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Mr. Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will calculate the additional amount of revenue which would have accrued to the Treasury in interest if payments of lottery duty had been made within 10 days of each competition since the inception of the national lottery. 
To date, there have been 15 national lottery competitions for which payment has been received. If the lottery duty due on these competitions had been paid 10 days after the date of the competition the additional interest which would have accrued to the Treasury is approximately £200,000.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how much his Department spent on public relations during the financial year 1993 94; how much contracts with the private sector cost; and if he will list the activities covered by these contracts. 
Mr. Dorrell: My Department's public relations requirements are normally met in-house. During 1993 94, a public relations company was contracted to assist with a programme of events marking the 50th anniversary of D-day. The contract, which was in line with central Government guidelines, cost £62,500.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what guidelines his Department has issued to its agencies and other public bodies under its authority in respect of the employment of public relations companies and the procedures to be adopted in relation to requesting tenders for public relations companies. 
Mr. Dorrell: Central Government conventions for the use of public relations companies are set out in "A Working Guide For Government Information Officers", a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Chris Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage from what part of his Department's budget the additional funding for the restoration of the Albert Memorial announced on 22 March came. 
Mr. Dorrell: My predecessor announced on30 November 1993 that funding of £2 million a year is planned in 1995 96 and 1996 97. No allocations have yet been made beyond then, but it is my hope that I shall be able to make £2 million available in the two subsequent years.
Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will list all the visits he has made since the start of the current parliamentary Session to the constituencies of other hon. Members without prior warning to these hon. Members for any purpose connected with his departmental responsibilities. 
Mr. Welsh: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if the annual analysis of hours and range of output made in different parts of the United Kingdom will include programme expenditure across the range of output; and if he will make statement. 
Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 24 March 1995]: The BBC's "Statement of Promises to Audiences" will include quantifiable targets underpinning the undertakings in the new agreement regarding regional programme-making. In addition, we will expect the BBC to provide sufficient information in its annual report to allow Parliament and the public to assess how well the BBC has performed against these targets. We are discussing the details with the BBC.
Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claimants of (a) severe disability allowance, (b) income support and (c) incapacity benefit who will be assessed as capable of work he estimates will appeal against this decision in each of the years(i) 1995 96, (ii) 1996 97 and (iii) 1997 98. 
Column 554Mr. Hague: The information is not available in the form requested, as estimates are not made for the individual benefits listed. Current planning assumptions are that the number of appeals which will be lodged on the question of incapacity for work will be in the region of 140,000 in 1995 96, 190,000 in 1996 97 and 90,000 in 1997 98.
Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security on what date he will be sending guidance about the assessment of the all-work test for incapacity benefits to (a) adjudication officers and (b) the Benefits Agency medical service. 
Mr. Hague: The independent central adjudication service, which has responsibility for adjudication matters, has produced guidance on the application of the all-work test for incapacity benefits. The guidance was delivered to adjudication officers in the week commencing 20 March.
A programme of detailed and comprehensive training on the all-work test for Benefits Agency medical service doctors has been under way since January. Procedural guidance to supplement this training will be received by all those involved in the application of the test before it comes into force on 13 April.
Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people he estimates will move from (a) severe disability allowance, (b) income support and (c) incapacity benefit in each of the years (i) 1995 96, (ii) 1996 97 and (iii) 1997 98 to sign on as available for work. 
Mr. Hague: No estimates have been made of the number of people leaving severe disablement allowance. The estimated number of people who will move from incapacity benefit and income support with the disability premium to sign on as unemployed earlier than would otherwise have been the case, as a result of the new medical test, is in the table.
|1995-96|1996-97|1997-98 ----------------------------------------------------------- From incapacity benefit to unemployment |160,000|120,000|60,000 From income support with disability premium to unemployment |50,000 |30,000 |10,000 Note: Estimates rounded to the nearest 10,000.
Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people he estimates will fail to qualify for (a) severe disablement allowance, (b) income support and (c) incapacity benefit in each of the years (i) 1995 96, (ii) 1996 97 and (iii) 1997 98 as a result of being assessed as capable of all work. 
