what percentage of the education budget, and what amount of money, was spent on special needs in each local education authority.

Mr. Robin Squire: The percentage of pupils in each LEA with a statement of special educational needs in January 1994 is given in the following table.

It is not possible to provide aggregated expenditure on special educational needs in each local education authority, as the data on such expenditure incurred by individual schools are not collected.


Column 616


Percentage of pupils with statements in each local education   

authority in England (January 1994)                            

                       |Total children with                    

                       |statements                             

                       |as a percentage of                     

                       |the                                    

Local Education        |school population                      

Authority                                                      

---------------------------------------------------------------

Corporation of London  |0.33                                   

Camden                 |2.30                                   

Greenwich              |3.07                                   

Hackney                |3.66                                   

Hammersmith and Fulham |2.64                                   

Islington              |3.27                                   

Kensington and Chelsea |1.46                                   

Lambeth                |1.83                                   

Lewisham               |3.21                                   

Southwark              |2.48                                   

Tower Hamlets          |3.03                                   

Wandsworth             |2.77                                   

Westminster            |2.11                                   

Barking and Dagenham   |1.84                                   

Barnet                 |1.79                                   

Bexley                 |2.61                                   

Brent                  |2.13                                   

Bromley                |2.34                                   

Croydon                |1.95                                   

Ealing                 |2.10                                   

Enfield                |0.94                                   

Haringey               |1.84                                   

Harrow                 |2.13                                   

Havering               |1.92                                   

Hillingdon             |2.18                                   

Hounslow               |3.02                                   

Kingston upon Thames   |2.18                                   

Merton                 |2.48                                   

Newham                 |2.35                                   

Redbridge              |1.94                                   

Richmond upon Thames   |2.01                                   

Sutton                 |2.61                                   

Waltham Forest         |1.65                                   

Birmingham             |2.27                                   

Coventry               |1.95                                   

Dudley                 |1.88                                   

Sandwell               |1.28                                   

Solihull               |2.04                                   

Walsall                |2.53                                   

Wolverhampton          |2.33                                   

Knowsley               |2.88                                   

Liverpool              |2.67                                   

St. Helens             |4.33                                   

Sefton                 |2.56                                   

Wirral                 |2.64                                   

Bolton                 |1.92                                   

Bury                   |3.67                                   

Manchester             |1.65                                   

Oldham                 |1.12                                   

Rochdale               |2.18                                   

Salford                |1.67                                   

Stockport              |2.98                                   

Tameside               |3.03                                   

Trafford               |2.21                                   

Wigan                  |3.63                                   

Barnsley               |2.35                                   

Doncaster              |2.55                                   

Rotherham              |2.53                                   

Sheffield              |2.19                                   

Bradford               |1.52                                   

Calderdale             |1.63                                   

Kirklees               |3.04                                   

Leeds                  |2.82                                   

Wakefield              |2.35                                   

Gateshead              |1.94                                   

Newcastle upon Tyne    |2.36                                   

North Tyneside         |2.73                                   

South Tyneside         |2.18                                   

Sunderland             |2.23                                   

Isles of Scilly        |0.69                                   

Avon                   |2.56                                   

Bedfordshire           |2.94                                   

Berkshire              |2.50                                   

Buckinghamshire        |3.45                                   

Cambridgeshire         |1.93                                   

Cheshire               |2.94                                   

Cleveland              |2.32                                   

Cornwall               |3.66                                   

Cumbria                |3.19                                   

Derbyshire             |<2>n/a                                 

Devon                  |3.14                                   

Dorset                 |2.61                                   

Durham                 |2.78                                   

East Sussex            |3.04                                   

Essex                  |2.26                                   

Gloucestershire        |2.69                                   

Hampshire              |3.12                                   

Hereford and Worcester |1.69                                   

Hertfordshire          |2.45                                   

Humberside             |1.86                                   

Isle of Wight          |2.27                                   

Kent                   |2.49                                   

Lancashire             |3.24                                   

Leicestershire         |2.27                                   

Lincolnshire           |3.36                                   

Norfolk                |3.21                                   

North Yorkshire        |2.21                                   

Northamptonshire       |1.95                                   

Northumberland         |2.35                                   

Nottinghamshire        |1.11                                   

Oxfordshire            |1.80                                   

Shropshire             |3.24                                   

Somerset               |1.90                                   

Staffordshire          |2.39                                   

Suffolk                |3.02                                   

Surrey                 |2.99                                   

Warwickshire           |2.26                                   

West Sussex            |2.09                                   

Wiltshire              |3.44                                   

                                                               

England<1>             |2.49                                   

<1> England figures exclude Derbyshire.<2> not available.      

