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Benefits Agency

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what the level of staff turnover in the Benefits Agency was in each of the last five years for which

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figures are available in (a) the UK, (b) Greater London and (c) Leaside District; and if he will make a statement. [144488]

Angela Eagle: The information is in the table for each of the last complete financial years.

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UKGreater LondonLeaside
1 April 1995-31 March 19963.64.84.5
1 April 1996-31 March 19975.85.75.0
1 April 1997-31 March 19986.16.66.3
1 April 1998-31 March 19994.87.28.2
1 April 1999-31 March 20005.35.96.9

Family Incomes (Benefits)

Mr. Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many children in the U.K. were living in families dependent on supplementary benefits or income support (a) in total and (b) as a proportion of all children in the UK in each year since 1979. [144465]

Mr. Bayley: The information is in the table.

Children in families receiving Supplementary Benefit/Income
Support/Jobseeker's Allowance (income-based), Great Britain 1979 to 2000

Number of children (000s)Proportion of children under 16 in Great Britain (percentage)
2000 (May)2,389.120.4
2000 (August)2,378.920.3


1. Numbers are given at a point in time. For 1979 the month is November, 1980 to 1984 the month is December, 1986 the month is February, and from 1987 to 1999 the month is May. Two sets of information is given for 2000: May (in line with data from 1987, and August which is the latest available data).

2. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest hundred and are expressed in thousands. Percentages are given to one decimal place.

3. Numbers are not available for 1985 due to industrial action.

4. Income Support replaced Supplementary Benefit in April 1988.

5. Children of unemployed Supplementary Benefit/Income Support claimants are included in the figures up to 1996. Income Support for the unemployed was replaced by income-based Jobseeker's Allowance from October 1996; children of income-based Jobseeker's Allowance claimants have been added to figures from 1997 onwards.

6. Children are defined as aged 0-15.

7. Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance cases will include some claimants with an underlying entitlement to contribution-based benefit.

8. Numbers are based on sample data and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling error. Samples sizes are as follows:

1979 to 1981: 1 in 200 (Supplementary pension cases), 1 in 50 (Supplementary Allowances)

1982 to 1987: 1 in 200 (Supplementary pension cases), 1 in 100 (E cases), 1 in 50 (Supplementary Allowances)

1988 to 1993: 1 in 100

1994 to date: 1 in 20


Supplementary Benefit Statistics Annual Enquiries, 1979 to 1987

Income Support Statistics Annual Enquiries, 1988 to 1993

Income Support Quarterly Statistical Enquiries, May 1994 to August 2000

Jobseeker's Allowance Statistics Quarterly Enquiries, May 1997, May 1998, May 1999, May 2000 and August 2000

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Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much money has been provided from the Social Fund to individuals as a result of the recent flooding (a) nationally and (b) in Lewes. [144708]

Angela Eagle: At 5 January 2001 total payments made nationally from the 2000-01 discretionary Social Fund budget in respect of flooding were £157,684 in community care grant payments and £11,635 in crisis loan payments.

Payments made by the Benefits Agency Central Sussex district, which covers Lewes, amount to £4,636 for community care grants and £970 for crisis loans.

Minimum Income Guarantee

Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many pensioners in (a) Inverclyde and (b) Scotland receive the minimum income guarantee. [144498]

Mr. Rooker: There are around 167,500 recipients of the minimum income guarantee in Scotland, with some 3,600 in Inverclyde local authority area.


Family Visitor Visas

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress he has made in reviewing the cost of family visitor visa refusal appeals. [144147]

Mr. Straw: In the debate on 20 November 2000, Official Report, column 139, on the Immigration Appeals (Family Visitor) (No. 2) Regulations 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 2446) I told the House that I would review the

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operation of the scheme provided by those regulations within three months. This review has now been completed.

The review undertaken by my right hon. and noble Friend the Lord Chancellor, my right hon. Friend, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Vaz), and me, involved a close scrutiny of the original assumptions which led to the level of fees provided by these regulations, and took account of the experience of the new appeals system since it came into force on 2 October 2000. In the light of the conclusions of the review, I am pleased to announce that the Government have decided to reduce the level of fees currently payable by family visitors who wish to appeal against decisions to refuse them visas. Regulations have been laid today to take effect tomorrow, 12 January, reducing the fees to £50 for paper appeals and £125 for oral ones, replacing the fees of £150 and £500 provided by the previous regulations.

The review team will now be examining other issues, including the definition of family visitor and how and to whom the fees are paid within the regulations.

Reporting Crime

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what preparations his Department has made to allow members of the public to report crimes via the internet and e-mail; and if he will make a statement. [141628]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I have commissioned work on the development of an internet portal which would enable members of the public to report minor crimes to the police using the internet.

This exciting development is part of a wider vision for delivering police services electronically to the public which we are now working on. While many forces are already introducing services via their own websites, I believe that the public should be able to interact with their local force through a standard interface providing a wide range of services.

Criminal Justice (Mode of Trial) Bill

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to move a motion in respect of the procedure for consideration of the Criminal Justice (Mode of Trial) Bill after its presentation similar to that moved by the Minister of State, Home Office, the right hon. Member for Brent, South (Mr. Boateng), on 7 February in respect of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill; and if he will make a statement. [142738]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 14 December 2000]: No decision has yet been made on the procedure for considering the Criminal Justice (Mode of Trial) Bill.

Asylum Support Vouchers

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total value was of the asylum support vouchers issued in the first six months of 2000-01; and what the total cost was to public funds of issuing them. [142786]

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Mrs. Roche [holding answer 14 December 2000]: The total value of asylum support vouchers issued in the first six months of 2000-01 financial year was £5.1 million.

Total staffing and related administrative costs of the National Asylum Support Service, including the costs of processing application forms, allocating accommodation and administering the voucher schemes--but excluding the face value of the vouchers, and the costs of providing accommodation and travel--over this period were £6.6 million. This includes payments made under the voucher contract. However, vouchers are printed and distributed by third party providers under contract to the Home Office and the costs of this service are commercially confidential.

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