|Previous Section||Home Page|
Mr. Lang: I have decided to set the following targets for Caledonian MacBrayne for the year 1995 96. The company will be required to achieve as a financial target that fares income should meet at least 58 per cent. of operating costs, including depreciation charged on a replacement cost basis and provision for an 8 per cent. forgone rate of return on capital. As an efficiency target, the company will be asked not to exceed a maximum unit cost of 84p per passenger car unit capacity kilometre. As a quality of service target, the company will be asked to achieve a figure of 97 per cent. of sailings arriving on time, excluding sailings which are delayed or cancelled for safety reasons, for example, adverse weather conditions. I consider that the setting of these targets will provide a clear framework for the operation of the company in 1995 96, which is consistent with the Government's objectives of securing continued improvement in operational efficiency and standards of service.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps he is taking to issue consistent advice through the Benefits Agency offices on how to treat men and women who receive training grants from the European social fund. 
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Barry Sheerman, dated 30 March 1995:
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking about the advice issued to Benefit Agency offices when people are receiving training grants from the European Social Fund (ESF).
To ensure national consistency in the adjudication of benefit claims the Chief Adjudication Officer issues an interpretation of legislation in the form of the Adjudication Officer's Guide (AOG). The AOG is available in all Benefits Agency (BA) offices. AOG paragraphs 25468 to 25471 gives guidance on the meaning of training allowance.
BA Central Services issues operational guidance for all benefits to BA offices in the form of various manuals. An Income Support Handbook entitled "Directory of Training and Education Programmes", paragraphs 450 499, specifically covers the treatment of income from the ESF.
Staff in BA Central Services and Central Adjudication Services (CAS) are also available to discuss any queries staff in offices may have with any guidance that is issued.
Copies of the AOG and the Income Support handbook are available in the Library.
The Chief Adjudication Officer's view, reflected in the national guidance, is that payments from the ESF do not constitute a training allowance for the purposes of benefit entitlement because they are not paid out of public funds. Income from this is therefore taken fully into account in determining entitlement to Income Support (IS).
This is based on caselaw which says that where a regulation says public funds that means the public funds of Great Britain unless the
Column 838draftsman explicitly states otherwise. He has not in the case of ESF payments. Therefore ESF payments do not receive the same special treatment that is given to other training allowances paid by or on behalf of Government Departments.
The Chief Adjudication Officer's view of these payments is however currently being tested in a case awaiting a hearing before the Social Security Commissioner.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Ms Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security in what circumstances employed status participants in training for work, or in independent programmes supported by the European social fund, can claim in- work benefits including family credit and disability working allowance; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Roger Evans: In general, any employee, including a participant in a training scheme supported by the European social fund, can claim family credit or disability working allowance, provided that he satisfies the other conditions of entitlement. However, because the Training for Work (Miscellaneous Provisions) Order 1993 and the Training for Work (Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise Programmes) Order 1993 specify that participants in those schemes shall not be treated as being employed, employed status trainees under those schemes are currently unable to qualify for family credit or disability working allowance although they may qualify for income support. My hon. Friends the Under-Secretary of State for Employment and the Minster with responsibility for industry and local government at the Scottish Office propose to lay new orders shortly in order to enable such trainees to qualify for family credit and disability working allowance on the same basis as other employees.
Participants in any training scheme can claim housing benefit and council tax benefit and will continue to be able to do so.
Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many of those in residential care and nursing homes on 31 March 1993 were in receipt of (a) income support; (b) attendance allowance and (c) disability living allowance. 
Mr. Roger Evans: Information is not available for the date requested that includes attendance allowance or disability living allowance. In May 1993 the following number of residents were in receipt of:
(a) Income Support: 284,000
(b) Income Support and Attendance Allowance: 113,000
(c) Income Support and Disability Living Allowance: 31,000. The number of residents in residential care and nursing homes in receipt of income support on the 27 March 1993 was 281,000. Note:
The figures for income support for May 1993 are for preserved rights cases only.
"Income Support Statistics Annual Enquiry, May 1993".
Residential Care and Nursing Home 100 per cent. scan March 1993.
The available information is in the table:
Number of Invalidity Benefit recipients in Wales |Number ------------------------------------ April 1992 |<1>159,000 April 1993 |<1>172,000 April 1994 |<2>184,000 February 1995 |<2>186,000 Notes: <1> Based on a 1 per cent. sample of claimants, rounded to the nearest thousand, at 4 April 1992 and 3 April 1993. <2> Based on a 100 per cent. clerical count of cases in the Benefits Agency offices, rounded to the nearest thousand, on the last working day of the month. The figure will include some people who have claimed but are not actually receiving benefit: eg because they are in receipt of a higher overlapping benefit. Figures are provisional and are subject to amendment.
