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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 25 October 2000


Minimum Income Guarantee

Mrs. Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many inquiries have been received concerning eligibility for the Minimum Income Guarantee since the campaign was launched in June 2000 (a) nationally, (b) from Plymouth, Sutton constituency, (c) from Plymouth, Devonport constituency, (d) from South-West Devon constituency and (e) from the City of Plymouth. [134311]

Mr. Bayley: Since the announcement of our plans at the end of March, we have received around 500,000 inquiries in response to the Minimum Income Guarantee take-up campaign. We do not hold information on inquiries made at a local level.

Mrs. Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many pensioners he estimates are (a) eligible for, and (b) claiming the Minimum Income Guarantee in (i) Plymouth, Sutton constituency, (ii) Plymouth. Devonport constituency, (iii) South-West Devon constituency and (iv) the City of Plymouth. [134310]

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

Income support pensioners by parliamentary constituency and unitary authority--May 2000

AreaNumber of claimants
Plymouth, Sutton3.2
Plymouth, Devonport2.5
South-West Devon1.6


1. Figures are based on a 5 per cent. sample and therefore subject to sampling error.

2. Figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred and quoted in thousands.

3. Pensioners are defined as benefit units where the claimant and/or their partner are aged 60 or over.


Income Support Statistics Quarterly Enquiry, May 2000.

In addition, some half a million pensioners in Great Britain are missing out on their entitlement. We cannot routinely disaggregate take-up statistics for the income- related benefits. Inspection of the available data suggests that take-up of Minimum Income Guarantee in Devon is likely to be broadly the same as take-up for Great Britain as a whole.

Free Television Licences

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what recent contacts he has had with (a) the

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Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and (b) the BBC about the administrative arrangements for the free television licence scheme. [134543]

Mr. Rooker: The Department has been working closely with officials in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and with the BBC on the administrative arrangements for the free TV licence scheme. I have been briefed by the BBC on the procedures to be used.


Mental Health

Mr. Heppell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will publish the outcome of the Government's consultation on its proposals for managing dangerous people with severe personality disorders; and what progress has been made on them. [135201]

Mr. Boateng: I refer my hon. Friend, to the reply I gave him on 28 July 2000, Official Report, columns 1167-68W.

The Government's proposals for those who are Dangerous and Severely Personality Disordered (D and SPD) address a longstanding challenge to public safety by ensuring that effective powers of detention and high quality services are available to deal with this group. The consultation period for these proposals ended on 31 December 1999. A summary of the analysis of the consultation will today be placed in the Library together with copies of individual responses, where permission to publish was not withheld.

Of those expressing a preference, the majority of respondents to the consultation exercise preferred option B as the more effective way of providing high quality services for this group. The Home Affairs Committee in its report published on 14 March strongly supported option B. The Government attach great weight to these views. However, the Government have decided that before taking final decisions on how best to provide services for this group in the long term, they need to pilot and to evaluate the assessment process and the various treatments available for this group within existing service structures. This period of piloting and evaluation will however take place at the same time as the expansion of dedicated specialist facilities within both the Prison Service and the National Health Service (NHS) and the introduction, as soon as parliamentary time permits, of new powers of detention for the assessment and treatment of this group.

Following the recent Spending Review, I announced during the summer the allocation of substantial resources to pilot and develop new services for those who are D and SPD. This will mean 320 new specialist secure places across the Prison Service and the NHS by the end of the Spending Review period. The first pilot project at Her Majesty's Prison Whitemoor in the Prison Service has already begun and the first NHS pilot at Rampton Hospital will commence in November.

At the same time, we are pressing ahead with the preparations for those legislative changes which will be required under either option. For example, arrangements

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for the assessment process and detention, and for safeguards and review, will apply whether those detained are held in existing services or in a new third service.

Following the recent review of the Mental Health Act 1983, the Government believe that these changes can be made as part of wider changes to that Act. The effective implementation of new arrangements will require the provision of new, high quality, specialist services for this group which will be part of the process of service development and piloting. Access to these services will be managed through a plan of care and treatment appropriate to the individual. Subject to the results of the pilot projects, these powers would be available for this group as soon as they have been implemented. As my earlier reply indicated, these proposals will be published in detail in a White Paper before Christmas.



Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when Mrs. M. Blee, a constituent of the hon. Member for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, will receive answers to her letters of 20 December 1999, 11 February, 23 February and 4 April. [134143]

Ms Stuart: The Department has records of some correspondence from Mrs. M. Blee. Replies to Mrs. Blee's correspondence of 23 February and 4 April were sent on 27 June and 8 June. There is no trace of receiving correspondence dated 20 December and 11 February. The Department has asked for copies of these earlier letters in order that a full reply can be provided.


Ministerial Meeting (Sydney)

Mr. Faber: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement about the meeting between the Minister for Sport and the President of the International Olympic Committee in Sydney on 27 September. [134284]

Kate Hoey: I met with Juan Antonio Samaranch, President of the International Olympic Committee while at the Olympic Games and Bob Steadwood, President of the International Paralympic Committee while at the Paralympic Games. These were informal meetings and we had discussions on issues relating to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and sport generally.

National Athletics Stadium

Mr. Faber: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to his answer of 24 July 2000, Official Report, columns 415-16W, (1) if he has received the business feasibility study on the Lee Valley Stadium; if he will place a copy in the Library; and if he will make a statement; [134286]

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Kate Hoey: I received a copy of the business planning study on 10 October and the final version of the technical feasibility studies on 18 October. The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, who commissioned both reports, have said they will shortly publish summaries of the reports' conclusions. I will ensure that a copy of both summaries is placed in the Library.

London Olympic Bid

Mr. Faber: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he expects to receive the feasibility studies on a London Olympic bid prepared by the British Olympic Association. [134283]

Kate Hoey: We expect the British Olympic Association (BOA) to present their work on the feasibility of a London Olympic bid to my Department by the end of the year.



Mr. Donald Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will set out the principal results of his visit to China. [134309]

Mr. Prescott: I visited China from 12 to 18 October at the invitation of Vice Premier Wu Bangguo. My purpose was to enhance bilateral relations and promote UK business interests in China.

I visited Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Guilin, and Chongqing. In Beijing I had meetings with Vice President Hu Jintao, Vice Premiers Wu Bangguo and Wen Jiabao, other Government Ministers and the Mayor of Beijing. I also opened the Second Session of the UK China Forum with Vice Premier Wu Bangguo.

In Shenzhen I attended with Vice Premier Wu Bangguo the opening of the China High-Tech Fair, at which there was a strong British presence. In Shenzhen and the other cities I visited I held meetings with senior provincial and city politicians.

My discussions with Chinese political leaders covered bilateral relations, commercial matters, international issues, the environment, and human rights. I was received with great warmth throughout my visit and was left in no doubt as to the strength of UK/China political relations. I was particularly impressed by the effort that China is making to ensure that she develops in a sustainable way as she modernises for the 21st century, and the opportunities which exist for British companies to work with her in that modernisation.

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