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Winter Fuel Payments

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make arrangements for the payment at post offices of Winter Fuel Payments for men aged 60 to 63 years. [132418]

Angela Eagle: The majority of men aged 60-64 who are newly eligible for Winter Fuel Payments as a result of recent changes to the qualifying criteria, will have to make a claim for Winter Fuel Payments in respect of either past winters, or this coming winter or both.

Customers are given a choice as to the method of payment they prefer and payments can be paid directly into a bank or building society account or by Girocheque--which can be cashed at their local post office. Claims are currently being processed and payments for past winters are being issued just as soon as entitlement has been determined.

Official Visits

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the visits outside Britain made by his Department's Permanent Secretary on official business since 1 January 1999, indicating the date and purpose of the visit in each case. [132774]

Mr. Rooker: The Permanent Secretary visited the USA in October 1999 to meet the senior management of EDS and see some of their large scale partnerships in operation. She visited Northern Ireland in September 1999, and her predecessor visited Northern Ireland in February 1999. Both visits were to meet with staff at the Benefits Agency and Child Support Agency.

Press Officers

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many press officers were employed in his Department in (a) May 1997, (b) January 1998, (c) January 1999 and (d) January 2000; and what the total expenditure on press officers by his Department was in each of the years concerned. [132767]

Mr. Rooker: I refer the hon. Member to Appendix 11 of the Report on the GICS by the Select Committee on Public Spending (29 July 1998), where Appendix 11 lists the number and cost of press officers per Department 1997, 1998 and 1999. Information for 2000 is as follows:




Press Releases

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many press releases have been issued so far this year; and what the total cost of the production and issuing of press releases was in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999 and (d) 2000 to date. [132771]

27 Jul 2000 : Column: 849W

Mr. Rooker: The information is in the table.

The total cost of the production and issuing of press releases between January 1997-June 2000

1997199819992000
DSS
Issued291311270212
Cost (£)29,99032,05227,82621,849
Benefits Agency
Issued60424829
Cost (£)6,1844,3294,9472,989
Contributions Agency (CA)
Issued50103--
Cost (£)5,1531,031309--
Child Support Agency (CSA)
Issued104----
Cost (£)1,031412.24----

Notes:

1. The Contributions Agency transferred to the Inland Revenue on 31 October 1999.

2. Figures for CSA in 1999 and 2000 come within the total figure for DSS.

3. Figures rounded to the nearest £.


Correspondence

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he proposes to answer the letter of 25 May, sent by the right hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside, regarding Mrs. Boaden of Deeside, Flintshire. [133127]

Mr. Rooker: A reply was issued on 27 July 2000.

EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

New Deal

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many employees of his Department and its agencies have been recruited from the New Deal; and what percentage this represents of total staff. [129102]

Mr. Wills: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office to my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, North (Mr. Rooney) on 6 July 2000, Official Report, column 286W.

The number of New Dealers within my Department and its executive agencies represents four per cent. of total staff.

Teachers' Pension Fund

Mr. Purchase: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what estimate he has made of the contribution from public funds to the teachers' pension fund; and if the contribution is estimated (a) to rise, (b) to fall or (c) to remain the same in real terms over the next 20 years. [129304]

Mr. Blunkett: Teachers' pensions in England and Wales are mainly funded through taxation. Pension contributions from teachers and their employers in the public sector provide most of the cash income. The table gives cash forecasts for the four years to 2003-04. No further cashflow figures are available.

27 Jul 2000 : Column: 850W

£ million

Financial yearGross expenditureGross incomeNet expenditure
2000-013,6802,0301,650
2001-023,8502,1501,700
2002-034,2002,4201,780
2003-044,5502,5701,980

A longer term view of the financial position of the Teachers' Pensions Scheme is given in the 1996 Valuation Report laid before the House on 30 March 2000. This compares the notional assets of the fund, derived from past pension contributions, with current and future pension liabilities. Every five years the Government Actuary reviews this position and specifies a pension contribution rate which will eliminate any surplus or deficit identified in the report over 40 years.

Grants

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will give a breakdown of the costs involved in the transfer of responsibility for grants for four year olds referred to in the DfEE press release of 18 July 2000 entitled, "Schools to get up to £70,000 each in direct grants"; and what is the total cost involved in the transfer in each year to 2003-04. [132404]

Ms Estelle Morris: The SSA increase for 2001-02 of 5.5 per cent. covers the £125 million paid in grant to LEAs in 2000-01 for four year old nursery provision. The total of Education SSA for 2002-03 and 2003-04 also includes funding for the increased pressure on local education authorities resulting from this transfer.

Sixth-form Curriculum

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what estimate he has made of the cost of progressive implementation of the broader sixth form curriculum in each year in the period covered by the Comprehensive Spending Review. [132405]

Mr. Wicks: We have provided £35 million in the Education Spending Settlement for 2000-01 to help meet the costs of the broader curriculum. The figure for 2001-02 will be announced in due course.

Comprehensive Spending Review

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list the additional responsibilities resulting in (a) cost and (b) additional costs which he expects to be met by schools in the period covered by the Comprehensive Spending Review; and what estimate he has made of the total of such costs broken down for (i) primary schools and (ii) secondary schools. [132406]

Mr. Blunkett: Schools will be responsible for boosting standards of attainment at the relevant Key Stages over the period of the Spending Review. Full details of these additional responsibilities and the extra resources we are making available to help schools meet them will be announced in due course. We have already announced that headteachers in England will be given £540 million in special grants next year as part of an increase in education spending in the UK of nearly £12 billion from 2000-01

27 Jul 2000 : Column: 851W

to 2003-04 and that the Year 2000 Spending Review means a real terms increase of some £370 per pupil over the three years bringing the total to almost £700 per pupil in real terms between 1997-98 and 2003-04.

Education SSA

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what the change is for each year from 2000-01 to 2003-04 in (a) the education SSA and (b) the education SSA plus direct grant from Government to schools, adjusted using the GDP deflator in both cases. [132407]

Ms Estelle Morris: In addition to SSA and direct grant increases, funding for schools through the Standards Fund and specific grants, including class size grant, and for schools capital will be increased as a result of the Spending Review. Full details of the extra resources we are making available to schools for these aspects will be announced in due course. On SSA and direct grant, the information requested is set out in the following table:

Real terms year-on-year increase in education SSA (£ million)Percentage increaseReal terms year-on-year increase in education SSA plus direct grants to schools (£ million)Percentage increase
2001-025252.47603.5
2002-037493.47513.3
2003-047443.37453.2

We have already announced that headteachers in England will be given £540 million in direct grants next year, and that this will be sustained with 2.75 per cent. increases over the following two years. This is part of an increase in education spending in the UK of nearly £12 billion from 2000-01 to 2003-04. The Year 2000 Spending Review means a real terms increase of some £370 per pupil over the three years bringing the total to almost £700 per pupil in real terms between 1997-98 and 2003-04.


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