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Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which projects relating to his Department that appeared in the Private Finance Panel's list of 29 November 1995 (a) have been completed, (b) are still pending, (c) have been dropped and (d) are being pursued by means other than a public private partnership. [105869]

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Mr. Straw [holding answer 24 November 1999]: I refer the right hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury gave the right hon. Member on 24 January 2000, Official Report, columns 117-18W.


Medical Assessments

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many medically qualified panel members appointed under the Social Security Act 1998 are (a) employed and (b) contracted on a sessional basis, by the Sema Group to carry out medical assessments on behalf of the Benefits Agency; [103733]

Mr. Bayley: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is as follows.

Salaried staff employed by Medical Services (SEMA) who are medically qualified are excluded by the Lord Chancellor's Department from appointment as medically qualified Appeals Panel Members.

On leaving full-time employment for Medical Services (SEMA), the doctors are excluded from undertaking Tribunal work for a period of two years. There is only a finite pool of doctors who possess the requisite skills in Disability Assessment Medicine and also meet the criteria for appointment as Medical Members of the Appeals Panel. The great majority of these doctors are engaged as part-time sessional fee paid doctors by Nestor Disability Analysis Ltd (NDA) which is an approved subcontractor to SEMA Group in the delivery of Medical Services on behalf of the Benefits Agency. Doctors who are engaged by Medical Services (SEMA) via NDA are allowed to be appointed as medical members of Appeals panels.

The Appeals Service has in place stringent procedures to ensure that medical members of Appeals Panels do not sit on Tribunals where the Appellant has had any previous professional relationships with a medical member or where a medical member has had any involvement whatsoever in giving advice to, or undertaking assessments for, the first tier decision making process which is under appeal.


Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) if he will estimate the expenditure in current prices in (1) 1978-79, (2) 1982-83, (3) 1986-87, (4) 1991-92, (5) 1996-97 and (6) 2001-02 on (a) supplementary benefit, (b) income support, (c) family income supplement, (d) family credit, (e) working families tax credit, (f) disability working allowance, (g) disabled persons tax credit, (h) rent rebates and allowances, (i) rates rebates, (j) community charge rebates, (k) council tax benefit, (l) social fund grants and (m) social fund loans, including any social security expenditure by local

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authorities; and if he will provide, where available, a breakdown in each case for (i) pensioners, (ii) disabled non-pensioners, (iii) unemployed non-pensioners and (iv) other non-pensioners; [105533]

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Mr. Rooker: Great Britain figures for 1978-79 to 1996-97 for each benefit are published in the Social Security Departmental Report 1999 (Cm 4214) and earlier equivalents. Projections for each DSS benefit and additional Local Authority expenditure for 2001-02 are in my reply to the hon. Member for Havant (Mr. Willetts) on 26 November 1999, Official Report, columns 218-20W.

Projections for the cost of the Working Families Tax Credit and the Disabled Person's Tax Credit for the United Kingdom in 2001-02 are in Table B13 of the November 1999 pre Budget Report. A breakdown of individual benefits by client group, where available, is in the table.

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Expenditure £ million (cash prices)

Supplementary Benefit
Disabled non-pensioners130259539000
Unemployed non-pensioners5152,5674,336000
Other non-pensioners3558451,632000
Total Supplementary Benefit1,5614,6127,960000
Income Support
Income Support for over 60s0002,7253,8144,196
Disabled under 600001,4003,5074,643
Unemployed under 600004,2002,3590
Other people under 600003,2884,7644,456
Total Income Support00011,61214,44413,295
Expenditure on Housing Costs
Expenditure for over 60s5101,4782,3243,3274,7935,790
Disabled under 60792283596602,3873,063
Unemployed under 602417001,1011,7472,5231,966
Other people under 602778051,2662,1593,9774,957
Social Fund
Social Fund for over 60s000324125
Social Fund for under 60s000178198204
Total Social Fund000210239229
Christmas Bonus--contributory
Christmas Bonus paid with Disability Benefits91111151715
Total Christmas Bonus--contributory96102107114129122


Figures may not sum due to rounding.

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Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will instruct the Independent Tribunal

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Service in Broad Street, Birmingham, to reply to the letter dated 13 October 1999 from the hon. and learned Member for Harborough on behalf of Mrs. Jo Plant of Oadby, Leicestershire. [106952]

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Angela Eagle: Administration of the Appeals Service (formally the Independent Tribunal Service) is the responsibility of the Chief Executive, Neil Ward. I understand Neil Ward wrote to the hon. Member on 25 January 2000.

Examining Medical Practitioners

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will state the number of examining medical practitioners contracted to (a) the Benefits Agency Medical Service and (b) SEMA; how many of them had qualified four years or fewer previously; and how many were aged over 65 years. [106686]

Mr. Bayley: The Benefits Agency Medical Services (BAMS) provided medical advice and examinations for this Department and other Government Departments in support of the delivery of Incapacity and Disability Benefits.

The service was provided by, approximately, 3,000 part-time contracted doctors.

The work previously undertaken by BAMS has been contracted out, from 1 September 1998, to Sema Group. The services previously provided by BAMS are now undertaken by Sema Group 'Medical Services', and are provided on behalf of the Benefits Agency (BA).

Medical Services have a total of 2,968 doctors contracted to undertake medical examinations, of these a total of 570 are over the age of 65.

Records held do not show any doctors with less than four years experience.

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