Further Education

Mr. James Pawsey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what has been the change in provision of further education following the end of local authority involvement;

(2) what is the projected change in provision in further education for 1995 96;

(3) what further education subjects have shown greatest growth in the last three years.

Mr. Boswell: Local authority recurrent expenditure on further education in 1992 93, the last financial year before the transfer of FE colleges to the new FE sector,


Column 618

was £2,341 million. Recurrent funding by the FEFC in 1993 94 was £2,549 million, and the estimated outturn for 1994 95 is £2,684 million. The Government plan for expenditure on recurrent funding to increase to £2,863 million in 1995 96.

Data on the growth in further education subjects in the last three years, on a basis consistent with the structure of the new FE sector, are not yet available.

EMPLOYMENT

Business Link Wirral

Ms Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what financial help his Department or its agencies have given to the Business Link Wirral since its inception.

Mr. Paice: Neither the Employment Department nor its agencies have given financial help to Business Link Wirral. However, I understand that CEWTEC contributed £35,000 to the development costs of Business Link Wirral in 1994 95. In addition, a further contract for £42,000 was placed to support training in local companies.

Training

Mr. Barron: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will list the amount and type of funding or other support received from his Department by each occupational standards council in (a) the current year and (b) each of the previous three years; (2) if he will list the industry lead bodies, the industry training organisations and the awarding bodies for each industrial sector and the amount and type of funding or other support received from his Department by each in (a) the current year and (b) each of the previous three years.

Mr. Paice: The Department has contracted with the National Council of Industry Training Organisations to maintain an up-to-date list of occupational standards councils, lead bodies and industry training organisations. NCITO produces a regular listing of all those organisations. A copy of the latest listing has been placed in the Library. Awarding bodies are independent organisations and the Department does not maintain a list of them. However, details of all awarding bodies currently accredited by the National Council for Vocational Qualifications to award national vocational qualifications are contained in the latest edition of the "NCVQ Monitor", a copy of which is also available in the Library. The Department does not normally fund awarding bodies.

The Department's funding for OSCs, LBs and ITOs comes principally from three main programmes. The funding for these programmes for the years 1991 92, 1992 93, 1993 94 and 1994 95 is provided in the following table. More detailed information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Column 617


Employment Department Funding                                                                                    

                       |1991-92       |1992-93       |1993-94       |1994-95 Budget|Total                        

Year/Programme         |£ million     |£ million     |£ million     |£ million     |£ million                    

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ITO Support            |3.35          |3.47          |3.21          |3.50          |13.53                        

Standards Programme    |12.00         |11.47         |11.62         |11.35         |46.44                        

Modern Apprenticeships |-             |-             |-             |1.62          |1.62                         

                                                                                                                 

Total                  |15.35         |14.94         |14.83         |16.47         |61.59                        

Earnings

Mrs. Wise: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the source or basis of the estimates given by him as to the number of employees earning below the national insurance lower earnings limit.

Mr. Oppenheim: The estimates were produced by firstly estimating the proportion of the "New Earnings Survey" sample with earnings below the April 1994 lower earnings limit of £57, then applying this proportion to the number of employees in employment, taking due account of the estimated number of employees, mostly part-timers, who were excluded from NES because they were not covered by a PAYE scheme.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Habitual Residence Test

Mr. Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn) on 30 January 1995, Official Report, column 520, (1) how many of those who have been refused income support owing to the habitual residence test are European Economic Area nationals residing in the United Kingdom under EC rights of residence directives as students, pensioners, or non-economically active persons; (2) what proportion of the British nationals who have been refused income support owing to the habitual residence test have one parent who is a British national and one parent who is a national of another country;

(3) what proportion of the British nationals have been refused income support owing to the habitual residence test had (a) never previously lived in the United Kingdom and (b) never previously been employed in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Roger Evans: This information is not recorded centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what account he has taken of the advice given by the Social Security Advisory Committee that is possible to be habitually resident in more than one country or in none; and what responsibility the Government have to British nationals in this country who have been excluded from income-related benefits on the basis of the habitual residence test.

