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PFI Contracts

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what the estimated rate of return on capital is to the contractors under the PFI contracts in his Department. [131348]

Angela Eagle: We currently have only one PFI contract, the Private Sector Resource Initiative for Management of the Estate (PRIME), and this information is commercially confidential to the contractor, Trillium.

Child Support Agency

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the total paid in 1999 by fathers to their children via the CSA; and what was the total unpaid liability. [131108]

Angela Eagle: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Mrs. Faith Boardman. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Mrs. Faith Boardman to Mr. Gerald Howarth, dated 20 July 2000:

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Minimum Income Guarantee

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many pensioners receive the Minimum Income Guarantee and live in the London Borough of Wandsworth. [131472]

Mr. Rooker: There are around 7,400 pensioners benefiting from the Minimum Income Guarantee in the local authority area of Wandsworth.


Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will provide a breakdown of his calculation of the estimated total spending on pensions during the life of this Parliament. [131488]

Mr. Rooker: Information on actual and forecast Social Security expenditure on people aged 60 or over during the life of this Parliament is shown in Table 3 of the Social Security Departmental Report (Cm 4614) as Objective 4, "Support for people over working age".

Households Below Average Income

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security where the 1998-99 Households Below Average Income Statistics was available to (a) hon. Members and (b) the public on the day it was published. [131523]

Mr. Bayley: On 13 July, copies of "Households Below Average Income" were placed in the library. Copies of all departmental publications are available to hon. Members on request.

Copies were on sale to the public directly from the publisher. Volumes were also available for reference in the library of the Office for National Statistics.

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his oral answer of 17 July 2000, Official Report, column 7-8, if he will identify the specific results from his Department's Households Below Average Income report on which he based his statement that the proportion of pensioners living in poverty was the same in 1998-99 as in the last year of the previous Parliament. [131582]

Mr. Bayley: I refer the hon. Member to the table on Page 135 of "Households Below Average Income 1994-95 to 1998-99". This shows that the proportion of pensioners living below a threshold of 60 per cent. of median income, after housing costs, remained static at 27 per cent. between 1996-97 and 1998-99.

Disability Living Allowance (Multiple Sclerosis)

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the difficulties facing individuals who suffer from relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in seeking to qualify for Disability Living Allowance. [131219]

Mr. Bayley: Entitlement to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is based on a person's needs, and not in recognition of their specific medical condition. People with multiple sclerosis, as with other potentially disabling conditions, are

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therefore asked to state their care and mobility needs arising from their condition when completing a DLA claim form. Decision makers are given information on the needs arising from disabilities, including multiple sclerosis, in the "Disability Handbook", which is compiled by senior doctors in the Department and approved and monitored by the Disability Living Allowance Advisory Board.

With conditions such as remitting-relapsing multiple sclerosis, decision makers must consider the help required over a period of time. Due to the variable nature of this condition, the Disability Handbook advises decision makers that a medical report may be helpful where a person's needs over a period of time are unclear.

If someone claiming DLA is dissatisfied with the decision on their application (including on the grounds that the decision does not adequately recognise a fluctuating condition), they can ask for it to be looked at again or they can appeal the decision to an independent tribunal.

We are exploring alternatives to the current tests for DLA. Following discussions with groups representing disabled people, we have developed a possible approach based on an assessment of activities involved in managing life. We plan to commence trialling this early next year, to see if it would lead to a better system.


Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what discussions his Department has had with the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate in respect of (a) St. Edmundsbury borough council and (b) Mid Suffolk district council; and if he will make a statement. [131133]

Mr. Rooker: None.

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if his Department has a target to reduce fraud and error in income support and jobseeker's allowance by 10 per cent. by 2002. [131605]

Mr. Rooker: We have now raised our targets with a view to reducing losses from fraud and error in Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance by 25 per cent. by March 2004 and by 50 per cent. by March 2006. The expectation is that by March 2002 at least 10 per cent. will have been saved.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many of the written parliamentary questions tabled to his Department between 19 October 1999 and 20 April 2000 have not received substantive answers, citing as the reason that the information is (a) not held centrally, (b) not held in the form requested and (c) not available. [131233]

Mr. Rooker: Of the 1,815 questions we received during this period, we answered two questions where the information was not held centrally 1 , 108 questions where the information was not available in the form requested and 25 questions where the information was not available.

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Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what per capita Government spending on tourism was in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland in this last financial year; and what the planned figures are for the current year. [129724]

Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 7 July 2000]: Grant-in-aid to the national tourist boards and per capita spend for the last financial year as well as planned figures for the current year are set out in the table.

GIAPopulation£ per head
(£ million)(million)(£/pence)


1. An additional £2.8 million was made available to the ETC over 2 years for the transition costs of transforming the English Tourist Board to the more strategic English Tourism Council

2. All population figures are BTA's estimates based on the 'Annual Abstract of Statistics--2000 Edition'

3. The population of Britain under BTA excludes Northern Ireland

4. BTA grant-in-aid excludes Focus London grant (£1.5 million in 1999-2000 and 2000-01)

5. STB 2000-01 grant-in-aid includes additional "special projects" funding

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