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Ofwat

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 9 March, Official Report, column 263, regarding charges by Ofwat, if he will give details of the normal Treasury accounting guidance of charging practices for Government Departments.      [14515]

Mr. Atkins: Treasury accounting guidance for Government Departments is contained in the publication "Government Accounting", a copy of which is in the Library.

Vanadium and Nickel

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he is proposing to take to reduce levels of (a) vanadium and (b) nickel in the atmosphere to below the guidelines set by the World Health Organisation.      [14681]

Mr. Atkins: I refer the hon. Member to my pursuant reply of Friday 17 March 1995, Official Report, column 732.

Levels of vanadium and nickel measured in urban and rural areas in the United Kingdom on behalf of the


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Department of the Environment have not approached or exceeded guidelines set by the World Health Organisation.

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the ambient level of (a) vanadium and (b) nickel in (i) rural and (ii) urban areas in England expressed in nanograms per cubic metre at ground level.      [14700]

Mr. Aitkins: Annual average concentrations of vanadium and nickel expressed in nanograms per cubic metre--ng/m3--measured by the Department of the Environment monitoring stations in England and Wales are presented in the table.


                                   |Level          |Level                          

                                   |(ng/m<3>)      |(ng/m<3>)                      

Site               |Date           |vanadium       |nickel                         

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

Urban Sites<1>     |Annual average                                                 

Central London     |1991-1992      |15             |5                              

Brent              |1991-1992      |-              |12                             

Leeds              |1991-1992      |-              |15                             

Motherwell         |1991-1992      |-              |9                              

Glasgow            |1991-1992      |-              |9                              

                                                                                   

Rural sites<2>     |10-year average|-              |-                              

Chilton, Oxon      |1982-1991      |6.1            |3.3                            

Styrrup, Notts     |1982-1991      |8.1            |5.6                            

Wraymires, Cumbria |1982-1991      |3.3            |2.6                            

Source:                                                                            

<1>Digest of Environmental Protection and Water Statistics. HMSO No. 16, 1994.     

<2>Cawse P.A., Baker S. and Law, D.V. (1994) A Survey of atmospheric trace         

elements in Great Britain, 1972-1991. AEA/CS/18358008/REMA-039. AEA Technology,    

Culham, Oxon.                                                                      

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the current EU health guidelines for the level of (a) vanadium (b) nickel, (c) particles, (d) sulphur dioxide and (e) nitrogen dioxide expressed in nanograms per cubic metre, per day and annual average atmospheric concentrations.      [14701]

Mr. Atkins: Air quality limit and guide values for concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and particulates, and a limit value for concentrations of lead, are specified, in terms of microgrammes per cubic metre, in European Council directives 85/203/EEC, 80/779/EEC and 82/884/EEC respectively. The table shows the values in microgrammes per cubic metre. These can be converted into nanograms per cubic metre by multiplying by 1000. The limit value for sulphur dioxide is dependant on the level of suspended particulates measured over the same period:


                                         |ug/m<3>        

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

Nitrogen dioxide                                         

limit value 98 per cent. of hourly means |200            

guide value 98 per cent. of hourly means |135            

guide value 50 per cent. of hourly means |50             

                                                         

Lead                                                     

limit value-annual average               |2              


                                               |Associated                       

                                               |value                            

                              |Limit value     |for suspended                    

Reference Period              |for SO2         |particulates<1>                  

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

Sulphur dioxide-limit values                                                     

Year.                         |80              |>40                              

                                                                                 

Median of daily values.       |120             |<40                              

                                                                                 

Winter (1 October to 31                                                          

March).                       |130             |>60                              

                                                                                 

Median of daily values.       |180             |<60                              

                                                                                 

Year (made up of units                                                           

measuring periods of 24                                                          

hours).                       |250             |>150                             

                                                                                 

98 per cent. of daily values. |350             |<150                             

<1> Measured by the gravimetric method.                                          


                             |Guide value                      

Reference period             |for SO2                          

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

Sulphur dioxide-guide values                                   

Year. Mean of daily values.  |40 to 60                         

24 hours. Daily mean value.  |100 to 150                       

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the ambient level of (a) vanadium and (b) nickel in (i) rural and (ii) urban areas of Wales.      [14698]

Mr. Atkins: No measurements are currently made of vanadium and nickel in air by the Department of the Environment in urban or rural areas in Wales, but the annual average levels of vanadium and nickel at a rural site in Wales in 1979 are presented in the table.


