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Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much money was allocated to the United Kingdom Government by the EU under projects relating to fish conservation in each year since 1989; and how these moneys were allocated to the fishing industry.
Mr. Jack: The Community funds, or contributes to the funding of, a number of measures in the fisheries sector concerning, for example, decommissioning, enforcement and research projects which ultimately benefit fish conservation. However, no EU funds have been allocated to the United Kingdom Government specifically for projects relating to fish conservation.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer of 23 January, Official Report column 71, if any of the 6,314 cattle exported for immediate slaughter to Northern Ireland were over six months of age; and how many of them subsequently went from Northern Ireland to another EU state; (2) pursuant to his answer of 12 January, Official Report, column 210, and 23 January, Official Report, column 71, if the 6,662 cattle exported for immediate slaughter were all under six months of age.
Mrs. Browning: Information on the age of the 6,314 cattle exported to Northern Ireland is available only at disproportionate cost. There is no recorded evidence of movement of these cattle to another member state.
Information entered into the ANIMO database is provisional and subject to amendment. As regards the remainder of the 6,662 cattle referred to, more detailed comparison of the ANIMO database with copies of the available export health certificates has revealed that the 83 cattle exported to France and originally recorded as being for immediate slaughter were, in fact, certified as calves of under 42 days of age, and thus most likely
Column 705destined for further production; the 233 animals exported to the Netherlands were certified as calves of less than six months of age; and the 32 cattle exported to the Republic of Ireland originated in the Netherlands, were being transhipped through Great Britain, and should therefore not have been entered into ANIMO as exported from Britain.
Mr. Olner: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if provision was made for the individual feeding of calves during the shipment of calves from Brightlingsea to Nieuwpoort, Belgium on 10 February; how many of the crew were trained in the handling and/or feeding of animals; and if his Ministry vets treated the ship as a floating lairage.
Mrs. Browning: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley) on 23 February, Official Report, column 311. The veterinary officer accompanying the shipment confirms that there was an experienced animal attendant accompanying the calves who supervised their on-board feeding. The ship was a fitted livestock vessel with satisfactory arrangements for the penning of the calves so that all could like down and rest during the voyage.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer of 20 February, Official Report , column 54 , what is his estimate of the number of Arctic fox fur farms there have been in each of the last five years.
Mrs. Browning: As the keeping of arctic fox is not subject to control in Great Britain, the information requested is not available.
Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what items of correspondence were received by the Ministers in his Department for Messrs. Ian Greer Associates in the last month.
Mr. Waldegrave [holding answer 28 February 1995]: None.
Mr. Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security on what basis in his answer of 3 November 1994 to the hon. Member for Bow and Poplar (Ms Gordon), Official Report , column 1369 , the estimate of the annual income support saving from the habitual residence test was arrived at;
(2) if the estimated cost of administering the habitual residence test from 1 August 1994 to 1 August 1995 mentioned in his answer to the hon. Member for Bow and Popular (Ms Gordon) of 3 November 1994, Official Report , column 1369 , included the £800,000 allocation referred to by the chief executive of the Benefits Agency in his answer of 12 December 1994 to the hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) Official Report , column 538 .
Mr. Roger Evans: The estimated income support savings were based on the assumption that at least 5,000 single claimants aged 25 and over receiving benefit for 13 weeks would not qualify because of the habitual residence test. This calculation leads to a saving of about £3 million rather than "excess of £7 million" incorrectly stated in the earlier answer, which represented the estimated full savings including housing benefit and council tax benefit.
Before the test was introduced, initial annual administrative costs for the period 1 August 1994 to 1 August 1995 were estimated to be £368,000. Management information has since identified a shortfall for the current financial year. This is because the numbers subject to the test were greater than initially projected. On 21 November 1994 a secondary allocation of £521,787 was made. The figure quoted in the Official Report of 12 December 1994, column 538 , was the rounded, estimated administrative costs of the Benefits Agency for 1994 95. The actual figure will be available shortly. On the current level of claims being processed, the eventual costs for 1994 95 are likely to be substantially higher than £800,000.
Mr. Dewar: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make it his policy to reduce the amount of the reduced benefit direction for parents with care in receipt of income support from 20 per cent. of the income support personal allowance for 26 weeks and 10 per cent. for a further 52 weeks to an amount broadly in line with other deductions from benefit.
Mr. Burt: We have no plans to change the policy on the amount or duration of reduced benefit directions for parents with care.
