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Better Government White Paper

Ms Moran: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office when he expects to publish the Better Government White Paper. [63782]

Dr. Jack Cunningham: As I explained to the House on 21 October 1998, Official Report, columns 1267-68, the Government will publish a White Paper in the spring, setting out proposals for modernising government and joining up public services, to secure effective decision- making and services that work and respond to the people who need them. The Prime Minister has asked me to chair a Cabinet Committee to drive this agenda forward and the timetable remains firmly on course. I am keen to take into account a wide range of views and ideas in preparing the White Paper.

WALES

Ministerial E-mail Address

Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his e-mail address. [62553]

Mr. Michael: I have asked my officials to introduce systems to provide e-mail access from outside the Department as quickly as possible. Work is already in hand to provide this facility on a general basis. My Department is already able to provide e-mail facilities to specific officials where a specific need can be

15 Dec 1998 : Column: 487

demonstrated. In addition the Department publishes e-mail addresses for replies to consultation exercises. On the Internet Web site for the National Assembly for Wales, members of the public are encouraged to enter into a debate about Assembly issues by posting views and questions to the Web site by e-mail.

Beef (Schools)

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what measures he is taking to encourage local education authorities to allow beef to be served in schools in Wales. [63404]

Mr. Hain: Decisions on whether to allow beef to be served in schools in Wales are for local education authorities and, in the grant maintained sector, schools themselves to take.

Mental Health Services

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what provision he has made for additional expenditure over the next three years on NHS mental health services in Wales; and if he will make a statement. [63476]

Mr. Jon Owen Jones: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales to my hon. Friend the Member for Vale of Clwyd (Mr. Ruane) on 14 December 1998, Official Report, column 392. This set out the additional cash that will be available for the NHS over the next three years. I am now considering in detail my spending priorities in view of the range of pressures, including those arising from developments in mental health services in Wales and will make a further announcement in due course.

Community Hospital, Porthmadog

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give approval for the North Wales Health Authority to go ahead with its proposal to build a new community hospital at Porthmadog to serve eastern Dwyfor and northern Meirionnydd. [63445]

Mr. Jon Owen Jones: The proposal to build a North Meirionnydd East Dwyfor community hospital will be considered along with all other priorities for 1999-2000.

Roads (Flintshire)

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the total cost of (a) the new River Dee Bridge in Flintshire and its associated road works, (b) the Grade Interchange at the entrance to the Deeside Industrial Park, (c) the Queensferry Flyover and (d) the Hawarden By-Pass, at current prices; and if he will make a statement. [63938]

Mr. Hain: Scheme costs at current prices are:





15 Dec 1998 : Column: 488

The figures for the three schemes for which the Welsh Office are responsible have been revalued to 1998-99 prices using current Treasury deflators.

Health Authority Spending

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the total amount spent on administration by each health authority in Wales in the last year for which figures are available. [63705]

Mr. Jon Owen Jones: The information requested is given in the following table:

£000
Bro Taf4,772
Dyfed Powys3,112
Gwent3,264
Morgannwg2,605
North Wales3,744

Source:

Annual accounts of health authorities 1997-98


A5-A55 Dual Carriageway

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer of 8 December 1998, Official Report, column 184, on the A5-A55 dual carriageway, what is the name of the preferred bidder. [63707]

Mr. Hain: The preferred bidder is UK Highways.

North Wales Health Authority

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many administrative staff are employed by North Wales Health Authority. [63706]

Mr. Jon Owen Jones: At 30 June 1998, the latest date for which data are available, there were 153 administrative and clerical staff (equivalent to 149 staff working whole-time) in post at North Wales Health Authority.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Pensioners

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the cost (a) of giving in the current uprating to all those pensioners eligible for the National Insurance retirement pension who are aged 80 years or more an increase in benefit in line with earnings and (b) of such an increase if the current year's increase in pension for those aged 80 years or more reflected the rise in earnings since 1980. [62630]

Mr. Denham: The information is not available in the format requested because average earnings figures for September 1998 are not yet available. Such information as is available is set out in the table.

