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Asthma

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people are currently being treated for asthma in (a) each county and (b) Wales; and if he will make a statement. [14888]

Mr. Gwilym Jones: Information on the number of people treated for asthma in Wales is not available centrally. However, a health survey of adults was carried out in Wales during 1995 and one of the questions asked was "Do you have any of these chest troubles or breathing difficulties now?"--asthma was one of the conditions included. The results, by health authority, were published in chapter 1 of "Welsh Health Survey 1995", a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

Homelessness

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many homeless households there are in each of the local authority areas in Wales; and if he will make a statement. [15140]

Mr. Jonathan Evans: Information on the number of households accepted by local authorities as homeless is provided in the following table:

Number of households accepted as homeless, July to September 1996

AuthorityNumber
Blaenau Gwent59
Bridgend365
Caerphilly113
Cardiff342
Carmarthenshire71
Ceredigion35
Conwy57
Denbighshire45
Flintshire56
Gwynedd28
Isle of Anglesey25
Merthyr Tydfil35
Monmouthshire31
Neath Port Talbot129
Newport172
Pembrokeshire65
Powys111
Rhondda Cynon Taff204
Swansea310
Torfaen60
The Vale of Glamorgan38
Wrexham109
Wales2,460

Source:

Local authority returns.


Unfit Homes

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many houses in (a) the Alyn and Deeside constituency and (b) Wales his Department estimates to be unfit for human habitation. [15145]

Mr. Jonathan Evans: The latest Welsh house condition survey was conducted in 1993. From this, it is estimated that 151,200 occupied first homes in Wales were unfit. Information on individual constituency or local authority areas is not available from the survey. A

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further house condition survey, which will provide results for local authority areas, is under way. Information from this survey will be available in 1998.

Housebuilding

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the level of housebuilding in Wales. [15144]

Mr. Jonathan Evans: Provisional data available from local authorities and the National House Building Council on house building in Wales for the third quarter of 1996 show 2,543 dwellings were started and 2,227 were completed during the period. This represents a 12 per cent. increase in the number of starts and a 2 per cent. increase in the number of completions over the third quarter of 1995.

Planning Guidance

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received since the publication of "Technical Advice Note (Wales) 5"; how many expressed continuing concerns; and what those concerns were. [15241]

Mr. Gwilym Jones: My right hon. Friend has received no representations on "Technical Advice Note (Wales) 5" since its publication.

European Anti-racism Year

Mr. Alex Carlile: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what action he has taken in relation to the European Commission's decision to make 1997 the European Year Against Racism, Xenophobia and Anti-semitism; and if he will make a statement. [15264]

Mr. Hague: The Home Office has established a national co-ordinating committee which brings together representatives from a range of key organisations from across the country and will act as a focal point for the UK contributions to the European Year. The committee is currently drawing up a national programme of events for the Year and details will be announced in due course.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Benefit Recipients

Ms Corston: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 28 January, Official Report, column 190, how many recipients of council tax benefit were (a) retirement pensioners and (b) retirement pensioners also receiving income support; what estimates he has made of the numbers of retirement pensioners drawing council tax benefit who are eligible for, but not claiming income support in (i) Great Britain, (ii) the United Kingdom and (iii) Bristol, East. [14292]

Mr. Roger Evans: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is set out in the table.

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Number of council tax benefit recipients in receipt of the state retirement pension for Great Britain as at the end of May 1995.

Number of recipients (000s)
All recipients of council tax benefit and retirement pension.2,431
All recipients of council tax benefit, retirement pension and income support.1,100
Estimated recipients of council tax benefit and retirement pension, eligible for but not claiming income support260

Notes:

1. The information applies only to Great Britain.

2. Information on Bristol East is not available.

3. The first two figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand. The estimated figure has been rounded to the nearest 10,000.

4. Figures refer to benefit units which may be a single person or a couple.

Source:

1. Housing benefit management information system annual 1 per cent. sample enquiry of housing benefit recipients with and without income support for Great Britain taken at the end of May 1995.


For information on Northern Ireland I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. and Learned Friend, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Data Collection (Postcodes)

Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what use his Department and its agencies make of postcode areas for the collection of data and in formulas for the distribution of grants and awards; and when such usages were last reviewed. [14802]

Mr. Burt: Postcodes are used as one of the eligibility criteria for determining entitlement to a social fund cold weather payment. Each residential postcode is linked to one of 70 representative weather stations within Great Britain. The use of postcodes was introduced in November 1991. This enables those eligible for a payment to be identified quickly and a payment issued. After the end of each winter the scheme is reviewed. The review includes postcode to weather station links.

The family resources survey, which is sponsored by this Department, uses the Office for National Statistics small users postcode address file to select a representative sample of households in Great Britain. The sample selection is carried out by the Office for National Statistics. There has not been a comprehensive review of the usage of postcodes since the survey was launched in 1992, but the coverage achieved by the selection method is under constant surveillance.

The War Pensions Agency, in the annual report, "Pensioners by War Pension Committee Regions", shows the number of pensioners resident in specified war pension committee areas, which are broken down by postcode. The report is produced by the war pensions computer system. The method of compiling the report was last reviewed in June 1996.

The Child Support Agency uses postcodes to estimate broadly travel to work allowances which may form part of a maintenance assessment. The agency began using postcodes for this purpose following the introduction of child support legislation in April 1995, which allowed

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parents to have such costs reflected in their maintenance assessment. There has been no review of the usage of postcodes since that date.

Social Security Appeals

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what targets exist for the Benefits Agency staff involved in adjudication and appeals of social security claims regarding appeal processing; [15220]

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

Letter from Peter Mathison to Mr. Jeremy Corbyn, dated 11 February 1997:







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    The national targets set for the 3 types of appeal administered by BA are as follows:

Type of appealPrimary target Per cent.Secondary target Per cent.
Social Security69 in 28 days94 in 90 days
Medical60 in 35 days85 in 60 days
Disability60 in 30 days90 in 60 days

The individual benefit targets are as follows:


BenefitPrimary targetSecondary target
Per cent.Per cent.
Income Support and Contributory Benefits70 in 28 days95 in 90 days
Job Seekers Allowance70 in 28 days95 in 90 days
Family Credit69 in 28 days94 in 90 days
Disability Living Allowance69 in 28 days94 in 90 days
Attendance Allowance69 in 28 days94 in 90 days
Disability Working Allowance69 in 28 days94 in 90 days
Invalid Care Allowance61 in 28 days93 in 90 days
Child Benefit50 in 28 days90 in 90 days
Guardians Allowance93 in 28 days--
Pension Services Division64 in 28 days94 in 90 days
Overseas Benefits Division51 in 28 days90 in 90 days

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Disability AppealsPrimary target Per cent.Secondary target Per cent.
Disability Living Allowance60 in 30 days90 in 60 days
Attendance Allowance60 in 30 days90 in 60 days


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