Mr. Dewar: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the average time currently taken by the Child Support Agency from the issue of a maintenance inquiry form to the completion of a maintenance assessment.
Mr. Burt: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for East Kilbride (Mr. Ingram) by the chief executive of the Child Support Agency on 8 February 1995, Official Report , columns 299 300 .
Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if Ministers in his Department have on any occasion in the last seven days met representatives of (a) Messrs. C. S. M. Parliamentary Consultants Ltd., (b) Dewe Rogerson Ltd., (c) Decision Makers Ltd., (d) G. J. W. Government Relations Ltd., (e) G.P.C., (f) G.J.W., (g) Ian Greer Associates Ltd., (h) Market Access Group, (i) Politics International, (j) Westminster Communications Group, (k) Westminster Strategy, (l) Good Relations, (m) Rowland Sallingbury Casy, (n) Lowe Bell, (o) People Corporate and Political Relations and (p) Shandwick Consultants Ltd. and discussed issues relating to the clients of these companies.
Mr. Boyes: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list all White Papers, Green Papers and
Column 707pamphlets issued by his Department or agencies for which it is responsible in 1994, giving in each case the total cost to the Exchequer of their production, publication and distribution; and what was the total equivalent cost in 1980.
Mr. Hague: The cost of production, publication and distribution of White Papers, Green Papers and pamphlets produced by this Department in 1994 is as follows:
|£ ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Headquarters publications White Paper on pensions |17,349 White Paper summary |6,215 Pensions catalogue (PEC1) |7,476 "Measures to tackle discrimination against disabled people" |47,620 Summary of the above |17,936 "You and disability" |75,973.50 "Help with childcare charges" |9,308 "Incapacity Benefit"(IB200) |53,358.18 Incapacity Benefit: Medical Assessment consultation document |8,822.13 "Taking the Plunge": booklet to accompany DWA video |4,740 Departmental Annual Report |49,843.63 Benefits Agency Business Plan |37,595 Annual Report |28,271 Catalogue |32,240 Pensions information for women (pack) |3,829 Deduction from compensation |72,764 Evidence of identity |8,027 Tell us about it |54,437 BEL leaflet |5,510 Child Support Agency Annual Report |6,543 Charter inserts |7,229.78 Contributions Agency Business Plan |26,180 Framework Document |13,954 Annual Report |42,006 "Useful contracts" CA 46 |89,540 NI News |855 War Pensions Agency Charter Standard Statement |18,171 Business Plan |11,318 Framework Document |7,294 Annual Report |5,904.04 Notes: 1. These figures do not include the costs of producing reprints and revised editions of existing leaflets, the costs of which cannot be apportioned to a particular calendar year. 2. Distribution costs are included where possible and appropriate. However, for many campaigns distribution covers a variety of material, including claim packs, and this cannot be broken down.
The Department does not hold information about total costs to the Exchequer other than the costs given in the table.
A total equivalent cost for 1980 cannot be provided because the Department of Social Security did not exist until 1988.
Ms Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what was the total number of (a) single women over retirement age, (b) single men over retirement age and (c) couples over retirement age in receipt of income support (i) in each region and (ii) nationally, at the latest date for which figures are available; (2) what was the total number of (a) single women, (b) single men and (c) couples in receipt of income support in each region and nationally, at the latest date for which figures are available.
Mr. Roger Evans: The information is in the tables.
Income Support Recipients |Single men |Single women |Couples over |aged 65+ |aged 60+ |retirement age --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Great Britain |202,000 |1,183,000 |224,000 Scotland |19,000 |119,000 |20,000 Wales |10,000 |69,000 |12,000 England: |173,000 |995,000 |192,000 -South Western |15,000 |91,000 |18,000 -North Eastern |31,000 |184,000 |34,000 -Midlands |35,000 |193,000 |41,000 -North Western |32,000 |173,000 |29,000 -London North |31,000 |183,000 |40,000 -London South |29,000 |171,000 |30,000
|Single men |Single women|Couples ------------------------------------------------------------------- Great Britain |1,849,000 |2,911,000 |1,031,000 Scotland |188,000 |289,000 |81,000 Wales |96,000 |163,000 |57,000 England: |1,565,000 |2,459,000 |893,000 -South Western |128,000 |206,000 |77,000 -North Eastern |262,000 |427,000 |156,000 -Midlands |278,000 |450,000 |181,000 -North Western |263,000 |421,000 |127,000 -London North |333,000 |504,000 |194,000 -London South |302,000 |452,000 |158,000 1. Numbers have been rounded to the nearest thousand. Due to rounding figures may not total. 2. Regions are DSS administrative regions are used by the Department prior to 1988. 3. Couples are cases where either the claimant and/or partner is over retirement age. 4. Source: Income Support Statistics Quarterly Enquiry February 1994, 5 per cent. sample.
Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if Ministers in his Department have on any occasion in the last seven days met representatives of (a) Messrs. C. S. M. Parliamentary Consultants Ltd., (b) Dewe Rogerson Ltd., (c) Decision Makers Ltd., (d) G. J. W. Government Relations Ltd., (e) G.P.C., (f) G.J.W., (g) Ian Greer Associates Ltd., (h) Market Access Group, (i) Politics International, (j) Westminster Communications
Column 709Group, (k) Westminster Strategy, (l) Good Relations, (m) Rowland Sallingbury Casy, (n) Lowe Bell, (o) Profile Corporate and Political Relations and (p) Shandwick Consultants Ltd. and discussed issues relating to the clients of these companies.
Miss Widdecombe: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him today by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Office of Public Service and Science.
Mr. Boyes: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list all White Papers, Green Papers and pamphlets issued by his Department or agencies for which it is responsible in 1994, giving in each case the total cost to the Exchequer of their production, publication and distribution; and what was the total equivalent cost in 1980.
Miss Widdecombe: The Department and its agencies produced one White Paper, one Green Paper and about 530 pamphlets between 1 April 1994 and mid -February 1995. The total cost of production and publication of these items was £2,600,000, rounded. Distribution costs are not identifiable by item.
The full information will be contained within a large list which I will send to the hon. Member and a copy of which I will place in the Library.
Figures are not available for the total equivalent cost in 1980.
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many bank holidays there are in 1995 in (a) Scotland and (b) Wales and England; and what are the reasons for the difference.
Miss Widdecombe: There are eight permanent bank and public holidays in all parts of Great Britain. For 1995 only, the early May bank holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has been moved from the first to the second Monday in May--from 1 to 8 May 1995--to link with commemorative events for the 50th anniversary of VE day. In Scotland, 8 May will be a bank holiday in addition to 1 May 1995; unlike other parts of the United Kingdom, the first Monday in May in Scotland, which is specified as a bank holiday in schedule 1 to the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971, has a long tradition going back to 1871. In practice, however, bank holidays have less general significance in Scotland where various local and traditional holidays tend to be observed instead. It seems unlikely that most employers in Scotland will observe both the 1 May and the 8 May 1995 bank holidays.
The law does not give employees a right to a holiday on those days and all holiday entitlement is a matter for agreement between employers and employees.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many cases have been referred to the adjudication officer; and of these, what number had their benefit disallowed for each three-month period since the actively seeking work requirement was introduced.
Miss Widdecombe: Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given. Letter from M. E. G. Fogden to Mr. Stephen Byers, dated 2 March 1995:
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the number of cases referred to the adjudication officer and of these how many had benefit disallowed, following the introduction of the requirement to actively seek work.
The actively seeking employment condition was introduced in the 1989 Social Security Act. Unfortunately we do not collect information on the number of cases referred to the adjudication officer or number of decisions to disallow income support claims. We do however record the number of decisions and disallowances issued to unemployment benefit claimants, including those in respect of the definition of actively seeking work. This is contained in the quarterly summary entitled "Analysis of Adjudication Officers' Decisions", copies of which are held in the Library of the House. This information covers the period from 1 October 1989, when the actively seeking work condition was introduced, to the quarter ending December 1994. I hope this is helpful.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment to what period a jobseeker's allowance will be backdated in instances in which the claimant believes the jobseeker's agreement to be unreasonable; and what criteria apply in making this decision.
Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 6 February 1995]: The independent adjudication officer will have power to direct when a jobseeker's agreement is to be treated as having effect, if such conditions as he considered appropriate are satisfied. Each case will be decided on its own merits, though regulations may prescribe matters which are to be taken into account by the adjudication officer when making such a direction.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if, where there is right of appeal for claimants seeking entitlement to jobseeker's allowance, allowance or benefit will be paid at the full rate until the adjudicating officer gives a decision.
Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 6 February 1995]: Questions arising in connection with a claim to jobseeker's allowance will be submitted for decision by an adjudication officer. Claimants will have a right of appeal to a social security appeals tribunal against any adverse decision by the adjudication officer.
