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Incapacity Benefit

Ms Lynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the average time between the lodging of an appeal to a tribunal and a decision being reached by a tribunal for people appealing against a decision relating to the all-work medical test for incapacity benefit. [11196]

Mr. Burt: The information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Housing Benefits

Mr. Chisholm: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate he has made of expenditure in Scotland in 1995-96 and 1996-97 on (a) income support for mortgage interest payments and (b) housing benefit. [11141]

Mr. Roger Evans: The information is set out in the table.

Projected expenditure in Scotland
£ million
Income Support mortgage interest payments3535
Housing Benefit890980

1. The income support mortgage interest figures for Scotland for 1995-96 and 1996-97 have been derived by applying the same percentage of estimated expenditure for Scotland in 1994-95 to projected expenditure for Great Britain in 1995-96 and 1996-97.

2. Figures are rounded to the nearest £5 million.

Benefit Fraud

Ms Lynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proposals he has to improve the sharing of information and promotion of best practice by Government agencies and Departments in tackling organised benefit fraud. [9980]

Mr. Heald: Where more than one investigative body is engaged in the detection of organised fraud offences being perpetrated by the same offenders, it is our practice that those bodies work together where it is the most effective way of pursuing an investigation. In this context, information is shared whenever it is appropriate to do so.

Benefits Agency organised fraud investigators employed exclusively to tackle organised fraud are involved with Home Office initiatives such as the joint action group and the National Criminal Investigation Service which have been specifically set up to share information about serious fraud and discuss the best way of combatting this threat across different agencies. This multi-agency approach ensures that the most efficient and effective use of resources is employed, and best practices adopted.

Welfare Provision

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what comparisons of the British welfare state provision he has made with those of Singapore; and if he will make a statement. [11521]

29 Jan 1996 : Column: 588

Mr. Lilley: I regularly consider international experience of alternative state welfare systems but these are not always directly transferable to the particular circumstances of the UK. I have not studied the Singapore system in detail but I note that the Singapore Government have control over the bulk of money people are required to invest for their pensions and other welfare benefits.

The International Monetary Fund recently reported that the average annual return on the state-run Singapore scheme since 1980 has been only 2 per cent. more than inflation. This contrasts with British pension funds which have yielded almost 10 per cent. more than inflation, and now stands at almost £600 billion.

Benefit Statistics

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the take up level of (a) income support and (b) housing benefit for entitled persons in the (i) 60 to 65, (ii) 65 to 70, (iii) 70 to 75 and (iv) over 75 years of age groups; and if he will make a statement. [11522]

Mr. Roger Evans: The information is not readily available and, where obtainable, could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Social Security (Persons From Abroad) Regulations

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the consultations that have taken place with welfare and refugee organisations since October 1995 concerning the Social Security (Persons from Abroad) draft Regulations. [11523]

Mr. Roger Evans: Representations from many welfare and refugee organisations were received by the Social Security Advisory Committee during the course of its consultation exercise. The Committee's report to the Secretary of State for Social Security was approved on 8 December 1995 and subsequently published as part of Command Paper Cm. 3062. Appendix 1 of the report contains a list of the representations received.

State Pensions

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the average level of state pension, the cost per head of the total population and the proportion of total Government expenditure required for state pensions for (a) the United Kingdom, (b) France, (c) Italy, (d) the Netherlands, (e) Singapore, (f) Japan, (g) Australia and (h) New Zealand. [11524]

Mr. Heald: Comparable information on state pensions is not available in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Information on retirement pensions in EU member states is contained in the "MISSOC" tables, "Social Protection in the Member States of the Community", published by the European Commission, and in the Eurostat publication "Digest of statistics on social protection in Europe Volume 1: Old Age." Information on old-age pensions in Australia may be found in comparative tables of social security schemes, published

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by the Council of Europe. Information about state pensions in Japan and New Zealand and old-age benefits in Singapore are in "Social Security Programs Throughout the World", published by Social Security Administration, USA.

Copies of the publications referred to above are in the Library.

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Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the cash level of the state pension for each year since 1975 and its value in 1975 prices; and if he will estimate the value since 1980 if the rate had been linked to earnings. [11525]

Mr. Heald: The available information is in the table.

29 Jan 1996 : Column: 589

£ per week
Basic rates of retirement pension Value of RP at April 1975 prices Rate of RP if uprated by earnings since November 1979
April 197511..6018.5011.6018.50----
November 197513.3021.2011.9118.98----
November 197615.3024.5011.9119.08----
November 197717.5028.0012.0619.29----
November 197819.5031.2012.4319.89----
November 197923.3037.3012.6520.2623.3037.30
November 198027.1543.4512.7920.4627.6044.20
November 198129.6047.3512.4519.9230.7549.25
November 198232.8552.5513.0120.8033.3553.40
November 198334.0554.5012.8620.5836.2558.05
November 198435.8057.3012.8820.6238.0560.95
November 198538.3061.3013.0720.9141.3566.25
July 198638.7061.9512.9920.7943.1569.15
April 198739.5063.2512.7020.3345.5573.00
April 198841.1565.9012.7320.3849.1078.70
April 198943.6069.8012.4819.9853.4585.70
April 199046.9075.1012.2719.6558.6594.05
April 199152.0083.2512.7920.4764.20102.95
April 199254.1586.7012.7720.4469.25111.05
April 199356.1089.8013.0620.9072.65116.50
April 199457.6092.1013.0720.9074.75119.85
April 199558.8594.1012.9320.6777.75124.65
April 199661.1597.75----80.25128.65

1. The values of RP uprated by earnings have been rounded to the nearest 5 pence.

2. The retail price index (all items), and the average earnings index (Whole economy unadjusted) as published by the central statistical office.

3. It is not yet possible to provide a figure for the April 1996 RP rates at 1975 levels.

29 Jan 1996 : Column: 589

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the average level of pension expectation for holders of SERPS since 1978 in cash terms and at 1978 prices. [11547]

Mr. Heald: The amount of additional pension depends on the number of years a person has contributed to SERPS and their earnings in each year. The table shows entitlement to additional pension for men on average male earnings and women on average female earnings who have contributed to SERPS in each year since 1978-79 and who reached pension age in the year shown in the left-hand column.

Additional Pension for a person on average earnings since 1978-79
£ per week

Pension ageAt award At 1995-96 prices At November 1978 prices
reached in:MenWomenMenWomenMenWomen

All figures are rounded to the nearest ten pence.

29 Jan 1996 : Column: 590

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