Mr. Hague: No estimates have been made of the number of severe disablement allowance claimants being found capable of all work. The estimated numbers of new and existing claimants of income support and incapacity benefit who will be found capable of work are in the tables.
New claimants found capable of work under the new medical test (Table shows the estimated number of people leaving benefit earlier than they would have done under current arrangements) |Total |over 3 |1995-96|1996-97|1997-98|years -------------------------------------------------------------- Incapacity benefit<1> |45,000 |55,000 |55,000 |160,000 Income support with disability premium<2> |10,000 |10,000 |10,000 |35,000 Total-invalidity benefit and income support<2> |55,000 |70,000 |70,000 |195,000
Existing claimants found capable of work under the new medical test (Table shows the estimated number of people leaving benefit earlier than they would have done under current arrangements) |Total |over 3 |1995-96|1996-97|1997-98|years ------------------------------------------------------------ Invalidity benefit |140,000|80,000 |20,000 |240,000 Income support with disability premium<2> |50,000 |30,000 |5,000 |85,000 Total-invalidity benefit and income support<2> |190,000|110,000|25,000 |325,000 Notes: <1>Figures for incapacity benefit relate to those who would have qualified for invalidity benefit under the current arrangements. <2>Figures for income support do not include those also receiving invalidity benefit/incapacity benefit. 1. All estimates rounded to the nearest 5,000; totals may not sum due to rounding.
Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claimants of (a) severe disability allowance, (b) income support and (c) incapacity benefit he estimates will be examined by the Benefits Agency Medical Service in each of the years (i) 1995 96, (ii) 1996 97 and (iii) 1997 98. 
Mr. Hague: The information is not available in the form requested, as estimates are not made for the individual benefits listed. Current planning assumptions are that the number of medical examinations relating to incapacity for work will be in the region of 625,000 in 1995 96, 660,000 in 1996 97 and 375,000 in 1997 98.
Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people who will move off incapacity benefits during 1996 97 he estimates will fail to qualify for contributory jobseeker's allowance. 
Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people he estimates will qualify for (a) severe disability allowance, (b) income support and (c) incapacity benefit in each of the years (i) 1995 96,(ii) 1996 97 and (iii) 1997 98 because they fall within one of the groups exempt from the all-work test. 
Mr. Hague: The information is not available in the form requested. Estimates have not been made of the number of severe disablement allowance and income support claimants who will be exempt from the all-work test. It is estimated that around 50,000 new incapacity benefit claimants per year will be exempt from the test and that around 900,000 existing invalidity benefit claimants will be exempt.
Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people will qualify for unemployment benefit or jobseeker's allowance he expects will need to claim an incapacity benefit on the basis that they are unable to work, in each of the years (a) 1995 96, (b) 1996 97 and (c) 1997 98. 
Dr. Bray: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will set out full details of the procedures to be used under the Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Act 1994 by the Benefits Agency medical service agency in the assessment of severe mental health problems, and the criteria by which the Benefits Agency medical service doctors will assess each individual to decide who is, and who is not, to be exempt by reason of mental illness from the all-work test. 
Mr. Hague: Before the all-work test is applied to any claimant with a diagnosis of mental health problems, a Benefits Agency medical services doctor will consider whether the claimant's mental health problem is a severe one. This consideration will be based on medical evidence already held and on further information from the Claimant's GP or other medical practitioner, which may be sought specifically to inform the decision. Where a claimant is certified by the Benefits Agency medical service doctor as suffering from severe mental illness, he will be found incapable for work automatically, without having to undergo the test.
The guidance for Benefits Agency medical service doctors in assessing severe mental health problems is as follows:
Severe mental health problems are characterised by the presence of mental illness so adversely affecting a person's mood, behaviour or social or environmental awareness, including interpersonal relationships, that continued psychiatric care is essential. This care could include:
sheltered residential facilities where the person receives regular medical or nursing supervision; or
day care at least one day a week in a centre where qualified nursing care is available; and/or
long-term medication with anti-psychotic preparations including depot neuroleptics or mood-modifying drugs.