Mr. Roger Evans: Decisions about whether an income support claimant is habitually resident are made by the independent adjudication officer in the first instance. The chief adjudication officer has drawn attention to the fact that a person may be habitually resident in more than one country or in none in the guidance that has provided for adjudication officers.

Mr. Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what measures he is taking to monitor the impact of the habitual residence test on (a) unsuccessful claimants, (b) local authorities and (c) benefits agency offices.

Mr. Roger Evans: Information about the number of claims to income support where habitual residence is considered is collected monthly. This includes information about the number of unsuccessful claims. The


Column 620

impact on Benefits Agency offices also continues to be monitored from these monthly statistical returns. The impact on local authorities will be monitored from the normal range of management information statistics which local authorities submit from time to time.

Mr. Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Islington (Mr. Corbyn) on 30 January 1995, Official Report , column 520, how many European economic area nationals were estimated to claim income support in a year before implementation of the habitual residence test; and what assessment he has made of the reasons for the numbers of claimants being refused income support under the test.

Mr. Roger Evans: Information identifying claims for income support from EEA nationals was not available before the introduction of the test. However, our assessment of the reason why people have been refused income support under the test is that it confirms that until its introduction a number of people received benefit who had no close connection with this country.

Ms Gordon: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the estimated administration cost of the habitual resident test from 1 August 1994 to 1 August 1995; and what is the amount of income support that the Government estimate will be saved by the application of this test.

Mr. Roger Evans [pursuant to his reply 2 November 1994, column 2672]: I regret that the information provided on the estimated annual income support saving contained an error. The correct information is as follows.

The estimated annual income support saving is about £3 million rather than "in excess of £7 million" as inadvertently stated in the earlier answer, which represented the estimated full saving including housing benefit and council tax benefit.

Housing Costs

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what action he now proposes in respect of his acceptance of

recommendations relating to an exception to the restriction on income support housing costs for income support recipients other than disabled people and the elderly, for the interest on additional loans for repairs and improvements necessary to maintain the fabric of the dwelling occupied as home; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Roger Evans: As a result of our acceptance of these recommendations, the regulations originally referred to the Social Security Advisory Committee were amended so that when they took effect on 2 May 1994 income support recipients who took out additional loans for this purpose could continue to have the interest on such loans met.

Disablement

Mr. Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps are taken by his Department to ensure that medical assessors are sufficiently trained with regard to medical evidence when interpreting the Social Security (Industrial Injuries) Prescribed Diseases Regulations 1993.

Mr. Hague: Assessments in connection with prescribed diseases are made by independent adjudicating


Column 621

medical authorities, the members of which are fully registered medical practitioners with extensive knowledge and experience in general medicine. On appointment the medical practitioners are trained in the practical procedures and the medico-legal aspects of the industrial injuries scheme by experienced AMAs. In addition, all AMAs are supplied with the DSS publication, "Notes on the Diagnosis of Prescribed Diseases", and the "Industrial Injuries Handbook for Adjudicating Medical Authorities" which details and explains the legislation relevant to the assessment of disablement in industrial injuries and prescribed diseases. Copies of both publications have been placed in the Library.

Mr. Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many individuals in each region have claimed industrial disablement benefit for chronic bronchitis or emphysema under the approved scheme to date; and how many have been approved.

Mr. Hague: The information is not available by region. Information from Benefits Agency area directorates as at 31 December 1994 is in the table.


Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema (PD D12)                      

by Area Directorate                                            

Area                             |Claims   |Awards<1>          

---------------------------------------------------------------

South                                                          

Anglia                           |25       |3                  

Chilterns                        |22       |4                  

East London and Essex            |21       |0                  

South London and West Sussex     |0        |0                  

South East                       |479      |33                 

Wessex                           |0        |0                  

West Country                     |149      |6                  

                                                               

Wales and Central England                                      

East Midlands                    |5,813    |646                

Greater Manchester               |329      |32                 

Lancashire and Cumbria           |2,297    |151                

Merseyside                       |509      |49                 

Midlands South West              |658      |56                 

Wales                            |9,625    |1,375              

West Mercia                      |3,728    |384                

                                                               

Scotland and North                                             

East Scotland                    |2,411    |95                 

Glasgow                          |244      |8                  

North and West Yorkshire         |2,730    |425                

North, Central and West Scotland |1,908    |60                 

South Yorkshire and Humberside   |6,627    |790                

Tyne Tees                        |7,227    |603                

Totals                           |44,802   |4,720              

                                                               

Notes:                                                         

1. Based on 100 per cent. count and subject to amendment.      

2. Not all claims received by 31 December will have been       

decided.                                                       

<1> Awards are where industrial injuries disablement has been  

awarded at 14 per cent. or more (does not include aggregate    

awards).                                                       

Mr. Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the savings to his Department referred to in his answer of 21 July 1994, Official Report, column 621, resulting from each of the changes in the eligibility conditions for benefits under the industrial injuries scheme including (a) the amount of savings for each change by year, (b) the cumulative savings to date and (c) the amount of savings for each year and cumulatively at 1994 95 prices.

Mr. Hague [holding answer 15 February 1995]: Information is not available in the form requested. Such information as is available is in the table.


Column 621


                                                                                             |£ million          

                                 |1987-88  |1988-89  |1989-90  |1990-91  |1991-92  |1992-93  |total              

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1986 Industrial injuries changes |-7       |-35      |-45      |-        |-        |-        |-113               

                                                                                                                 

Abolition of REA new cases       |-        |-        |-        |-5       |-20      |-42      |-72                

Notes:                                                                                                           

1. All figures shown are in £ million.                                                                           

2. Figures shown are in cash terms except for the totals which are expressed in real terms at 1994-95 prices.    

3. Figures should be regarded as estimates only.                                                                 

4. The figures shown are for the forecast savings of Industrial Injuries benefits resulting from the changes     

shown during the relevant Public Expenditure Survey period. They are not necessarily the actual effect on II     

benefit or total DSS benefit expenditure.                                                                        

<1> The main change to the Industrial Injuries scheme was the increase of disability threshold from 1 per cent.  

to 14 per cent.                                                                                                  

Widower's Benefit

Mr. Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to extend widow's pension provision to widowers with dependent children.

Mr. Arbuthnot: None.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. John Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether income support is payable to asylum seekers whose application for asylum has been rejected.

Mr. Roger Evans: When an asylum seeker's claim has been either finally refused or abandoned, entitlement to income support ends.


Column 622

Mr. John Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his latest estimate of the amount of income support paid to (a) those seeking asylum and (b) those granted asylum.

Mr. Roger Evans: In February 1994, there were 41,960 asylum seekers in receipt of income support at an estimated annual cost of about £79 million. People who have been granted asylum as refugees are not separately identified within the income support scheme.

Disabled People (Housing Policy)

Mr. Alfred Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations the Minister for Social Security and Disabled People has received,


Column 623

including those from Habinteg, about the impact on disabled people of the Government's housing policies; what replies he has sent or will be sending; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hague: I have received two letters from Habinteg, one dated 6 December 1994 and another dated 15 February 1995 which was forwarded to me by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris) on 16 February. I responded to the earlier letter on 19 January 1995 and have responded to the right hon. Member today. The Department of the Environment has responsibility for the Government's housing policies and I am in regular contact with it in relation to the effect of policies on disabled people.

Unemployment and Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would be (a) the gross cost and (b) the net cost, after income support and housing benefit savings, of making eligibility for short-term national insurance benefit conditional on (i) 25 times that year's lower earnings limit only and (ii) 50 times that years' lower earnings limit only; and if he will estimate the additional number who could become eligible for (1) unemployment and (2) invalidity benefit on the basis of their sickness benefit entitlement.