15 Dec 1998 : Column: 489

The estimated cost if the April 1998 retirement pension rates for pensioners aged over 79 years had been uprated in line with rises in earnings up to and including September 1997
£ million

RP uprated by the growth in earnings between 1996 and 1997RP uprated by the growth in earnings since 1979
Retirement Pension cost402,780
Means-tested benefit offsets-20-940
Net cost 201,840

Notes:

1. The RP cost has been provided by the Government Actuary's Department.

2. Means-tested benefit offsets have been estimated using the 1995/6 Family Resources Survey and the May 1997 Income Support Quarterly Statistical Enquiry, both uprated to 1998/9 benefits and earnings levels.

3. Estimates are rounded to the nearest £10 million.


Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the total numbers of pensioners for the current year who are (a) receiving income support, (b) entitled to income support but are not receiving these funds at present, (c) with incomes below £5,600, excluding those already accounted for by (a) and (b), (d) aged 65 to 74 with incomes between £5,410 and £9,710, (e) aged 65 to 74 with incomes between £9,711 and £16,200, (f) aged 65 to 74 with incomes between £16,201 and £17,000, (g) aged 65 to 74 with incomes between £17,001 and £18,630, (h) aged 65 to 74 with incomes above £18,630, (i) aged 75 and over with incomes between £5,600 and £9,900, (j) aged 75 and over with incomes between £9,901 and £16,200, (k) aged 75 and over with incomes between £16,201 and £18,000, (l) aged 75 and over with incomes between £18,001 and £19,010 and (m) aged 75 years and over with incomes above £19,010. [62628]

Mr. Denham: The information is not available in the form requested. Such information as is available is as follows.

There are 1,425,000 pensioner benefit units currently in receipt of Income Support, excluding Residential Care and Nursing Home recipients. Information for other parts of the question is not available for the current year.

The number of pensioner benefit units estimated to be entitled to, but not receiving, Income Support in 1996-97 is provisionally estimated to be between 400,000 and 700,000. These estimates differ from those published on 1 October. An error in the published take-up estimates for pensioners has been discovered; a full set of corrected figures will be published in the new year.

In 1996-97 there were an estimated 1,250,000 pensioner benefit units with incomes of £5,600 or less who were not entitled to Income Support and did not receive it.

15 Dec 1998 : Column: 490

The estimated numbers of pensioner benefit units in 1996-97 given by income bands for pensioners aged 65 to 74 who were not entitled to nor receiving Income Support
Thousand

Income (£)Number of pensioner benefit units
5,410 to 9,7101,120
9,711 to 16,200740
16,201 to 17,000(50)
17,001 to 18,630(60)
More than 18,630300
Total2,270

The estimated numbers of pensioner benefit units in 1996-97 given by income bands for pensioners aged 75 and over who were not entitled to nor receiving Income Support

Thousand
Income (£)Number of pensioner benefit units
5,600 to 9,900850
9,901 to 16,200370
16,201 to 18,000(14)--
18,001 to 19,010(14)--
More than 19,01080
Total1,360

(14) Due to small sample sizes a reliable estimate for these cells cannot be supplied.

Notes:

1. Estimates in brackets are based on small sample sizes and should be treated with caution.

2. Estimates of recipients are rounded to the nearest 1,000.

3. Estimates based on the Family Resources Survey exclude the full time self-employed and are rounded to the nearest 10,000.

4. Benefit units are classified into age groups according to the age of the elder pensioner in the benefit unit

5. A pensioner benefit unit is defined as a single person aged 60 or over or a couple (not necessarily married) where at least one member of the couple is aged 60 or over.

6. Pensioner incomes are defined as before housing costs net income including all benefits, pensions, investment income and earnings, net of Income Tax, National Insurance contributions, contributions to occupational pensions schemes and Council Tax.

Source:

1. Estimates of the number of recipients of Income Support are taken from the May 1998 Quarterly Statistical Enquiry and exclude pensioners in Residential Care or Nursing Homes.

2. All other estimates are based on an analysis of the 1996-97 Family Resources Survey which is a survey of private households in Great Britain.



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