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War Widows' Pensions

Mr. William Powell: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many pensions are currently being paid to war widows; and how many of these relate to service up to (a) 30 September 1921 and (b) 31 December 1945. [11075]

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Mr. Heald: The information is not available in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Such information as is available is as follows:

A war widow's pension may be awarded where the death of the husband is due to service in the armed forces at any time. The number of war widows pensions in payment at 31 December 1996, the latest date for which figures are available, is 59,611. At 31 December 1995, a total of 1,544 awards were in respect of service up to 30 September 1921.

Cold Weather Payments

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many cold weather payments were made in (a) December 1996 and (b) January 1997 to date. [11607]

Mr. Roger Evans: An estimated 1,410,720 payments were made in December. The number of payments so far in January, up to and including 17 January, is estimated to be 3,687,380.

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security which of the weather stations triggered cold weather payments in December 1996 and January 1997 to date; and how often each station triggered payments during this period. [11859]

Mr. Evans: The information is as follows:

Triggers

Weather stationDecemberJanuary
Abbotsinch (Glasgow Airport)--2
Aberporth--1
Aviemore22
Bedford21
Bingley--1
Boltshope Park21
Boscombe Down11
Bracknell11
Braemar22
Brize Norton2--
Capel Curig11
Cardinham11
Carlisle--1
Chivenor--1
Coltishall--2
Crosby--1
Culdrose--1
Dumfries1--
Dunkeswell21
Elmdon (Birmingham Airport)2--
Eskdalemuir21
Eskmeals--1
Flyingdales--1
Gatwick11
Great Malvern--2
Heathrow--2
Herstmonceux2--
Hurn (Bournemouth Airport)11
Kinloss12
Linton on Ouse11
Liscombe21
Loch Glascarnoch21
Lyneham21
Manston11
Marham12
Mumbles Head--2
Nottingham--2
Plymouth--1
Portland--1
Rhoose (Cardiff Airport)--2
Rhyl--1
Ringway (Manchester Airport)--1
Sennybridge21
Shawbury11
Southampton--2
St. Mawgan--2
St. Catherine's Point--2
Stansted12
Thorney Island--2
Tulloch Bridge21
Waddington11
Wattisham12
Wick Airport--1
Wittering21
Yeovilton11

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Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the average size of area covered by the weather stations responsible for triggering cold weather payments. [11858]

Mr. Evans: The average size of area covered by the 70 weather stations used in the cold weather payments scheme this winter is about 1,250 sq miles per station.

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will arrange for the entitlement for cold weather payments in the Caernarfon constituency to be triggered by the temperature readings in the village of Deiniolen rather than at RAF Valley; and if he will make a statement. [11961]

Mr. Evans: No. Only weather stations which meet Meteorological Office requirements are suitable for the cold weather payments scheme. There are no such facilities at Deiniolen of which the Meteorological Office is aware or which meet its requirements.

Personalised Number Plates (Executive Agencies)

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many personalised number plates there are in the ownership of the executive agencies operated by his Department; and if he will list them. [11419]

Mr. Burt: None.

Child Care Facilities

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if Ministers are entitled to use child care facilities supported by his Department. [11591]

Mr. Burt: Yes.

Maternity Leave

Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many small employers reclaimed money under the small firms relief scheme for statutory maternity leave in 1995-96; [11810]

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Mr. Heald: The statutory maternity pay small employers' relief scheme was introduced from 4 September 1994 when the reimbursement rate for SMP was changed to 92 per cent. The scheme allows small businesses paying £20,000 or less annually in national insurance contributions to continue to receive full reimbursement of their SMP costs.

Employers are not required to distinguish in their end-of-year returns between reimbursement under small employers' relief and the 92 per cent. rate. In 1994-95, £443 million was reclaimed by all employers this includes 100 per cent. reimbursement for all employers for the first six months.

Information about employers' payments for 1995-96 will be available from May 1997 when employers' end-of-year returns have been assessed. It is estimated that around 38 per cent. of firms paying SMP were able to recover payments in full in 1995-96.

Appeal Tribunals (Membership)

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security which former hon. Members are now members of social security appeal tribunals or disability appeal tribunals. [12145]

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

Computers

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what is the nature of the design faults in his Department's national computer which necessitate its being closed down when a claimant's partner's claim is being considered; [10917]

Mr. Roger Evans: The administration of income support is a matter for Peter Mathison, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Peter Mathison to Mr. Kevin McNamara, dated 21 January 1997:





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