(2) how many claims for family credit and child care disregard there were for (a) one-parent and (b) two-parent families in the period 1 April 1994 to 30 September 1994;
(3) how many claims for family credit had a request for child care costs to be disregarded in the period 1 April 1994 to 30 September 1994. 
Column 557Child care charges were not a relevant factor in the determination of family credit entitlement until October 1994. Consequently, the family credit claim form did not ask for details of child care charges before that date. No information is available about any family credit claimant who may, nevertheless, have made a request for child care charges to be taken into consideration.
Mr. Dewar: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what representations he has received from the residents in the Ilford Park Polish home near Newton Abbot, Devon, about the market-testing exercise being mounted by his Department in relation to the home; 
(2) when he expects to reach a decision about the operation of the Ilford Park Polish home and the market-testing exercise currently in operation there. 
representations from the residents of Ilford Park Polish home. In addition, on 20 December 1994, my noble Friend the Minister of State also met with the residents' committee on his visit to the home. The information necessary for us to make a decision on the award of the market-testing contract is to be presented by the end of September 1995.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will reconsider the regulations which prevent serving local councillors from receiving unemployment benefit by virtue of being regarded as unavailable for work; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Roger Evans: Availability for work is a long-standing and basic condition for the receipt of unemployment benefit. There are no plans to remove this condition in respect of local authority councillors.
Mr. Roger Evans: The social fund gross discretionary budget for 1995 96 will be £406 million. Some £97 million will be allocated to grants and £309 million to loans. The new allocations represent an increase of £38 million over the total gross budget for 1994 95. At a time when we need to look very carefully at every aspect of public expenditure, I am pleased that we are once again able to sustain our record in increasing the social fund budget each year since it began.
The recycling of loans means that we are able to give more help to more people. The loans system is being widely used; between 1 April 1994 and 28 February 1995 well over 1.8 million non-repayable grants and interest-free loans were made. This is 100,000 more than during the same period last year --an increase of 6 per cent. The increase from April 1995 will allow even more people to be helped. Details of individual district budget allocations have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list (a) the number of applications for budgeting loans, (b) the number of applications for crisis loans, (c) the number of successful applications for budgeting loans and the percentage success rate expressed against the total number of applications, (d) the number of successful applications for crisis loans and the percentage success rate expressed against the total number of applications, (e) the total budget allowed for (i) budgeting and (ii) crisis loans and (f) the total amounts awarded for (iii) budgeting and (iv) crisis loans for each Benefits Agency district within Scotland for each of the financial years since their introduction. 
Mr. Roger Evans: The administration of the social fund is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write the hon. Member with such information as is available. Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Brian H. Donohoe, dated 27 March 1995:
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Social Fund in Scotland.
The information you have requested is at Annex A and a copy has been placed in the Library. There is no separate budgeting and crisis loans budget, but each district has an overall loans budget. Information has therefore been provided for the total loans allocations for each district.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Dr. Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to allow employers to opt out of the statutory sick pay scheme and what progress has been made towards simplifying the rules. 
Mr. Lilley: I am issuing a consultation paper today which seeks views on allowing employers to opt out of the statutory sick pay scheme where their occupational sick pay schemes meet certain requirements. It would be in everyone's interest for sick pay arrangements to operate as simply and smoothly as possible. Research carried out for the Department of Social Security in recent years shows that around 85 per cent. of employers make some form of short-term provision for sickness.
One of the main advantages for employers in opting out of SSP would be a reduction in the amount of records they are required to keep at present. They would no longer have to operate SSP rules and could keep simpler records of sickness absence, payments made to employees and transfers to state incapacity benefits.
Record keeping can be an administrative burden for every employer, not just for those with occupational sick pay schemes, so I am also seeking views on a significant reduction in the amount of mandatory records to be kept by all employers.
The proposals have been made by a working group of employers and payroll organisations which I set up to examine ways for cutting red tape in the SSP scheme.
