Previous Section Index Home Page


Sierra Leone

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 1 June 1998, Official Report, column 103, on awards of the Military Cross, how many United Kingdom forces were serving in Sierra Leone in the two weeks either side of the occasion in which a service man was awarded the Military Cross in 1997; and which units they served in. [44232]

Dr. Reid: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire) on 18 May 1998, Official Report, column 255-57, and to my subsequent letter of 1 June 1998, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Widow's Pension

Mrs. Ray Michie: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many women were widowed aged under 45 years in each of the last three years; what percentage of these received (a) the widowed mother's allowance and (b) widow's pension and in each case at what cost; and if she will make a statement. [41630]

Mr. Denham: Information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is set out in the table.

The number of new widows under 45 years receiving Widowed Mother's Allowance and associated cost

£ million
Year widowedNumberOverall cost
October 1994-September 19954,64018
October 1995-September 19964,48019
October 1996-September 19973,92017

Notes:

1. The table is based on the Pension Strategy Computer System and only includes cases in Great Britain. The percentage figures are based on information from the Family Resources Survey 1995-96

2. Women widowed aged under 45 since 1988 are not entitled to a Widows Pension

3. Monetary amounts are rounded to the nearest £1 million and are in cash prices

4. Percentages are rounded to the nearest one per cent.


The percentage of all widows aged under 45 who received Widowed Mothers Allowance in 1994-95 was 62 per cent.

The percentage of all widows aged under 45 who received Widowed Mothers Allowance in 1995-96 was 65 per cent.

Lone Parents

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assumptions about the rate of response to initial letters to lone parents underlay the budgeting for the Parent Plus pilots; and what has been the actual response rate to initial letters under the New Deal for lone parents. [40209]

Mr. Keith Bradley: Budgeting for the Parent Plus pilots was based on the assumption that 35 per cent. of lone parents sent a letter would attend an initial interview and, of those, 50 per cent. would agree to participate,

4 Jun 1998 : Column: 315

giving a take-up rate of 17.5 per cent. The same assumptions were made in the initial plans for the New Deal for Lone Parents.

Lone parents have attended interviews in response to various contacts: directly in response to letters of invitation, and indirectly in response to publicity, and word of mouth. As of 24 April 1998, there were 25,805 contacts with lone parents, which includes 22,402 lone parents who had been sent letters. 5,508 lone parents have attended an interview in response to a letter or other publicity; and 4,901 have agreed to participate in the New Deal for Lone Parents, following an interview. This means that approximately 90 per cent. of those attending an interview have agreed to participate; and produces a take-up rate of 19 per cent., higher than the original assumption.

A full independent evaluation of the New Deal for Lone Parents is being undertaken, to report in Autumn 1999. This will assess the overall effectiveness of the programme.

Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will estimate the average income of an unemployed lone mother with three dependent children in (a) London, (b) Birmingham, (c) Manchester, (d) Glasgow and (e) Edinburgh in each year between 1993-94 and 1998-99 broken down by benefit. [43915]

Mr. Keith Bradley: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is set out in the tables.

Data on the average incomes of unemployed lone mothers in each of the cities named in the question are not available.

There may be unemployed lone mothers with income (from other sources, for example child maintenance) of a level which will affect their entitlement to Income Support or JSA, Free School Meals and Welfare Food. Child Benefit is payable in full irrespective of income.

Social Security (SS) benefit entitlement--1993-94 to 1997-98 and (existing claimants only) 1998-99 for an unemployed lone mother with three dependent children

£
YearIS/JSAChild benefitFree school meals and welfare foodsSS benefit entitlement
1993-9478.5532.2510.49121.29
1994-9582.3032.8510.84125.99
1995-9683.6533.6011.40128.65
1996-9785.9534.7010.76131.41
1997-9888.3535.1010.90134.35
from April 199890.3535.7010.96137.01
from November 199895.3535.7010.96142.01

Note:

From 6 April 1998, new claimants receive different rates.


4 Jun 1998 : Column: 316

Social Security (SS) benefit entitlement--1998-99 for an unemployed lone mother with three dependent children

£
IS/JSAChild benefitFree school meals and welfare foodsSS benefit entitlement
from April 199885.6535.7010.96132.31
from July 199891.3030.0510.96132.31
from November 199896.3030.0510.96137.31

Notes:

1. These tables show lone parents' Social Security benefit entitlements (excluding Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit)

2. An unemployed lone mother's Social Security benefit entitlement (excluding Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit) is made up of (a) Income Support (IS) or, for some lone mothers, JSA; (b) Child Benefit (ChB); and (c) Free School Meals and Welfare Foods (FSM & WF). There is no regional variation in the rates of these benefits

3. Lone mothers who are unemployed and in receipt of Income Support (IS) or JSA may receive help with their housing costs--through Housing Benefit (HB) or Income Support Mortgage Interest (ISMI)--and with their council tax--through Council Tax Benefit (CTB)

4. Gross benefit entitlement figures for lone mothers (ie before housing costs) would show a variation by city, since rents and Council Tax (and therefore Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit) vary by city

5. IS claimants are entitled to welfare foods (free milk tokens and vitamins) for any children they have under 5 years old and free school meals for children they have aged 5 and over. The value of free school meals is based on the January 1991 figure uprated by the RPI food component each year. The value of welfare foods is an estimate based on the average cost of a pint of milk

6. The figures assume:

(a) take up of full benefit entitlement, and

(b) the family has no capital or disregarded income

7. The figures shown assume one child to be under 5, another between 5 and 10 years old and the third between 11 and 15 years old

8. The removal of the lone parent rate of Child Benefit, which is reflected in table 2, is subject to Parliamentary approval of the necessary regulations


Concessionary Television Licences

Mr. Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people qualify for concessionary television licences under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Acts; and how many are currently claiming their entitlement. [43803]

Mr. Boateng: I have been asked to reply.

Concessionary television licences are not provided under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970, but under the Wireless Telegraphy (Television Licence Fees) Regulations 1997 (made under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1947) which is the responsibility of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Under these Regulations, a concessionary television licence costing £5 is available to people living in residential homes and certain types of sheltered accommodation. There are currently 651,000 beneficiaries under this scheme. It is not known how many people qualify for the concession and fail to claim, but the number is likely to be low, since applications for the concession have to be submitted by housing managers, who are generally well aware of the existence of the concessionary scheme.

4 Jun 1998 : Column: 317

Registered blind people are also eligible for a reduction of £1.25 in the television licence fee. Approximately 34,400 people are currently claiming this reduction. At 31 March 1997, there were 158,590 registered blind people in England.

The Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 (Section 2(1)(b)) places a duty upon local authorities to make arrangements to provide a disabled person with, or to assist that person in obtaining, wireless, television, library or similar recreational facilities, where the authority is satisfied that this is necessary in order to meet that person's needs. The number of persons receiving such provision is not known.


Next Section Index Home Page