Mr. Roger Evans [holding answer 23 February 1995]: The estimated cost and difference in numbers of people becoming entitled to unemployment benefit and incapacity benefit as a result of changing the contribution conditions to requiring a claimant to have paid or have been credited with class 1 national insurance contributions on earnings of at least:

(i) 25 times the lower earnings limit in the last tax year before the benefit year in which the claim is made;

or

(ii) 50 times the lower earnings limit in the last tax year before the benefit year in which the claim is made;

are set out in the tables. Attention is drawn to table 1 note (v) and table 2 notes (v) and (vii). The estimates make no allowances for the uncertain number of people currently not claiming the benefits who would do so under new contribution conditions. They should therefore be treated with great caution.


Table 1-Result of changes in national insurance contribution           

conditions on claims to and cost of unemployment benefit               

                                   |Option (i) |Option (ii)            

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Gross cost (£ million)             |230        |115                    

Net cost (£ million)               |35         |20                     

Increase in number of unemployment                                     

  benefit recipients               |85,000     |45,000                 

Notes:                                                                 

The following assumptions have been made:                              

1. Costs have been rounded to the nearest £5 million and caseloads to  

the nearest 5,000.                                                     

2. Calculations are based on an unemployment benefit caseload of 500,  

000.                                                                   

3. Calculations are made using current prices and benefit levels, and  

data taken from the 1992-93 national insurance recording system        

database, the 1993 Annual Statistical Enquiry and the 1990-91-92       

Family Expenditure Surveys.                                            

4. Some people who would satisfy revised contribution conditions may   

be disallowed, or disqualified for, unemployment benefit on other      

grounds (eg leaving work voluntarily, misconduct, compensation from an 

employer).                                                             

5. The figures are an under-estimate as no allowance can be made for   

people who sign as unemployed for the first time as a result of the    

change in the contribution conditions.                                 


Table 2-Result of changes in national insurance contribution        

conditions on claims to and cost of incapacity benefit              

                                |Option (i) |Option (ii)            

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Gross cost (£ million)          |1,400      |550                    

Net cost (£ million)            |250        |100                    

Long-term increase in number of                                     

  incapacity benefit recipients |400,000    |150,000                

Notes:                                                              

The following assumptions have been made:                           

1. These are estimated figures of the long term effect. Costs have  

been rounded to the nearest £50 million and caseloads to the        

nearest 50,000.                                                     

2. Calculations have been made using current prices and benefit     

levels, and data taken from the 1992-93 national insurance          

recording system data-base, and the 1993 Annual Statistical         

Enquiry.                                                            

3. New entitlements come from either the current severe disability  

allowance caseload or from those, registering as sick, who are less 

than 80 per cent. disabled and who currently have insufficient      

contributions.                                                      

4. Allowance has been made of the effect of the incapacity benefit  

changes and the expected effect of the new medical test.            

5. The new contribution conditions in the lower rate of short-term  

incapacity benefit are assumed to apply to long-term incapacity     

benefit. This means that all those who get lower rate of short-term 

incapacity benefit will move on to long-term incapacity benefit as  

long as their incapacity continues.                                 

6. The figures are an under-estimate as no allowance can be made    

for people registering as sick for the first time as a result of    

the change in the contribution conditions.                          

7. These estimates are highly uncertain and should be treated with  

extreme caution.                                                    

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Integrated Administration and Control System

Mr. John Greenway: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the requirements for IACS applications in England and Wales in 1995.

Mr. Jack [pursuant to his reply, 24 January 1995,c. 187]: The House will wish to note that the 1995 IACS forms and explanatory booklets are now available and are being sent out to farmers. I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Library of the House.

Slaughterhouses

Mr. Luff: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has made an assessment of the hygiene standards in red meat slaughterhouses in England and Wales.

