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Debt Accounting and Management System

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what the savings were that the Debt Accounting and Management System was projected to achieve in (a) the first year of operation and (b) each of the four subsequent years; [151484]

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Mr. Rooker: The potential benefits that the Debt Accounting and Management System (DAMS) would provide in improved management of debt from first year of live running, initially planned for 1999-2000, are in the table.

£ million

Savings area
Increased recoveriesAdministration savings

Under part II, paragraph 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, information on the sums allocated to DAMS is not available as it is commercial in confidence.

There are no private sector firms with which the Department has contracts for the strategic debt solution. Following on from termination of DAMS development, in order to meet the demands of debt management, financial and business control, a fundamentally different strategy has been developed.

A Strategic Debt Solution (SDS) project was set up after DAMS. Its purpose was not to deliver IT but to take forward the operational control and compliance improvements, to maintain and improve business outputs following DAMS, and at the same time research, drive out and document root causes for weaknesses surrounding debt management and recommend strategic resolutions for these root causes.

The long-term vision is replacement of all legacy systems through service modernisation, but only after the debt organisation has undergone considerable business change and consolidation.

Funds were allocated for this work, to be taken forward as the SDS project as follows:

£ million

The Strategic Debt Solution Project commenced in October 1999 and completed in October 2000, having implemented a number of controls and business improvements following DAMS termination and also recommendations and a full study for a strategic direction for debt. A Debt Programme has been established

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to implement the business changes, starting with consolidation of the organisation under a dedicated line management.

National Pensioners Convention

Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what response he plans to make to the petitions from the National Pensioners Convention forwarded to him on 8 November; and if he will make a statement. [150564]

Mr. Rooker: I replied to the National Pensioners Convention on 29 November 2000.

Industrial Injuries

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what studies his Department has undertaken on (a) privatising industrial injuries compensation and (b) the cost and extent of existing employer financed industrial injuries insurance. [151322]

Mr. Rooker: As part of our wider programme of Welfare Reform, we have examined the costs and benefits of an option for the modernisation of the Industrial Injuries scheme by replacing it with a no-fault compensation scheme fully funded by employers through the use of compulsory private insurance.

We continue to keep the industrial injuries scheme under review. Under the Employer's Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969, all employers (with specific exceptions) carrying out business in Great Britain are required to take out cover against liability for work-related bodily injury and disease. The cost of such insurance is a matter for employers and the insurance industry.

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Lewes (Mr. Baker) of 30 January 2000, Official Report, column 140W, concerning industrial injuries benefits, what proportion of such benefits are industrial injuries compensation. [151321]

Mr. Rooker: The figure of £756 million given in my answer to the hon. Member for Lewes (Mr. Baker) was net of benefits recovered from compensation payments.

Gross expenditure on Industrial Injuries benefits in 1999-2000 was £787 million and the amount of benefits recovered from compensation payments was £32 million.

Ministerial Visits (Peterborough)

Sir Brian Mawhinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the Ministers in his Department who visited any of the constituencies which are in the Peterborough Unitary Authority area between 1 January 2000 and 14 February 2001, indicating in each case (a) the date of the visit, (b) the constituencies included in the visit and (c) if the local hon. Member met the Minister. [151033]

Mr. Rooker: None.

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SERCO Contracts

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the contracts that exist between SERCO and the Department, its executive agencies and associated public bodies; and if he will list those which have existed in the last three years. [151348]

Mr. Rooker: There are no existing contracts between the Department and SERCO Ltd.

The only contracts awarded to SERCO during the last three years were in the year 1 January 1998 to 31 December 1998 and were a Review of IS/IT Projects and Consultancy support.


Ground-based Theatre Air Defence

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the extent to which British forces can be provided with adequate ground-based theatre air defence against (a) aircraft, (b) Cruise missiles and (c) ballistic missiles in the event of an operational deployment where such cover is not by allies; and if he will make a statement. [143343]

Mr. Hoon: When deployed without support from our allies, UK forces would operate a concept of layered air defence. Point Defence is currently provided by a mixture of the Javelin and High Velocity Missile systems which are in service the with Army and Royal Marines. In addition we have a short range air defence capability which is provided by the Rapier air defence system in service with both the Army and RAF Regiment. All these systems have a capability against aircraft and Rapier has a limited capability against cruise missiles. Additional support could be provided by Naval systems which include Sea Dart and Seawolf. In the air we would operate the Tornado F3 and Sea Harrier FA2 fighter aircraft which would provide longer range defence against aircraft and a limited capability against cruise missiles. We continue to assess the potential role of theatre ballistic defence (TBMD) systems in countering missiles attacks but it remains our position that it would be premature to decide to acquire TBMD. Currently we would counter a ballistic missile threat through a broad range of offensive and defensive measures.

Opposition Policies (Costings)

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) pursuant to the answer of the Minister for the Cabinet Office of 11 December 2000, Official Report, columns 47-48W, what costings of (a) Liberal Democrat and (b) Conservative party policies his Department has (i) undertaken and (ii) advised upon in the previous 12 months; and if he will place copies of such costings and relevant background documents in the Library; [146618]

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Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 14 February 2001, Official Report, column 183W.

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