Column 839findings of the Health and Safety Executive- Peto report, "Continuing Increase in Mesothelioma Mortality in Britain", and its consequence for his Department's policy. 
Mr. Hague: Diffuse mesothelioma is already included in the list of prescribed diseases for which industrial injuries disablement benefit is payable. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is advised on the list by the independent Industrial Injuries Advisory Council which is aware of the Peto report. The council monitors developments in the field of occupational disease, and intends to review asbestos-related diseases as part of its work programme for the current year.
Mr. Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his oral statement of 21 March, Official Report , column 259 what is the global figure for the number of people who have won their appeals against refusal of benefit under the habitual residence test. 
Mr. Roger Evans: In the debate on 21 March I referred to certain global figures which had been supplied to the hon. Member. Unfortunately these figures relate to the application of the habitual residence test at the point of claim, not the appeal stage. The position on appeals is as I have previously explained. The reasons for an appeal are not routinely identified and figures for past appeals could not be obtained without disproportionate cost. Department officials are looking at whether this type of information could be extracted without disproportionate cost for future appeals.
Mr. Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are his latest estimates of the numbers of people who will receive (a) short-term incapacity benefit at the lower rate, (b) short-term incapacity benefit at the higher rate and (c) the long-term rate of incapacity benefit, in each of the years (i) 1995 96, (ii) 1996 97, (iii) 1997 98 and 1998 99. 
Estimated number of people in receipt of Incapacity Benefit at the end of March in each year Thousand |1996 |1997 |1998 |1999 ------------------------------------------------------- Short-term Incapacity Benefit (lower rate) |145 |145 |145 |145 Short-term Incapacity Benefit (higher rate) |110 |110 |110 |115 Long-term Incapacity Benefit |1,545|1,430|1,380|1,340 Notes: 1. Estimates are provisional and as such will be subject to revision at a later stage. 2. Figures are rounded to the nearest 5,000. 3. Figures take account of the estimated effect of the new medical test.
Column 840Report, column 83 , if he will explain how the 48 per cent. of savings resulting from the exclusion of existing claimants of incapacity benefit is to be achieved; and whether this 48 per cent. includes the 41 per cent. of savings arising from the exclusion of existing claimants by the medical test. 
"In 1995 96, 13 per cent. of the estimated savings are accounted for by the exclusion of new claimants as a result of the medical test of incapacity and 41 per cent. by the exclusion of existing claimants. In 1996 97, 17 per cent. of the estimated savings are accounted for by the exclusion of new claimants as a result of the medical test and 48 per cent. by the exclusion of existing claimants."
All the estimated savings to which the answer refers are to be achieved by the application of the medical test of incapacity.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 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. 
Sir John Wheeler: No specific guidelines in respect of the employment of public relations companies have been issued. General guidance on the use of consultants, which covers public relations companies, was issued in 1989. A copy has been placed in the library.
The Northern Ireland Office, NI Departments and their agencies and public bodies can, and do, avail themselves of advice on purchasing issues, including tendering procedures, from the Government purchasing service, which is a specialist purchasing unit within the Department of Finance and Personnel.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 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. 
Sir John Wheeler: Public relations and other forms of publicity within Northern Ireland Departments and the Northern Ireland Office fall primarily to departmental information officers and the information services. In addition, departmental staff carry out an extensive range of public relations activities. To disaggregate the total cost of these activities from their other duties would involve disproportionate cost.
The total cost of public relations contracts with the private sector in 1993 94 was £996,118. These involved the following projects:
Preparation of Department of Education's corporate image, including logo.
Department of Education (NI) stand at the ideal home exhibition. Advertising and publishing of parents charter for Department of Education (NI).
Updating Department of Education's database (Touch screen exhibition equipment).
Promotional video for the Department of Education (NI).
Column 841Public relations contracts in the Industrial Development Board's (IDB) target markets of North America, Germany, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
Consultant employed by the Department of Economic Development (DED), in the fair employment field.
Privatisation of Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE).
New corporate identity for Making Belfast Work (MBW).
Best of Northern Ireland exhibition at Westminster.
Stormont castle publicity booklets and promotional material. Launch of Valuation and Lands Agency.
Government purchasing service (NI) stand at HMT public procurement exhibition at Olympia.
Public Records Office publications.
Dr. Hendron: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which Government Department is responsible for paying the extra costs of electricity arising from the use, for medical reasons, of a new ventilator machine for Miss Shirley Robbins of Morpeth street, who suffered from polio as a child. 
