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Benefits Expenditure

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will state the proportion of total benefit expenditure composed of (a) contributory benefits, (b) means-tested benefits and (c) other benefits, in each of the last five years. [134752]

Mr. Rooker: The information is in the table:

Contributory, means-tested and other benefits as a proportion of total benefits
Percentage

Benefit
ContributoryMeans-testedOthers
1995-96463618
1996-97463519
1997-98463420
1998-99473320
1999-2000473122

Notes:

1. The principal contributory benefits are Retirement Pension, Widow's benefit, Jobseeker's Allowance, Statutory Sick Pay, Incapacity benefit, Maternity Allowance, Statutory Maternity Pay.

2. The principal means-tested benefits are Income Support, Income- Based Jobseeker's Allowance, Family Credit, Disability Working Allowance, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.

3. The Housing and Council Tax Benefits include all local authority spending in addition to the money funded directly from central Government.

Source:

Departmental report 2000, Spending Review 2000.


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Child Support Agency

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he proposes to conclude his consideration as to whether the maximum payment in respect of gross inconvenience in CSA cases should be increased from its present figure; and if he will make a statement. [134353]

Angela Eagle: The Child Support Agency, in accordance with the Department's policy on compensation, makes consolatory payments for gross inconvenience. Each case is assessed on its individual merits. The Agency may make consolatory awards for gross inconvenience up to £250. Higher awards may be made, where appropriate, with the authority of the Department. The level of awards is under regular review.

Fraud

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on how the new anti-fraud incentive framework for local authorities, due to be introduced in April 2001, will work; and if he will place in the Library copies of the material on the framework that have been sent to local authorities. [134577]

Angela Eagle: A consultation document setting out the details of the proposed new anti-fraud incentive scheme was issued to Local Authority Associations (LAAs) on 4 August 2000. Local authorities had until 15 September 2000 to respond. We are currently considering the responses from the LAAs and will inform them of the outcome shortly.

I have arranged for a copy of the consultation document to be placed in the Library.

Pensions and Earnings Link

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will ask the Government Actuary to report on (a) the cost of restoring the link between the basic pension and average earnings, for each year up to and including 2005-06, taking into account the actual increase proposed for April 2001, (b) the effect on the balance of the National Insurance Fund at the end of each of those years and (c) what increases in national insurance contributions would be required. [134436]

Mr. Rooker: The report will be prepared in the terms of section 36 of the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000.

Disability Living Allowance

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what changes the Government intend to make to policy with regard to the (a) payment and (b) review of Disability Living Allowance arising from the periodic inquiries set up in June 1999; and if he will make a statement. [134570]

Mr. Bayley: Periodic inquiry was introduced in June 1999 as part of our response to Reports of the Social Security Select Committee into Disability Living Allowance, which recommended the introduction of a


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The inquiry process does not affect the way the benefit is paid; neither has it led to any policy changes to remove entitlement from any group of people with a specific impairment.

People having their awards considered by periodic inquiry are always informed in advance, and procedures have been developed in regular discussion with groups of those representing disabled people.

To the end of September, 23,888 people have had their benefit entitlement checked through periodic inquiry. Of these, 17,853 awards have remained unchanged, 4,426 have had awards increased and 1,609 have had their awards removed or reduced.

As agreed with the Social Security Select Committee, we published an evaluation report of the first six months of the periodic inquiry in August 2000 and a copy is available in the Library. An annual evaluation report is currently being prepared and we intend publishing it before the end of the year.

Poverty

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate he has made of the percentage of the United Kingdom population living in poverty; what measures he used in making this calculation; and what measures the Government (a) are implementing and (b) plan to introduce to reduce the numbers living in poverty. [135815]

Mr. Bayley: Poverty and social exclusion are multi-faceted problems. Therefore we do not use a single definition of poverty but instead use a range of indicators to monitor the progress of our strategy. Information relating to the indicators can be found in the second Government "Opportunity for all" report on tackling poverty and social exclusion "One year on: making a difference" (Cm 4865). The report also describes and monitors the impact of policies we have already introduced, and sets out our plans for the future.

Multiple Deprivation Index

Mr. Coleman: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if his Department uses the index of multiple deprivation in the allocation of funds. [134562]

Angela Eagle: Social Security benefit expenditure is demand led apart from the cash limited budget of the discretionary Social Fund, which is allocated to Benefits Agency District Offices. However, the index of multiple deprivation is not used for this purpose.

TREASURY

Income Tax

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 28 July 2000, Official Report, column 1011W, on income tax, if he will estimate the level of personal income tax allowance if the 10 pence band was abolished at a cost of (a) £2.6 billion, (b) £3 billion and (c) £3.5 billion in a full year; and if he will make a statement. [134237]

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Dawn Primarolo: If the 10p band was abolished in 2000-01 and income tax personal allowances were increased, by the following amounts, then the revenue effects in a full-year are shown in the table:

Abolish the 10p rate and increase income tax personal allowances by:Revenue effect (£ billion)
£1,520-4.6
£1,340-3.5
£1,260-3.0
£1,190-2.6

These estimates are based on the Survey of Personal Incomes and are consistent with the March 2000 Budget.

The revenue effects provided have not taken account of any consequential effects on the level of National Insurance contributions. All the figures shown are the estimated direct effects of tax changes on tax revenues. In practice, tax changes will themselves effect economic variables, which in turn will have further effects on tax revenues.

Correspondence

Sir Brian Mawhinney: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the right hon. Member for North-West Cambridgeshire will receive a reply to his letter of 4 September on behalf of his constituent Mrs. Weston. [135787]

Mr. Andrew Smith: I replied to the right hon. Member on 26 October.

Oil Revenues

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate (1) of the revenues from oil production in the UK assuming the current oil price continues unchanged until the end of the financial year; [135085]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Updated revenue forecasts will be published in the Pre-Budget Report on 8 November.

Fuel Prices

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had since July with pensioners' representatives about the impact of fuel prices on the living standards of elderly people. [134653]

Mr. Timms: All Treasury Ministers meet with a variety of organisations and interest groups to discuss a wide range of issues. The Government are giving particular help to pensioners this winter by increasing the winter fuel payment from £100 to £150.


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