Payment of benefit will not be made clear or will be suspended pending a decision on one of the basic conditions of
entitlement--whether the claimant is available for work or is actively seeking it, or whether the proposed terms of a jobseeker's agreement are satisfactory. Claimants in defined vulnerable groups will, however, be able to receive reduced rate income-based payments during the suspension, if they can show that they or a member of their household would otherwise suffer hardship. Other claimants will be able to claim on this basis after the first two weeks of the suspension.
Disputes during a claim over the terms of a variation of a jobseeker's agreement will generally also involve doubts about availability and actively seeking. Benefit will, in such circumstances, be suspended pending the decision of an adjudication officer. If, however, availability and actively seeking are not in doubt the
Column 711agreement remains in force, and in these circumstances benefit will continue to be paid in full unless or until the adjudication officer brings the agreement to an end when the claimant has failed to comply with a direction given by him.
Claimants who otherwise satisfy the conditions of entitlement will continue to receive benefit in full pending a decision on whether to impose a sanction under clause 15 of the Jobseekers Bill for instance, for leaving employment voluntarily without just cause or failing to carry out a jobseeker's direction.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment in cases where the jobseeker's allowance appeal tribunal decides in the claimant's favour and an amended agreement is signed, if entitlement to jobseeker's allowance will be backdated; and if the tribunal decides against the claimant and he then signs the original agreement, if benefit will be backdated.
Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 6 February 1995]: In cases where the social security appeals tribunal decides in the jobseeker's favour, the jobseeker's agreement will be backdated and payments of jobseeker's allowance will be backdated, provided that the claimant satisfies the other conditions of receipt of JSA.
If the tribunal finds against the claimant, he will not receive payments of JSA until a satisfactory agreement has been signed by both parties.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what guarantees will be provided to ensure that where a claimant for the jobseeker's allowance has not yet signed the agreement for the purposes of administration or adjudication, payment of benefit will be backdated to cover this delay.
Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 6 February 1995]: The employment officer and the jobseeker will seek to draw up a jobseeker's agreement. If they cannot reach an agreement, the proposed terms and conditions of the agreement will be referred to an adjudication officer. The jobseeker will not be entitled to jobseeker's allowance unless he is in a prescribed vulnerable group and can apply for JSA hardship payments. If there is no decision after two weeks, however, all jobseekers will be entitled to apply for hardship payments. The adjudication officer will be able to make a direction about when the agreement is to be treated as having come into force. If he decides the agreement should be backdated, payments of JSA will be backdated, providing the jobseeker meets the other conditions of receipt of JSA.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what guarantees in respect of time scales will be given to ensure that waiting times will not be detrimental to the financial well-being of the claimant while he or she is waiting for an outcome of the assessment undertaken for the purposes of entering into the jobseeker's agreement.
Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 6 February 1995]: If a reference on the terms and conditions of a jobseeker's agreement is made to an adjudication officer and no decision is made within two weeks, the jobseeker will be able to apply for hardship payments. Certain vulnerable groups will be able to claim hardship payments from the date of claim.
Column 712When the adjudication officer makes a determination on the agreement, he will also be able to direct when it is to be treated as having effect.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what procedures will apply when a claimant thinks that the jobseeker's agreement is unreasonable; what minimum standards will apply in respect of time scales for referral; and if benefit will continue to be paid during this or any subsequent period of appeal.
Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 6 February 1995]: If the jobseeker and employment officer are not able to agree a jobseeker's agreement, either may refer it to an independent adjudication officer to determine whether it is reasonable to expect the jobseeker to comply with the terms and conditions, and if he does comply, whether he will satisfy the availability and actively seeking work conditions.
The proposed agreement will be referred for adjudication as quickly as possible. If no decision has been made within two weeks, the jobseeker will be able to apply for hardship payments. Certain groups of jobseekers will be able to claim from the date of their claim.
Mr. John Greenway: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority has produced a third response to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report on the service provided by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Page: I have today placed in the Library of the House the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority's third response to the report by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission which was published in May 1992.
I am pleased that the UKAEA has now implemented almost all of the MMC's 58 recommendations and that excellent progress is being made with the remainder.
Mr. David Shaw: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will set out the conclusions arising from the G7 conference on information super-highways.
Mr. Ian Taylor: I represented the Government at the G7 conference on the information society in Brussels from 24 to 26 February. Ministers discussed three broad topics--regulatory issues, infrastructure issues and the social and cultural impact of the information society--on the basis of a theme paper prepared by the European Commission.
