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Anti-corruption Awareness

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what projects his Department supports to promote anti-corruption awareness among United Kingdom companies. [142218]

Mr. Caborn [holding answer 13 December 2000]: Since the UK's ratification of the OECD Bribery Convention in 1998, focusing on the bribery of foreign public officials to obtain or retain business, my Department has been determined to ensure that UK companies understand their rights and responsibilities, and recognise that this Government are not prepared to continue to treat corruption as a necessary part of doing business.

Details of the Convention itself can be found on the DTI's website The Convention will also feature in a DTI publication on "OECD's Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises" (which the Government have endorsed) due to be published in the new year. DTI has consulted business and the private sector themselves are keen to adopt a more ethical business policy including a strong anti-corruption message, which we strongly encourage.

Overseas, officials engaged in promoting the specific interests to British companies will always give frank advice on the commercial and legal and regulatory frameworks obtaining in those markets. But we are looking to produce more explicit advice to exporters, working in partnership with the Department for International Development.

The Export Credit Guarantee Department has also taken steps to reduce corruption by ensuring that applicants for ECGD cover should be asked in future to warrant to ECGD that an export contract has not been secured by corrupt means and divulge whether they have ever been convicted of corruption. ECGD will have the right to deny any insurance cover that it might have given, and recover any loss following the date of conviction.

Of course corruption is part of a much bigger agenda on Corporate Social Responsibility to which the Government are committed. Last March, my hon. Friend the Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs was appointed Minister for Corporate Social Responsibility; this was the first such appointment in any Government in the world and will reinforce private sector efforts to defined responsible business conduct.

Mobile Phone Masts

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how may new transmitter masts will be required in the UK to provide complete mobile phone coverage; and if he will breakdown the various size-groups of transmitters to be used. [141369]

Ms Hewitt: To date, mobile operators' networks cover an area in which 99 per cent. of the UK population live. To the best of my knowledge these networks currently use between them 9,000 transmitter masts, of which 2,000 are poles similar in size to a lamppost and 1,700 carry equipment from more than one operator. It is not possible for me to conjecture how many additional transmitter

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masts will be required in the future although the Government do encourage operators to use existing sites and to share masts wherever it is appropriate to do so.



Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many dependants of pensioners who claim Income Support due to the removal of a State Pension after six weeks in hospital there were at the latest date for which figures are available. [142299]

Mr. Rooker: Entitlement to a State Pension is never removed on hospitalisation, although the rates paid are lowered, by 40 per cent., or 20 per cent. if a person has dependants, after six weeks and to the pocket money rate after 52 weeks. The pocket money rate cannot go lower than 20 per cent. of the basic State Pension.

We do not keep records of why people claim Income Support beyond their basic condition of entitlement.

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the (a) cost and (b) number of recipients of the pension supplement for those over 80; what the cost is of increasing it to (i) £5 per week and (ii) £10 per week; and what the administrative cost is of delivering the benefit. [142303]

Mr. Rooker: The cost of the age addition is £30 million per annum and 2.4 million people are in receipt.

Cost of increasing the age addition by £5 and £10

£ million
Rate of addition
Gross cost1,300700
Net cost800400
Gross cost1,400700
Net cost900400
Gross cost1,500800
Net cost900400
Gross cost1,500800
Net cost1,000500


1. Costs are given in cash terms in £ million to the nearest 100 million.

2. Gross costs of age addition estimated by the Government Actuary's Department.

3. Net costs are given after income related benefit savings.

4. Income-related benefits savings are estimated using the Policy Simulation Model.

5. Value of age addition is assumed to be uprated in line with inflation.


Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many under-pensionable age recipients of

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Income Support who lose benefit due to being in hospital for six weeks or more there were at the latest date for which figures are available. [142300]

Mr. Bayley: As at August 2000, there were 5,100 Income Support claimants under State Pension age, receiving a reduced rate of benefit due to hospitalisation, of whom 5,000 were under age 60.

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many recipients of a State Pension are removed from entitlement after six weeks' NHS hospitalisation; and what the equivalent figure was for each of the last six years. [142298]

Mr. Rooker: None.

Unclaimed Benefits

Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what the value was of unclaimed benefits in the UK and Scotland for each financial year from 1995-96 for which figures are available. [142598]

Mr. Rooker: Figures for Great Britain can be found in the "Income-related Benefits Estimates of Take-up in 1998-99". Figures for Scotland are not available.


Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when the hon. Member for Walsall, North will receive a reply to his letter of the 13 November regarding increasing the earnings limit before benefits are affected. [142734]

Mr. Bayley: A reply was sent on Wednesday 13 December 2000.

Departmental Policies (Blackpool, South)

Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the constituency, the effect on the Blackpool, South constituency of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [142222]

Mr. Rooker: The Department's policies and initiatives have made a significant contribution to the Government's overall objectives of:

These goals are being pursued nationwide and our achievements are set out in our annual "Opportunity for all" reports. Our second report, "Opportunity for all--One year on: making a difference" (Cm 4865, September

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2000) sets out what progress has been made in the past year, as well as highlighting what more needs to be done. Nationwide statistical information is necessarily more complete than constituency level data, but the following provides a comparative guide to the effect of the Department's policies and actions in Blackpool, South since May 1997.

We are spending an additional £7 billion a year on support for families and children. This includes significant increases in child benefit, which is now worth £15 a week for the eldest child and £10 a week for other children: nationally about 7 million families receive child benefit, and in Blackpool, South 12,394 families benefit.

We have launched the New Deals to help lone parents, the young unemployed, the long-term unemployed, the over 50s and partners of the unemployed to move from benefit into work. In the period since August 1998 the number of people receiving Jobseekers' Allowance nationally has reduced from 1,205,800 to 972,700; in Blackpool, South, the number has reduced from 2,100 to 2,000. The number of lone parents who claim Income Support has decreased over the same period from 955,000 to 910,100 nationally and in Blackpool, South the number has remained the same at 2,300.

Next year we will be spending £4.5 billion a year extra in real terms on pensioners as a result of our policies. Winter Fuel Payments have continued to tackle fuel poverty. So far this winter, around 11 million people, of whom around 21,200 live in Blackpool, South, have benefited from the payment. The scheme has been extended to include eligible people from age 60 so that even more older people will benefit. For this winter only, households that qualify will receive an increased payment of £200. The Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) targets the poorest 1.6 million pensioner families, of whom 5,000 live in Blackpool, South. These pensioners will benefit from our alignment of all MIG rates from April 2001, giving single pensioners at least £92.15 each week--a real increase of £12.45 for the poorest pensioners.

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