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Anti-drugs Strategy

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will estimate (a) the numbers of deaths due to drug use and misuse, (b) the numbers of injuries and finished consultant episodes related to drug use and

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misuse and (c) the direct costs of care, treatment, investigation and damage caused by drug use and misuse in each year since 1995. [157835]

Marjorie Mowlam: The Office for National Statistics reports that the number of deaths due to drug misuse in 1999 was 2,943; this figure includes deaths from illicit and licit drug use. The figures provided include deaths from drug dependence, non-dependent abuse, accidents, suicides and homicide. The figures for previous years are as follows: 1998--2,922; 1997--2,858; 1996--2,721; and 1995--2,563. Figures in relation to the numbers of injuries and finished consultant episodes related to drug use and misuse are not available as they are not collected centrally.

In terms of the direct costs of treatment of drug use and misuse, the only figures available are from the treatment strand of expenditure from the Drug Action Team returns for 1998-99 and 1999-2000. The figure for 1998-99 was approximately £165.7 million and the figure for 1999-2000 was approximately £151.8 million. Information on the indirect costs of the damage resulting from drug misuse are unavailable as they are not collected centrally.

Ombudsman Review

Tony Wright: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office when she expects to introduce legislation to implement the recommendations of the ombudsman review. [144200]

Mr. Stringer [pursuant to the reply, 17 January 2001, c. 332]: This was a major review and we have received 174 responses, which we are considering carefully. Any announcement on the outcome of the consultation will be made in due course.


Housing Benefit

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what has been the variation between actual expenditure on Housing Benefit and expenditure projected in the FSR for (a) 1998-99, (b) 1999-2000 and (c) 2000-01 in (i) cash and (ii) percentage terms. [160974]

Angela Eagle: The information is in the table.

Total Housing Benefit expenditure

£ million
Projected expenditure11,22111,24711,257
Variance (percentage)(20)-1-1(19)--

(19) Not yet available.

(20) Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number.


Figures underlie those shown in the relevant Financial Statement and Budget Reports for total Social Security expenditure.

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Pension Clawback

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what discussions he has had with the Irish Government concerning pension clawback. [160680]

Mr. Rooker: None.


Mr. Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what the estimated total value is of the benefits available in cash and in kind, including accommodation, to a family with two unemployed adults and two children, broken down by type of benefit, in the financial year 2001-02. [160635]

Angela Eagle: There is a wide range of benefits which may be available including Jobseeker's Allowance and Child Benefit. Unemployed homeowners can benefit from help with their mortgage interest payments, while Housing Benefit can help meet accommodation costs for those who rent their homes. Council Tax Benefit is available to help meet council tax liabilities. However, the benefits and the amounts available will vary greatly depending on individual circumstances. Benefits in kind will also vary depending on the schemes operated by the local authority.

Walsall (Funding)

Mr. Bruce George: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what funding has been made available to the borough of Walsall by his Department since June 1997. [160997]

Angela Eagle: The Department provides subsidy to local authorities in respect of their expenditure on Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit and the administration of these schemes. The amounts of these subsidies paid each year to Walsall borough are in the table.

June 1997 to March 199821,085,206
April 1998 to March 199926,306,110
April 1999 to March 200027,533,011
April 2000 to March 200127,933,936

Departmental Policies (Glasgow, Pollok)

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Glasgow, Pollok constituency the effects on Glasgow, Pollok of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [160831]

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

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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" (CM4865, September 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 data at a local authority level, but the following provides a comparative guide to the effect of the Department's policies and actions in Glasgow, Pollok since May 1997.

Measures in our five Budgets so far will lift over 1.2 million children nationally out of poverty. These include record increases to Child Benefit, the introduction of the Working Families Tax Credit, increases in the income-related benefits, the minimum wage and tax changes.

Child Benefit is worth £15.50 a week for the eldest child and £10.35 a week for other children from this April: nationally about 7 million families receive child Benefit, and in Glasgow, Pollok 8,550 families benefit.

We now have the lowest unemployment rate in 25 years. The New Deals have helped 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 May 1997 the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance nationally has reduced from 1,562,400 to 960,600; in Glasgow, Pollok the number has reduced from 3,000 to 2,000. Since May 1997 the number of lone parents who claim Income Support has decreased from 1,013,500 to 894,100 nationally; in Glasgow, Pollok the number has decreased from 2,400 to 2,300.

Older people are disproportionately affected by fuel poverty. So we have introduced Winter Fuel Payments to help with their heaviest fuel bill. Last winter (2000-01), the payment was £200 for households who qualified. Around 13,000 older people in Glasgow, Pollok received a Winter Fuel Payment.

To demonstrate our commitment to combating pensioner poverty, this year we will spend £4.5 billion extra in real terms on pensioners. Some 13,100 pensioners in Glasgow, Pollok will benefit from the substantial increases in the basic State pension this April and next; this year's increase is £5 a week for single pensioners and £8 for couples. In addition we have introduced free TV licences for the over 75s of whom we estimate there are about 4,900 in Glasgow, Pollok. 3,600 pensioner families in Glasgow, Pollok are receiving the Minimum Income Guarantee, which we introduced in April 1999 to help our poorest pensioners. They are now at least £15 a week, or £800 a year, better off in real terms as a result of Government measures since 1997.

To help tomorrow's pensioners, we have introduced the new stakeholder pension which is designed to help those on moderate to higher earnings who do not have access to an occupational pension; lower to moderate earners will benefit when we introduce the State Second Pension in April 2002; and from 2003, the Pension Credit will mean that pensioners will for the first time be rewarded, not penalised, for saving.

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Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what the average length of time is that people spend on Incapacity Benefit in (a) Glasgow, Pollok, (b) the City of Glasgow, (c) Scotland and (d) the UK. [160830]

Mr. Bayley: The average duration of Incapacity Benefit for claims terminated in the period 1 April 1998 to 31 March 1999 is 1,094 days in Scotland and 1,027 days in Great Britain. If people who leave Incapacity Benefit for Retirement Pension are excluded, the average duration is 525 days in Scotland and 500 days in Great Britain.

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