The conference adopted a series of positive conclusion reflecting a variety of United Kingdom priorities.
These emphasise the importance of:
promoting dynamic competition,
encouraging private investment,
defining an adaptable regulatory framework,
providing open access to networks,
while ensuring universal provision of and access to services, promoting equality of opportunity to the citizen,
promoting diversity of content, including cultural and linguistic diversity,
Column 713recognising the necessity of worldwide cooperation with particular attention to less-developed countries.
The G7 undertook to:
promote interconnectivity and interoperability,
develop global markets for networks, services and applications, ensure privacy and data security,
protect intellectual property rights,
co-operate in research and development and in the development of new applications,
monitor the social and societal implications of the information society.
I am placing copies of the theme paper, the conclusions and my main intervention in the Library of the House.
The conference made a welcome commitment to the importance of reaching a successful conclusion to the World Trade Organisation negotiations on basic telecommunications by April 1996. I was also glad that United States Vice- President Gore announced to the conference the United States' intention to reform its legislation which currently restricts foreign investment in certain United States telecommunications services, which the Government have been pressing the United States to change for some time. I noted that the United States Government have indicated that they would expect reciprocity, but this is not likely to be a problem for United Kingdom industry. The conference also agreed to launch 11 collaborative pilot projects to demonstrate the potential of the information society. The Government will be taking an active role in the implementation of these projects, as part of a process of demonstrating how the new technologies can benefit society as a whole.
The conference was preceded by a round table discussion by business leaders from the G7 countries, who strongly advocated one of the central themes of my speech to the conference--the importance of light and flexible regulation and liberalisation of telecommunications infrastructure as spurs to enable private sector investment to realise the benefits of the information society.
Mr. Nicholls: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about exports of armoured vehicles to Indonesia.
Mr. Heseltine: I have today authorised the issue of a licence to Alvis to export armoured vehicles to Indonesia. In reaching this decision, I have taken advice from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Secretary of State for Defence. The decision has been made in the light of the established and internationally agreed criteria for military exports. It has included a thorough assessment of the likelihood of these vehicles being used for internal repression in Indonesia or East Timor. This assessment has concluded that it is not likely that these vehicles would be so used. The Indonesian Government have given assurances that the vehicles will not be deployed in East Timor or used in any form of repression of civilians anywhere in Indonesia.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about the request from Lloyd's of London for his approval for variations and amendments to the premium trust deeds.
Mr. Heseltine: On 8 February the council of Lloyd's sought my approval for certain variations and amendments to the premiums trust deeds, as announced to members of Lloyd's in the chairman's letter of 3 February. It first notified me of the draft proposals last October, and the proposals were subsequently refined.
I have considered this request carefully in accordance with my responsibilities for policyholder protection under the Insurance Companies Act 1982, and in particular section 83(2).
I have concluded that the variations and amendments proposed, and thus the deeds in their amended form, maintain and enhance the protection offered to policyholders. They therefore continue to meet the requirements for my approval under section 83(2), and thus for the continued exemption of members of Lloyd's from regulation under part II of the Act.
The council of Lloyd's has consulted the members of Lloyd's about the proposals, and considered the results of that consultation prior to seeking approval, as announced in the chairman's letter of 3 February.
I am aware that arguments have been raised as to whether clause 22 of the premiums trust deeds empowers the council of Lloyd's to make the proposed variations and amendments. It is not part of my function to adjudicate between the council and members of Lloyd's on that issue, which is governed by private law. In that connection, I note the provision in the proposals put to me to test the validity of the proposed variations and amendments in the courts, and to hold any moneys affected in a suitably secure form to ensure that affected members of Lloyd's will not have their rights prejudiced, pending the outcome of the proceedings. Were the court to find any or all of the variations and amendments invalid, my approval extends to the remainder of them, or the premiums trust deeds in their current form, as appropriate.
I have also considered whether any arguments based on EC law, of the kind raised in the Clementson case, could be directed at these amendments. My legal advice is that the EC arguments raised in that case are unlikely to succeed. Nevertheless, I have received an undertaking from Lloyd's which will have the effect that, pending a determination of those arguments by the courts, recoveries which are attracted by the amendments will not be called into the central fund without my consent.
On this basis, I have therefore notified the council of Lloyd's of my approval of the variations and amendments proposed.