M

                                      |Level       |Level                    

                                      |(ng/m<3>)   |(ng/m<3>)                

Site                     |Date        |vanadium    |nickel                   

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

Rural site<1>                                                                

Trebanos, West Glamorgan |Average 1979|7.3         |46                       

Source:                                                                      

<1> Cawse P A (1981) A survey of atmospheric trace elements in the UK.       

AERE-R 9886. Environmental and Medical Sciences Division, AERE Harwell,      

Oxon.                                                                        

Suffolk County Council

Mr. David Porter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to monitor the spending of Suffolk county council year on year and to improve the evaluation of what the authority bids for each year from his Department.      [14617]

Mr. Robert B. Jones: Local authorities do not make bids in respect of their general revenue spending. The Secretary of State announces his proposals for the local government finance settlement annually and he takes account of their representations before reaching his final decisions. Authorities are required to provide information about their budget requirements and their spending annually to my Department.


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Particulates

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those district and metropolitan councils that are monitoring particulate levels at ground level; and what results have been collected by his Department.      [14699]

Mr. Atkins: Results of particulate monitoring undertaken by local authorities in collaboration with the Department of the Environment are available in "UK Smoke and Sulphur Dioxide Monitoring Networks Summary Tables for April 1992 to March 1993". Data on automatic fine particulate monitoring--PM10--are available in "Air Pollution in the UK: 1992 93". LR1000(AP).

Both reports are available from the National Environmental Technology Centre, Culham, Oxfordshire.

Civil Servants

Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total number of civil servants employed by (a) his Department, (b) the agencies under his Department's responsibility and (c) public and other bodies under his Department's responsibility, for each year since 1979, divided into (1) full-time equivalents, (2) overtime, (3) casuals and (4) other; and whether he will also provide for each year his estimates of (A) civil service job reductions due to privatisations, (B) civil service job reductions due to contracting out, (C) civil service job reductions resulting from other transfer of responsibilities, (D) the total of all other staff undertaking work for the Department or its agencies without being categorised as civil servants, including external consultants, researchers, agency secretarial staff and staff substitution and (E) total manpower expenditures, in 1994 prices.      [15088]

Sir Paul Beresford: The civil service covers the permanent staff of central Government Departments and next steps agencies. The staff of other bodies are outside the civil service.

The annual publication "Civil Service Statistics" gives details of the number of civil servants employed by my Department and its agencies, including full-time equivalent staff and casuals, from 1993 onwards, and of staff leaving the civil service.

"Public Bodies", published annually since 1982, contains staffing information for those bodies not covered by "Civil Service Statistics".

Details of running costs and the civil service pay bill for my Department can be found in table 7 of my Department's annual report, Cm 2807. Table 8 gives details of overtime from 1989 90 onwards. Copies of all of these publications are available in the Members' Library.

The remaining information sought can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Air Pollution Control

Mr. Colin Shepherd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the 1995 96 charging scheme for local authority air pollution control under part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.      [15395]


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Sir Paul Beresford: Charges to cover the costs of local enforcing authorities in regulating processes which are subject to part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 were introduced in April 1991. With the approval of the Treasury, and following consultation with local authority associations and industry, my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Wales have made a revised scheme specifying the scale of fees and charges to take effect from 1 April 1995. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland is revising the identical, parallel scheme for Scotland on the same basis.

The standard application fee is increased by £25 to £990, the application fee for a former Alkali Act works is increased by £15 to £595, the substantial change fee is increased by £15 to £635, and the annual subsistence charge is increased by £20 to £605. No change has been made to the remaining fees and charges.

To help businesses with the budgetary planning, for the first time this year, the scheme will allow operators to pay their annual subsistence charge in quarterly instalments.

The scheme will be laid before both Houses and a copy placed in the Library.

Countryside Commission

Mr. Dunn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the dates of appointment for each of the current members of the Countryside Commission and the total remuneration each has received to date.      [14468]

Sir Paul Beresford [holding answer 17 March 1995]: Dates of first appointment and total remuneration received up to 31 March 1995 are listed in the table. However, it should be noted that commissioners other than the chairman received no remuneration before 1 April 1992. The figures do not include expenses, which were dealt with in my hon. Friend's reply of 13 March, column 409 .