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when his Department will undertake a review of the application of all provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to all alleged offenders in the north of Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
Sir John Wheeler: The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 applies only to England and Wales. Virtually identical legislation was introduced in Northern Ireland in the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989. A number of amendments are currently being considered to the order and my right hon. and learned Friend will make an announcement shortly.
Mr. Maginnis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the salary paid to the chairman of the Northern Ireland Police Authority; and to what other allowances he is normally entitled. 
Sir John Wheeler: The chairman of the Police Authority for Northern Ireland presently receives a remuneration of £31,865 per annum. Travel and subsistence allowances in line with civil service rates are payable for official business.
The Attorney-General: There are currently eight press officers employed in the departments for which I am responsible. There were no such officers in 1979, on which date the Crown Prosecution Service and the Serious Fraud Office, which currently employ six press officers and two press officers respectively, were not in existence.
Mrs. Ann Taylor: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list each non- departmental public body and agency for which he has responsibility and, for each, list separate figures for spending by that body or agency on (a) television advertising, (b) radio advertising, (c) newspaper advertising, (d) other promotional materials and activities, (e) the totals in each year of (a) to (d) , and (f) the proportion of (e) that was spent on recruitment advertising, for each year since 1979 80 or for each year since 1979 80 or for each of its existence if it has been created since then; and what are his latest estimates of (a) to (f) for the years 1994 95 and 1995 96. 
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Prime Minister whether he approved the terms of the letter sent by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to Mr. Rupert Pennant-Rea in answer to his resignation letter; and what is the Government's policy on standards of behaviour of senior public officials. 
The Prime Minister: My approval was neither sought nor required to the letter my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer sent to Mr. Rupert Pennant-Rea. I have now read it and agree with it. The Government's policy is to uphold the highest standard in public life.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Turkish Government to ensure that no arms given to Turkey by NATO are being used in the attacks now taking place against Kurdish safe havens in northern Iraq. 
Mr. David Davis: None in this context. Proposed United Kingdom arms sales to Turkey, as to other countries, are considered on a case-by-case basis and are subject to stringent licensing procedures. In particular, we do not grant licences for the sale of equipment which we believe is likely to be used for internal repression.
"weapons, and equipment which could be used for internal repression".
The EU introduced a ban on arms sales to China on 26 June 1989 but the scope of that ban has, in the absence of agreement on a common interpretations, been left for national interpretation. In the interests of clarity we have decided that henceforward the embargo will include:
Column 843lethal weapons such as machine guns, large calibre weapons, bombs, torpedoes, rockets and missiles;
specially designed components of the above, and ammunition; military aircraft and helicopters, vessels of war, armoured fighting vehicles and other such weapons platforms;
any equipment which is likely to be used for internal repression.
All applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis in the light of these criteria as well as our usual criteria governing all defence exports.
3 4 April: Culture/Media
6 April: Fisheries
7 April: Industry
10 11 April: Foreign Affairs
The following subjects are likely to be discussed:
3 April: Culture Council
--Adoption of the provisional agenda
--Adoption of the list of "A" points
--Proposal for a MEDIA II programme: orientation debate
--Co-ordination of legislative, regulatory and administrative measures in the member states concerning television broadcasting: presentation from the Commission of its proposal to modify the Council directive of 3 October 1989
--Financial mechanisms intended to permit the mobilisation of finance for audiovisual production: oral communication from the Commission
--Joint meeting of the Council and the countries of central and eastern Europe concerning co-operation in the fields of both culture and audiovisual policy.
4 April: Culture Council
--European heritage and multimedia: draft resolution
--Co-operation with the countries of central and eastern Europe: draft resolution
--Proposal for a decision establishing a support programme for artistic and cultural activities (KALEIDOSCOPE 2000): orientation debate
--Proposal for a decision establishing a community support programme for the dissemination of literary, theatrical and reference works through translation and specialist training of literary translators (ARIANE): orientation debate
--Community support programme in the field of cultural heritage (RAPHAEL): information from the Commission
6 April: Fisheries Council
--Total allowable catches for the Greenland halibut
--Objectives and strategies for the period 1994 to 1997
--Additional conditions for year to year management of total allowable catches and quotas
--Technical conservation measures
--(possible) Guide prices
--(possible) Common marketing standards for shrimps, edible crabs and Norway lobsters
--(possible) Tariff quotas for certain fishery products
--(possible) Structural assistance--scale of premiums
--(possible) Structural assistance--early retirement
--Fisheries relations with Morocco.