The group has also identified a number of changes that would make the scheme simpler to understand and operate. It is now important to seek wider views including those of employee's representatives. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the group for the time they have given and
Column 559the commitment they have shown in undertaking such a thorough review.
Copies of the consultation paper with the working group's report have been placed in the Library. Comments are sought by 30 June.
Mr. Thurnham: To ask the Secretary of State of Social Security if he will list for each of the past five years, (a) how many people claimed housing benefit, (b) how much was paid in housing benefit, (c) how many claimants have had their housing benefit reduced due to the presence of a non-dependent adult in the household, (d) by how much the total housing benefit bill has been reduced due to the provisions on non-dependent lodgers, (e) by how much the housing benefit bill would be reduced if all single householders with spare bedrooms were assumed to be providing lodgings to a second non-dependent adult. 
Thousands |Estimate of number |of |housing benefit |cases |All housing |with a non-dependant |benefit recipients |in the household ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ May 1989 |3,926 |n/a May 1990 |3,979 |323 May 1991 |4,021 |333 May 1992 |4,320 |297 May 1993 |4,521 |311 Source: Housing benefit management information system annual 1 per cent. sample inquiries taken at the end of May each year.
Total housing benefit expenditure |£ million ------------------------------ 1989-90 |4,299 1990-91 |5,100 1991-92 |6,375 1992-93 |7,793 1993-94 |9,193 Source: Departmental report 1995.
The amount by which the housing benefit bill is reduced due to the provisions on income from lodgers, part (d), cannot be calculated because information is not collected centrally.
Information on the size of accommodation, part (e), is not collected centrally.
Column 560Letter from Peter Mathison to Mr. David Hinchliffe, dated 27 March 1995:
I have been asked by the Secretary of State to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about actions taken in the last three years to encourage eligible persons to claim a war pension.
The Agency, previously the War Pensions Directorate under the Benefits Agency, has actively publicised War Pensions through our own Welfare Service which has 29 offices located throughout the country; the War Pensions Committees which are also regionally based; the various ex-Service organisations with whom we have close and frequent dialogue, and with the Press.
Claims have risen in the last 10 years from 15,000 to an expected 120,000 for this year, and it is our aim to continue to raise awareness of the War Pensions Agency, the War Pensions Scheme and the service we provide, so that those with potential entitlement know of their right to claim.
Activities over the last 3 years include:
attending many exhibitions and, through our Welfare Service, providing seminars and advice days throughout the country which are advertised through the appropriate local press;
ensuring that welfare outlets and organisations (doctors hospitals etc) and advice centres (NACAB, Age Concern etc) know of our service, and to target places our potential customers are likely to visit;
poster campaigns ( a new one has just started);
providing information and factual articles for newspapers, magazines, television and radio programmes. We ensure wherever possible that the War Pensions Agency Helpline telephone number (01253 858858) is quoted which is proving successful, with calls to the Helpline now averaging over 9,500 per week;
British Telecom telephone directories now prominently mention War Pensions Agency in the form of a column entry;
following successful trials last year of a mobile office, we will continue this service;
establishing contact with new areas such as ex-service magazines and Regimental museums to discuss WPA publicity material and areas of common interest such as VE/VJ day;
providing information for servicemen on discharge for inclusion in a Benefits Agency pack;
the Agency will shortly be appearing on Charter Television which is aimed at hospital waiting areas.
I hope you find my reply useful.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Paul Flynn, dated 27 March 1995:
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about claims for Attendance Allowance (AA).
The claim pack DS2 is exclusively for use in AA claims. In the period April 1992 to January 1995 some 2,300,000 DS2 claim packs have been issued to Benefits Agency outlets. Though the vast majority of these have gone to customers, information is not available in respect of the number still held in stock.
Additionally, DS2A packs are issued to organisations such as Welfare Rights and Citizen's Advice Bureaux. Although 1,500,000 DS2A packs have been issued in the period April 1992 to January 1995 information is not available in respect of the number still held in stock.