                            |Date        |Remuneration             

                            |appointed   |£                        

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

Sir John Johnson KCMG       |1.4.91      |138,830                  

Rachel Thomas               |1.10.87     |15,280                   

David Fletcher MBE          |1.7.88      |15,280                   

Sarah Ward                  |1.8.91      |15,280                   

Sir Richard Carew Pole      |26.9.91     |15,280                   

Professor Allan Patmore CBE |28.9.92     |12,866                   

Lord Denham                 |1.8.93      |8,687                    

Rodney Swarbrick CBE        |1.8.93      |8,687                    

SOCIAL SECURITY

Disability

2. Mr. Devlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what measures the Government are taking to help disabled people.      [12989]

Mr. Hague: The Government's plans for ending discrimination against disabled people were set out fully


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in the White Paper published on 12 January. These include new initiatives in education and transport, in addition to the measures in the Disability Discrimination Bill for new rights in employment and access to goods and services and the establishment of a National Disability Council. These proposals, which are clear, flexible and fair, have received widespread support.

Housing Benefit

7. Mr. Raynsford: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement about his proposals to restrict housing benefit expenditure.      [12994]

Mr. Roger Evans: From October, we propose that housing benefit in the deregulated private sector will be limited for rents which are above the general level of rents for similar properties in the same area. Local authorities will have discretion to pay more housing benefit in individual cases of exceptional need.

13. Mr. Etherington: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when the Income Support, Housing Benefit and Council Tax (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No. 2) Regulations 1995 on the proposed changes to housing benefit eligibility of sentenced prisoners will come into force.      [13000]

Mr. Roger Evans: The relevant regulations were laid on 10 March and are due to come into effect from 1 April 1995.

25. Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate he has made of the total savings in housing benefit that will arise from his proposed changes in that benefit in the first year of operation.      [13013]

Mr. Roger Evans: The savings to housing benefit from the restrictions on rents above the general level in the locality, the increase in non-dependent deductions, and the restriction on housing benefit claimants temporarily absent from home are estimated to amount to around £75 million in 1995 96.

Unemployment

15. Mr. Butler: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what reforms of the benefit system he is planning to help unemployed people back to work.      [13003]

Mr. Lilley: I have set in hand eight major initiatives to help unemployed people move back into work more easily and increase the opportunities and rewards of work.

These initiatives include:

a reformed system of benefits for unemployed people, focused on jobseeking;

a £10 weekly premium in family credit for 345,000 families in full time work;

the removal of barriers impeding the initial move into work; specific help with child care costs;

a back to work bonus of up to £1,000 to encourage part-time work on benefit

reducing costs on business to encourage employers to take on the long-term unemployed and to boost jobs

and a pilot study of a new in-work benefit for people without children.

Incapacity Benefit

16. Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what he estimates will be the increase in administrative costs for the Benefits Agency


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and his Department arising out of the introduction of incapacity benefit.      [13004]

Mr. Hague: The increase is estimated to be about £55 million for 1995 96; £47 million for 1996 97; and about £2 million per annum thereafter.

Child Support

17. Mr. Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many absent parents he estimates will see a reduction in their maintenance assessment as a result of the introduction of the travel costs allowance in the child support formula.      [13005]

Mr. Burt: It is estimated that, in the long run, 55,000 absent parents will benefit from this allowance each year.

Mr. Pawsey: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he has received pressing for repeal of the legislation in response to his recent White Paper, "Improving Child Support".

Mr. Burt: None. Those responses received continue to support the principles of the Child Support Act 1991.

Income Support, Leicester

18. Mr. Jim Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claimants there are in receipt of income support in Leicester, South.      [13006]

Mr. Roger Evans: The information is not available.

Family Credit

19. Mr. Rowe: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what has been the total value of spending on family credit since its introduction.      [13007]

Mr. Burt: Total spending on family credit from its introduction in 1988 to March 1994 was £4,076 million. Estimated expenditure for 1994 95 is £1,480 million.

Benefit Payment Card

20. Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to introduce a benefit payment card.      [13008]

Mr. Lilley: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Somerset and Frome (Mr. Robinson) on 20 February 1995, Official Report , column 71 .

Pensioner Households

21. Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many pensioner households had (a) a fridge, (b) a car, (c) a freezer, (d) a telephone and (e) a television in 1979; and how many have them today.      [13009]

Mr. Arbuthnot: The information is in the table.


