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26 Mar 2003 : Column 291W—continued

Child Support Agency

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the running costs are of the (a) court-based child maintenance assessment system in the year prior to the introduction of the CSA and (b) CSA in the latest year for which he has data in today's price terms as a percentage of the total value of all maintenance assessments. [101500]

Malcolm Wicks: Information is not available in respect of the year prior to the introduction of the Child Support Agency. The available information is set out as follows:

The White Paper "Children Come First" (Cm 1264) published in October 1990 indicated that the direct and indirect administration costs of the scheme then in place amounted, for the year 1989–90 and at 2001–02 prices, to £193 million.

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Comparable information on the total value of maintenance assessments for 1989–90 is not held.

The Child Support Agency's administration costs were £285.5 million in 2001–02. This represented some 37 per cent. of the total value of the maintenance collected and arranged by the Agency in that year.






Health and Safety Executive

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost of the Health and Safety Executive has been in each year since it was established. [104152]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The information requested is given in the following table.

Cost of the Health and Safety Executive: 1974–2001

Cost (£000)(14)
1974–7630,353
1976–7737,660
1977–7842,363
1978–7946,505
1979–8055,728
1980–8169,898
1981–8272,882
1982–8380,143
1983–8485,651
1984–8589,942
1985–8692,386
1986–8794,325
1987–8893,532
1988–8989,626
1989–9096,060
1990–91119,625
1991–92157,334
1992–93170,922
1993–94174,550
1994–95176,359
1995–96178,011
1996–97177,847
1997–98178,090
1998–99176,952
1999–2000181,744
2000–01189,400
2001–02203,500

(14) The figures have been rounded to the nearest £000.


Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have been employed (a) in total and (b) in administrative roles by the Health and Safety Executive in each year since it was established. [104153]

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Mr. Nicholas Brown: The information requested for the period between 1974–75 and 1982–83 is not fully available. The Health and Safety Executive's policy is to retain personnel data for six years. However, we have

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been able to extract the figures from HSE's annual reports apart from those areas marked as not available in the table.

The available information is in the following table.

Staff in post of the Health and Safety Executive: 1974–2001

Staff in post Staff in post
TotalAdministrative(15)TotalAdministrative
1974–753,500n/a1 April 1992(16)4,3211,609
1975–82n/an/a1 April 19934,5381,646
1 April 19833,593n/a1 April 19944,5451,622
1 April 19843,5631,8601 April 19954,3911,595
1 April 19853,6161,9111 April 19964,1511,456
1 April 19863,5681,9051 April 19974,0771,412
1 April 19873,5731,8461 April 19983,9321,262
1 April 19883,4701,8041 April 19993,8801,139
1 April 19893,5251,8361 April 20003,9371,119
1 April 19903,981,9021 April 20013,8941,027
1 April 1991(16)3,8771,9751 April 20024,050964

(15) This information represents the number of non specialist staff employed by HSC/E, who are largely administrative support staff.

(16) The increase in staff is due to a transfer of responsibilities for safety on the railways and offshore safety from Department of Transport and Department of Energy respectively.


Correspondence

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 29 February from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mrs. A. Smith. [104878]

Mr. Andrew Smith: I wrote to the right hon. Member on 25 March 2003.

Income Support Mortgage Interest Rate

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures he has taken to eradicate the lag time inherent in setting of the income support mortgage interest rate. [104523]

Malcolm Wicks: Benefit help with mortgage interest payments is calculated using a Standard Interest Rate which is based on the weighted average of basic rates charged by the top building societies. The figure is calculated by the Financial Services Authority and published monthly in the Office for National Statistics' Financial Statistics table 7.1L. Changes in the rate are triggered by a 0.25 per cent. move in the published figure.

We have no plans to change the current arrangements, which give effect to changes as quickly as is practicable. Once the information is received from the Office for National Statistics of an alteration in the interest rates, the Department immediately sets in motion the procedures to amend the relevant computer systems and legislation. Regulations are laid at least 21 days in advance of their coming into force to allow for proper parliamentary procedures to be followed. The same timetable applies when the standard interest rate increases as when it decreases.

Job Retention and Rehabilitation Pilots

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much has been spent so far on the job retention and rehabilitation pilots; if he will list the pilots and their (a) costs and (b) locations; and how many pilots, in which locations, are planned for 2003–04. [104719]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Job Retention and Rehabilitation Pilot will run from April 2003 for up to two years. It will test the effectiveness of different intervention strategies in helping people return to work, and will be delivered in six sites: Birmingham, Greater Glasgow, Sheffield, Tyneside, Teesside and west Kent. The total cost of the pilot is anticipated to be £17.75 million of which £1,580,197 has been spent to date.

Lone Parents

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of lone parents refused to disclose the details of the father of their child (a) in the year prior to the introduction of the CSA and (b) in the latest year for which he has data. [101498]

Malcolm Wicks: The administration for the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Mr. Doug Smith. He will write to my right hon. Friend.

Letter from Doug Smith to Mr. Frank Field, dated March 2003:




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Since 1 April 2002 around 12,000 applications for "good cause" have been accepted.

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what barriers to work he has identified as facing lone parents in London more than in other regions. [96895]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Understanding how employment constraints facing lone parents in London compare to other areas is complex. We have commissioned research into this issue 1 and this research found that lone parents in London reported the same barriers to work as lone parents elsewhere in the country.

The three main barriers to moving into work reported by lone parents are availability and cost of child care, concerns about financial uncertainty on moving into work and the cost of housing and council tax. We have introduced a number of measures to help lone parents to overcome these barriers, including the National Childcare Strategy and Tax Credits, which are helping to make work possible and make work pay.

We are continuing to examine the problems lone parents face when moving from benefit dependency into work and finding ways of helping them to overcome them. The New Deal for Lone Parents (NDLP) provides support tailored to the individual circumstances of lone parents, which takes into account any particular problems they face because of the area that they live in. NDLP has already helped over 160,000 lone parents move into work, including over 16,000 in London.


Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average weekly payment for lone parents (a) not in receipt of income support and (b) in receipt of income support of child maintenance is as determined by the courts and the CSA (i) in the year prior to the introduction of the CSA and (ii) in the latest year for which he has data in current price terms. [101499]

Malcolm Wicks: Such information as is available is as follows:

The average weekly payment of child maintenance in 1992 in cases where the lone parent was in receipt of Income Support was, in 2002 prices, £28.35.

The average weekly payment of child support maintenance in 2002 in cases where the lone parent was not in receipt of Income Support was £43.70.

The average weekly payment of child support maintenance in 2002 in cases where the lone parent was in receipt of Income Support was £36.23.





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Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of lone parents not in receipt of income support received regular maintenance payments for their children (a) in the year prior to the introduction of the CSA and (b) in the latest year for which he has data. [101501]

Malcolm Wicks: Information is not available for the year prior to the introduction of the CSA.

In 2002, 64 per cent. of lone parents who are parents with care and who were not in receipt of Income Support received maintenance payments.






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