Mrs. Browning: Since early 1994 we have been operating the hygiene assessment system in red meat slaughterhouses. The HAS is the method developed and used by the state veterinary service to assess and monitor hygiene standards in slaughterhouses. HAS looks at specific aspects of performance within five main categories--ante-mortem, slaughter and dressing,


Column 625

personnel and practices, maintenance and hygiene of premises and general conditions and management. Each category is scored according to the standards observed on the day, and the scores are weighted to reflect the importance of each category to the overall hygiene of operations; thus, a high score reflects a high standard of hygiene. As at the end of November 1994, the results of HAS in red meat slaughterhouses by type in England and Wales were as follows:


Column 625


                   Numbers by type                                                                          

                   of slaughterhouse                                                                        

Score bands       |All types        |Fully approved   |Low throughput<1>|Temporarily                        

                                                                        |derogated<2>                       

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

21-30             |3                |0                |0                |3                                  

31-40             |19               |1                |1                |17                                 

41-50             |90               |4                |3                |82                                 

51-60             |103              |15               |11               |77                                 

61-70             |84               |17               |11               |56                                 

71-80             |50               |25               |4                |20                                 

81-90             |23               |15               |3                |5                                  

91-100            |4                |3                |1                |0                                  

<1> Licensed slaughterhouses with a throughput of no more than 20 livestock units per week.                 

<2> These plants have until the end of 1995 at the latest to complete their work plans to meet the          

structural requirements of the Fresh Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1992.                        

NORTHERN IRELAND

Sulphur Quotas

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make representations to the Department of the Environment to allocate unused sulphur quotas for England and Wales to Northern Ireland.

Mr. Moss: Any increase in the limits set for Northern Ireland would necessitate a revision of the plan by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.

As my hon. Friend the then Under-Secretary of State for Industry and Energy said in his reply to the question from the hon. Member for Antrim, East (Mr. Beggs) on 8 February 1995, Official Report Column 315-16 , this matter is kept under regular review.

Accident and Emergency Departments

Mr. Keen: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many accident and emergency departments there are in Northern Ireland; what were the corresponding figures in each year since 1986; and how many accident and emergency departments have been relocated in each year since 1986.

Mr. Moss: The number of accident and emergency departments in Northern Ireland in each year since 1986 is shown in the table:


Year    |Number       

----------------------

1986    |29           

1987    |28           

1988-89 |27           

1989-90 |26           

1990-91 |26           

1991-92 |25           

1992-93 |23           

1993-94 |22           

1994-95 |21           

Assuming A and E departments are defined as having been "relocated" when a new A and E department takes on their workload, since 1986 two A and E departments have been relocated following the opening of a new acute hospital.


Column 626

Fair Employment Legislation

Ms Mowlam: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the benefits of employers with fewer than 250 staff being obliged to keep a record of all job applications for monitoring purposes in any revised fair employment legislation.

Mr. Ancram: There is provision in the legislation for this threshold to be varied if necessary but, to date, it has been considered that this issue should await the wider review of the legislation. My right hon. and learned Friend has asked the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights to take forward the independent review of the fair employment legislation which was promised during the passage of the Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Act 1989. It is for SACHR to consider how this issue will be addressed in the context of the review.

Employment Practices (RUC)

Ms Mowlam: To ask the Secretary of State of Northern Ireland if he will place in the Library the internal review of employment practices recently carried out by the Chief Constable of the RUC, Sir Hugh Annesley.

Sir John Wheeler: The position remains the same as when I replied to the hon. Member for Kingston Upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) on 25 May 1994, Official Report , columns 200 01 .

Transport

Ms Mowlam: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to improve or extend public transport services between the major towns and cities.

Mr. Moss: We are currently engaged on a major investment programme for public transport facilities aimed at producing better public transport services across Northern Ireland. We have completed the Belfast cross- harbour rail bridge to unify rail services for the first time; built the new Euorpa bus centre in Belfast; and provided new or upgraded bus stations in Omagh, Enniskillen, Cookstown, Newcastle and Newtownards. Work is continuing on the Belfast to Dublin rail line and rolling stock upgrade, on the reinstatement of the line to a new station at Great Victoria street, Belfast, and on a


Column 627

new bus station at Donegall Quay, Belfast. In addition work is due to start soon on the re-opening to scheduled services of the Antrim to Bleach Green rail line.

There has also been a significant modernisation of the bus fleet in Northern Ireland. This represents investment in public transport of some £110 millions since 1990, substantially assisted by the European regional development fund. As part of the guiding principles for future transportation planning which I announced on 17 January, the transport operation companies are to be restructured to provide a more co-ordinated approach to service planning and a more strategic use of resources and to cut out unnecessary bureaucracy and duplication.

Water Services

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects to make an announcement on the options for water charging.


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