Percentage of all pensioner households with access to consumer durables               

                               Pensioner coupleSingle pensionerAll pensioners         

                              |1979   |1991-92|1979   |1991-92|1979   |1991-92        

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

(a) Fridge or fridge freezer  |94     |99     |82     |98     |88     |99             

(b) Car/van                   |48     |66     |21     |29     |34     |49             

(c) Freezer or fridge freezer |42     |85     |21     |62     |32     |75             

(d) Telephone                 |64     |95     |51     |88     |57     |92             

(e) Television                |99     |99     |92     |98     |96     |99             

Source:                                                                               

Households Below Average Income Series.                                               

Funeral Expenses

22. Mr. Gunnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he has had from funeral directors about his proposals to cap payment of funeral expenses under the social fund.      [13010]

Mr. Roger Evans: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has received approximately 55 letters from individual funeral directors and two requests for meetings from funeral directors' national associations.

24. Mr. McMaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he expects to receive the views of the Social Security Advisory Committee on his proposal to cap payments towards funeral expenses under the social fund.      [13012]

Mr. Roger Evans: The Social Security Advisory Committee's report was received on 15 March in the Department. I am now in the process of considering the recommendations.

Social Fund

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if the jobseeker's allowance will be used in the same way as income support to decide the district allocation for social fund purposes.      [14154]

Mr. Roger Evans: The income-related element of jobseeker's allowance will be used in a like way as income support for unemployed people when deciding on budget allocations to the discretionary social fund.

Habitual Residence Test

23. Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he has received regarding the length of time taken to process appeals against the habitual residence test; and if he will make a statement.      [13011]

Mr. Roger Evans: We have received a number of inquiries about the habitual residence test. I am unaware of any representations about the time taken to process appeals. The responsibility for administering and hearing social security appeals rests with the president of the independent tribunal service, who I understand has also not received any representations regarding this matter.

Mortgage Interest Payment

27. Mr. Mudie: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he expects to next meet the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Building Societies Association to discuss payment of mortgage interest by his Department.      [13015]

Mr. Roger Evans: Officials are engaged in on-going discussions with the Council of Mortgage Lenders and


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Building Societies Association on the proposals for income support mortgage interest.

Young People (Income Support)

28. Mr. Skinner: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the number of 16 and 17-year-olds who have been refused income support since the entitlement was restricted.      [13016]

Mr. Roger Evans: The information is not available.

Rowntree Report on Inequality

29. Mr. Dowd: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to meet Sir Peter Barclay to discuss the findings of the Rowntree report on inequality in income and wealth.      [13017]

Mr. Burt: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security has no such plans. The Rowntree report was commented on by my right hon. Friend during the debate on Tuesday 14 February, Official Report , columns 812-826.

Disabled People

Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what new measures he is taking to assist disabled people; and if he will make a statement.      [13204]

Mr. Hague: The Government's plans for ending discrimination against disabled people were set out fully in the White Paper published on 12 January. These include new initiatives in education and transport, in addition to the measures in the Disability Discrimination Bill for new rights in employment and access to goods and services and the establishment of a national disability council. These proposals, which are clear, flexible and fair, have received widespread support.

Polling and Public Survey Organisations

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the employment of polling or public survey organisations by his Department during the current and previous financial years, on the organisations employed by his Department, on the values of individual contracts for these services, on the total amounts of money spent and on the purposes of the research undertaken by these organisations.

Mr. Roger Evans: Most of the Department's research contracts are let following a process of competitive tender. The Department announces its research programme annually and potential contractors are invited to register an interest in relevant projects.


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A list of contracts let by the Department to polling or public survey organisations in the current financial year is set out below:


                                 |Organisation             

                                 |Amount £                 

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

British Market Research Bureau                             

  (BMRB)                                                   

Contributions Agency Customer                              

  Survey 1994                    |152,691                  

Resettlement Agency Customer                               

  Survey 1994                    |36,310                   

                                                           

Industrial Facts and                                       

  Forecasting Research Ltd.                                

  (IFF)                                                    

Forecasting demand for Social                              

  Security Advice Line for                                 

  Employers                      |42,594                   

Staff Attitude Survey 1994       |86,362                   

                                                           

Market and Opinion Research                                

  International (MORI)                                     

Child Support Agency Customer                              

  Survey 1994                    |265,531                  

Child Support Agency Survey                                

  on the Phasing Option          |10,100                   

                                                           

Office of Population Censuses                              

  and Surveys (OPCS)                                       

Family Resources Survey (FRS)                              

  (joint project with Social and                           

  Community Planning                                       

  Research)                      |2,960,000                

Disability survey development                              

  work                           |9,420                    

Public Perceptions of                                      

  Occupational and Personal                                

  Pensions                       |40,000                   

Retirement Survey follow-up      |395,166                  

Study to compare the contents                              

  and methods of FRS and                                   

  Family Expenditure Survey      |3,500                    

Omnibus Survey on                                          

  Contributions Statement        |8,800                    

                                                           

Public Attitude Surveys Ltd.                               

