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Disability Living Allowance

Mr. Hinchcliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what entitlements, and when, persons in private hospital or nursing home care, outside the NHS, will lose to mobility component disability living allowance as a result of proposed changes to benefit entitlements; and when this will apply. [38113]

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: The changes, which come into effect on 31 July, will apply only to people regarded, for benefit purposes, as hospital in-patients maintained free of charge by the NHS. Those affected by the change will have the payment of the mobility component of disability living allowance interrupted but underlying entitlement will not be affected.

Mr. Hinchcliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what research he has conducted into the effect of proposals to change regulations for mobility component disability living allowance and the potential change to transport costs within the national health service following the response of the Social Security Advisory Committee on SI, 1996, No. 1436; [38111]

Mr. Mitchell: None. Social security benefits have never been available to meet NHS costs. Disability living allowance is an extra-costs benefit intended to help individuals meet the additional expenses associated with their disability; the mobility component is primarily intended to help them become independently mobile. Changes to the payability of a personal benefit should have no significant impact on help which is already available for fares to visit relatives in hospital.

Mr. Hinchcliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if the proposed transitional protection conditions for mobility component disability living allowance to persons detained under part II or part III of the Mental Health Act 1983 require such people to be treated under social security regulations in an identical manner to persons committed to hospital following involvement in criminal proceedings; and if he will make a statement. [38114]

Mr. Mitchell: No.

The Department's position is explained at paragraphs 28 to 31 of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's statement in response to the report by the Social Security Advisory Committee on the Social Security (Disability Living Allowance and Claims and Payments) Amendment Regulations, contained in Cm 3233, published on 7 June, a copy of which is in the Library.

Operation Spotlight

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will (a) list the figures for weekly benefit savings achieved in each area where Operation Spotlight has taken place, (b) give a breakdown of these savings by the initiative which detected the fraud and (c) indicate how long each person from whom benefit was withdrawn remained out of receipt of benefit. [35975]

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Mr. Heald [holding answer 8 July 1996]: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is as follows:

Where the spotlight on benefit cheats campaigns have finished, and the majority of results are available, the total amount of benefit savings achieved so far for the relevant months is as follows. The final savings for the area in 1995-96 are also shown to give a comparison of the relative success of the spotlight campaign.

£ million
Total savings in spotlight period (4 weeks)Full-year fraud savings for 1995-96
Haringey and Enfield4.15.6
Westminster and Camden0.83.5

1. Figures as at 5 July 1996.

2. There are variations in the size and composition of the spotlight areas and the type of anti-fraud activities in each place. Simple comparisons of on area's results with another's would therefore be misleading and should be avoided.

3. The savings shown are from fraud detection activity, and do not take account of any deterrent effect that may have resulted from the surrounding publicity. Spotlight has also generated additional savings from housing benefit fraud detected by local authorities, and extra activity for other agencies and departments, such as the Contributions Agency, Child Support Agency, Inland Revenue, Customs and Excise, and the immigration service.

4. Although spotlight operations have now finished in Birmingham, Nottingham and Bristol, cases referred during the operational period continue to be processed, and results are still being evaluated. Spotlight operations also continue in the Isle of Wight, Lancaster and Barrow in Furness, Cardiff, Plymouth, Great Yarmouth, Brighton, Darlington, Rhyl and the Medway towns.

5. The individual savings figures have been calculated using the normal 32-week methodology, which is approved by the Treasury and the National Audit Office.

Weekly benefit savings for other areas are not yet finalised, but the total estimated savings for the campaigns so far, including the above, now exceed £27 million.

Child Support Agency

Mr. Alan Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many maintenance accounts held by the Child Support Agency were in arrears between April 1995 to the end of March 1996; and what was the amount outstanding. [37421]

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive, Miss Ann Chant. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Miss Ann Chant to Mr. Alan Howarth, dated 19 July 1996:

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Competitive Tendering

Ms Jowell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what changes he plans to introduce during the current round of competitive tendering for health and education services in Northern Ireland on the basis of recommendations made by the Equal Opportunities Commission for Northern Ireland on equal opportunities and the competitive tendering process. [38100]

Sir John Wheeler: Any such changes will be considered in the context of the Government's response to the Equal Opportunities Commission regarding its report and recommendations.

Ms Jowell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what response he has made to the recommendations made by the Equal Opportunities Commission for Northern Ireland in the report on its formal investigation into competitive tendering in health and education services. [38099]

Sir John Wheeler: I have not yet responded to the report and recommendations and will do so as soon as is practicable.

Terrorist Crime (Prison Releases)

Mr. William Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons convicted of terrorist crimes have been released since the IRA and

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loyalist paramilitary ceasefires began; how many of these were connected with each terrorist/paramilitary organisation; what percentage of their sentence they had served; and how many of those released were serving a life sentence. [38617]

Sir John Wheeler: Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Prison Service under its chief executive, Mr. A. Shannon. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Alan Shannon to Mr. William Ross, dated 22 July 1996:

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