Previous Section Index Home Page


24 Feb 2004 : Column 381W—continued

Planning

Mr. Trimble: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the determination of the application for planning permission, reference number P/2000/2176 was; when it was made; and when it was communicated to the applicant. [153626]

Angela Smith: Planning Service determined that the application should be approved. A Decision Notice was issued to the applicant's agent on 2 February 2004.

Police

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will revoke the decision to disband the full-time police reserve in the light of on-going activity of terrorist organisations in Northern Ireland. [154836]

Jane Kennedy: The Government accepted, subject to the security situation, the recommendation in the Patten report that "the future police service should not include a Full Time Reserve". In October 2002 the Chief Constable put to the Policing Board a human resource

24 Feb 2004 : Column 382W

strategy to meet the staffing needs of the Police Service over the next 8 to 10 years which the Policing board endorsed. This included a phased run-down of the Full-Time Reserve over an 18 month period from April 2005, subject to no further deterioration of the security situation and the continued success of the recruitment campaign for the Police Service.

Later this year the Chief Constable will put forward advice to the Board and the Secretary of State on these matters. The Government recognises the major contribution that members of the Reserve have made to the maintenance of law and order in Northern Ireland and the high price that they and many of their families have had to pay in doing so.

Prisons

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost of maintaining the prison population in Northern Ireland was in the past three years; and what the average cost per prisoner was in each of those years. [153845]

Jane Kennedy: The cost of maintaining the prison population in Northern Ireland in the past three years and the average cost per prisoner place in each of those years was as follows:

£

CostCost per prisoner place
2000–0193,230,00074,580
2001–0287,486,00071,475
2002–0395,564,00068,999

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to reinstate the Braille Unit at HMP Maghaberry; and if he will make a statement. [153529]

Jane Kennedy: The implementation of the Steele recommendations has seriously impacted on the Governor's ability to maintain and sustain the regime and at present only a restricted range of services can be provided. It is hoped that with full implementation of Steele, the prison can quickly restore a fully resourced Integrated Regime including braille transcription and related services. It is intended that work will commence at the beginning of April 2004 to re-locate the Braille Unit to a much larger facility within the prison workshop area and to expand the range of services provided.

Student Finance

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the impact of the introduction of variable top-up fees on university students in Northern Ireland. [152576]

Jane Kennedy: The Higher Education Bill, which includes proposals for the introduction of variable deferred tuition fees, does not, in the main, apply to Northern Ireland. It has, however, significant implications in view of the strong links between the higher education sectors and the level of student flows between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

24 Feb 2004 : Column 383W

I have been giving careful considerations to the implications, taking into account discussions with local stakeholders and advice from the Northern Ireland Higher Education Council (NIHEC). It is my intention to bring forward proposals soon for the way forward in Northern Ireland.

Work Force Statistics

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the composition of the monitored full-time work force was, broken down by religious designation, in (a) 1992 and (b) 2002. [155002]

Mr. Spellar: Information regarding the composition of the monitored full-time workforce, broken down by religious designation, can be found in the Fair Employment Commission Monitoring Report (No. 3), which summarises the 1992 monitoring returns and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland Monitoring Report (No. 13), which summarises the 2002 monitoring returns. Copies of both reports are available for reference from the Library of the House.

WORK AND PENSIONS

Advisers' Discretionary Fund

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much has been spent on the Advisers' Discretionary Fund in each year since it was set up; what figures his Department collects on the breakdown of spending via the Advisers' Discretionary Fund; and if he will make a statement. [153460]

Mr. Browne: The total spend per year on the Advisers' Discretionary Fund, introduced in July 2001, is shown in the table.

Advisers' Discretionary Fund
£

Spend
July 2001 to March 20026,191,945
April 2002 to March 200315,975,996
April 2003 to December 200323,765,210
Total45,933,151

The figures on breakdown of spending are not centrally collated.

Pensions

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 4 February 2004, Official Report, column 957W, on pensions, if he will estimate the net Exchequer effects of the pension reforms set out in the answer, based on the additional assumption that all age-related income tax personal allowances are abolished as part of each reform package. [155568]

Malcolm Wicks: The information requested is set out in the table.

24 Feb 2004 : Column 384W

£ billion

2004–052005–062006–072007–082008–09
Over 658.08.28.79.410.1
Over 705.65.86.26.77.2
Over 753.63.84.14.44.7

Notes:

1. Figures are in 2003–04 price terms rounded to the nearest £100 million. It is assumed the change comes into effect from April 2004 on the same basis as the previous answer.

2. The costing assumes that aged and super aged personal allowances are reduced to the personal allowance level.

3. Gross costs are estimated by the Government Actuary's Department and are consistent with Budget 2003 assumptions. Estimates are all based on the new (2002) population projection and allow for recent revisions.

4. The costs take into account income related benefit offsets, which are calculated using the DWP policy simulation model and April 2004 benefit rates.

5. Additional income tax revenue is estimated by the Inland Revenue using 2004 tax rates.


Benefit Fraud

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the (a) operational and (b) advertising costs of the National Benefit Fraud Hotline in each of the last six years. [151017]

Mr. Pond: The available information is in the table:

National benefit fraud hotline
£

Operational costsAdvertising costs
1997–98(5)225,000
1998–99(5)290,247
1999–2000(5)337,672
2000–01627,804425,178
2001–021,086,000(6)
2002–03959,277(6)

(5) Not available.

(6) Not separately assessed.

Notes:

1. Operational costs for the National Benefit Fraud Hotline are only available for the last three years. Operational cost figures are not available prior to 2000–01.

2. The National Benefit Fraud Hotline (NBFH) number was advertised separately up until 2000–2001. Since the Targeting Fraud (now Targeting Benefit Fraud) advertising campaign started in 2001, the NBFH number has been included in the campaign advertising and has not been the subject of any advertising on its own.

3. Operational costs include staffing costs and goods and services costs.

4. The operational costs of administering the National Benefit Fraud Hotline include the costs of administering report-a-cheat-online. These costs cannot be separated.

Source:

Operational costs—National Benefit Fraud Hotline.

Advertising costs—DWP Communications Directorate.


Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 2 February 2004, Official Report, column 731W, how many people have been found to have committed benefit fraud against his Department on (a) one, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four, (e) five, (f) six, (g) seven, (h) eight, (i) nine, (j) 10 and (k) more than 10 occasions since the powers to sanction benefits introduced by the Social Security Act 2001 took effect. [156023]

Mr. Pond: The information requested is not available.

24 Feb 2004 : Column 385W

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 2 February 2004, Official Report, column 731W, how many people have been (a) investigated and (b) prosecuted for committing benefit fraud against his Department on two or more occasions since the powers to sanction benefits introduced by the Social Security Act 2001 took effect. [156025]

Mr. Pond: The information on investigations is not available.

On prosecutions, our latest information is that 30 people have been convicted of benefit fraud on at least two occasions since the powers to sanction benefits introduced by the Social Security Act 2001 took effect. However, data is incomplete and subject to change due to late notification.


Next Section Index Home Page