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Funeral Costs

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to revise the rules to help with funeral costs. [158837]

Angela Eagle: Help with funeral costs is available to those on the lowest incomes through the Social Fund. We recently announced that with effect from 7 October 2001 we are amending the Social Fund Funeral Payment regulations to ensure that claimants' relatives who are in receipt of help under the National Asylum Support Service are treated in the same way as those receiving qualifying benefits.

In addition, the capital of those people who qualify for a Social Fund Funeral Payment for a death occurring on or after 7 October 2001 will no longer be taken into account. This changes the current provision whereby those who qualify have their award reduced by the amount of capital they have over £500 (£1,000 if the claimant or partner is aged 60 or over).

Far East Prisoners of War

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many former Japanese internees have been refused compensation payments on the grounds of nationality; and in how many cases inquiries are on-going; [158839]

Mr. Bayley: The administration of the ex-gratia scheme for former captives of the Japanese is a matter for the acting Chief Executive of the War Pensions Agency, Alan Burnham. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Alan Burnham to Mrs. Lait, dated 3 May 2001:



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Mr. Hurst: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many prisoners held captive by the Japanese during world war two are eligible for the Government's compensation payment; how many have been awarded payment; and at what cost. [159364]

Mr. Bayley: The administration of the ex-gratia compensation scheme for former captives of the Japanese is a matter for the acting Chief Executive of the War Pensions Agency, Alan Burnham. He will write to my hon. Friend.

Letter from Alan Burnham to Mr. Alan Hurst, dated 3 May 2001:





Home Visits

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the cost of home visits in each year since 1996. [159422]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 27 April 2001]: The information that is available is in the table.

Cost (£)
1998-995,796,222
1999-200053,364,807
2000-0150,819,559

(20) Costs are for full years except 2000-01, which is up to February 2001


Benefit Fraud

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what evidence he has collated on the impact of the Targeting Fraud advertising campaign on the number of people reported for benefit fraud; and if he will make a statement. [159698]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 1 May 2001]: After years of neglect, we have put in place an effective strategy for tackling benefit fraud. As part of this, the Targeting Fraud advertising campaign is intended to change public attitudes in the longer-term by positively reinforcing honest behaviour, creating a climate of intolerance to

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benefit fraud and undermining its social acceptability. It is not intended specifically to increase the number of people reported for benefit fraud.

An evaluation of the national Targeting Fraud campaign is being conducted and will be published in due course. A report on the pilot stage of the campaign showed that it was successful in changing public attitudes towards benefit fraud.

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to use the information collected through the current census to help reduce the incidence of benefit fraud. [159702]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 1 May 2001]: None. Confidentiality of the census is key to its success. The census produces only statistics and people can be assured that no information is released which allows identification of individuals or households.

Attendance Allowance

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many complaints have been made about the administration of Attendance Allowance in each month since January 1997. [159703]

Mr. Bayley: The administration of Attendance Allowance is a matter for Alexis Cleveland, Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Alexis Cleveland to Mr. David Willetts, dated 1 May 2001:



1998-991999-20002000-01
April4796327
May54146362
June70159398
July71175420
August104209342
September105185280
October90199278
November59188251
December51117178
January 90301220
February109294188
March99437260

Whilst the above figures may include complaints about the administration of the Attendance Allowance, it should be noted that they also include general expressions of disagreement with the amount of benefit awarded. Disputes of this nature must be pursued through the decision making and appeals process.
You will be aware from my reply of 10 April 2001 to your previous Parliamentary Question about Disability Living Allowance complaints that they were subject to a steady increase arising from a temporary backlog of work following the introduction of new decision making and appeals procedures. Attendance Allowance claims and subsequent complaints were similarly adversely affected but, as with Disability Living Allowance, the backlog of work has now been cleared and the overall level of complaints has reduced since August 2000.
I hope this is helpful.

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Refrigerants

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what his Department's policy is regarding the purchase of (a) hydrocarbons and (b) other environmentally benign refrigerants to meet the refrigeration and other relevant energy needs of buildings and premises owned and leased by his Department; what guidance he has issued on this subject to regional and local departmental offices; and if he will make a statement; [160015]

Mr. Bayley [holding answer 1 May 2001]: The Department's Improvement Programme for Greening Operations requires the Department and its Estates Partners to specify against products with a high global warming potential.

We and our Estates Partners are committed to replacing any such system at the end of its useful life, or before, in accordance with the necessary protocols relevant at the time, and the general phasing out of all ozone depleting substances. Replacement systems will use the new, more environmentally friendly products.

It is not possible to provide details for the amounts of hydrofluorocarbons purchased by, or on behalf of the Department since 1995.


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