  (PAS)                                                    

War Pensions Agency Customer                               

  Satisfaction Survey 1994       |92,837                   

Educational Compliance Visits    |35,516                   

Council Tax Benefit (Second                                

  Adult Rebate) Research         |7,656                    

Housing Benefit: LA Anti-Fraud                             

  Incentives scheme              |25,397                   

Income Support Review            |17,531                   

Benefits Agency Customer                                   

  Satisfaction Survey 1994       |208,738                  

Research on the service                                    

  provided by the War Pensions                             

  Welfare Service                |31,020                   

                                                           

Research Services Ltd. (RSL)                               

Evaluation of One Stop                                     

  Initiative                     |63,620                   

                                                           

Social and Community Planning                              

  Research (SCPR)                                          

Industrial Injuries: Income and                            

  Resources of recent claimants  |12,244                   

Women, Pensions and Divorce      |397,870                  

Pension Scheme Dispute                                     

  Resolution                     |112,625                  

Employers' Pension Provision     |177,300                  

Direct Payments of Mortgage                                

  Interest                       |33,577                   

Satisfaction with Benefits                                 

  Agency Local Office Services   |38,230                   

Customer Satisfaction:                                     

  Methodological Issues          |18,115                   

Secondary Analysis of Benefit                              

  Agency Customer Satisfaction                             

  Survey                         |15,875                   

Management of money in later                               

  life                           |40,400                   

The Department also commissions research from independent research institutes, universities and other non-survey research organisations. Full details of all projects commissioned as part of the research programme are contained in the social research yearbook published annually.

In addition, the Department has contracted a number of market research agencies to develop and monitor public information campaigns and projects through the Central Office of Information.

Research contributes to the development and implementation of new policies and the monitoring and evaluation of existing policies. It also plays an important role in providing customer feedback on the Department's services. The Department's external research budget for 1994 95 is £4,000,000.

Cold Weather Payments

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) on how many occasions in each year since 1987 payments have been triggered under the cold weather payments scheme in each parliamentary constituency in Scotland;      [14497]

(2) if he will list all the weather stations which are used by his Department within Scotland to assess whether payments are necessary under the cold weather payments scheme and the parliamentary constituencies associated with each of these.      [14483]

Mr. Roger Evans: Since 1991, the weather stations which are used for the cold weather payment scheme have been linked to post code areas to enable automatic payment. All weather stations and the areas they cover are listed in the schedules to the cold weather payment regulations, a copy of which is in the Library.

Information is not available in respect of the number of occasions since 1987 payments have been triggered in each parliamentary constituency. The information that is available is in the statistical holdings section of the Library.

Civil Servants

Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the total number of civil servants employed by (a) his Department, (b) the agencies under his Department's responsibility and (c) public and other bodies under his Department's responsibility, for each year since 1979, divided into (1) full-time equivalents, (2) overtime, (3) casuals and (4) other; and whether he will also provide for each year his estimates


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of (A) civil service job reductions due to privatisations, (B) civil service job reductions due to contracting out, (C) civil service job reductions resulting from other transfer of responsibilities, (D) the total of all other staff undertaking work for the Department or its agencies without being categorised as civil servants, including external consultants, researchers, agency secretarial staff and staff substitution and (E) total manpower expenditures, in 1994 prices.      [15090]

Mr. Hague: The civil service covers the permanent staff of central Government Departments and next steps agencies. Some of the staff of other bodies are outside the civil service.

The annual publication "Civil Service Statistics" gives details of the number of civil servants employed by this Department and its agencies, including full-time equivalent staff and casuals, from 1993 onwards, and of staff leaving the civil service.

"Public Bodies" published annually since 1982, contains staffing information for those bodies not covered by "Civil Service Statistics".

Details of running costs and the civil service pay bill for this Department can be found in figure 32 of this Department's annual report 1995 96 to 1997 98. Figure 35 gives details of overtime from 1989 90 onwards.

Copies of all these publications are available in the Members' Library.

The remaining information sought could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


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