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5 Jul 2005 : Column 266W—continued

Africa (HIV/AIDS/Tuberculosis)

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what research his Department has evaluated on the effects of male circumcision on infection rates of HIV/AIDS in Africa; and if he will make a statement. [8411]

Mr. Thomas: A number of studies are providing increasing evidence to suggest male circumcision is a major variable explaining HIV infection patterns in sub-Saharan Africa. Research currently under way should provide conclusive evidence as to whether this would be an effective public health intervention for HIV prevention.

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of the UN Global Development Fund has been allocated to the treatment of (a) HIV/AIDS, (b) tuberculosis and (c) malaria in Malawi in each of the last two years. [8637]

Mr. Thomas: The total approved Global Fund Commitment to Malawi is $196,000,000. To date the disbursements are as follows:




Michael Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the impact of tuberculosis on mortality rates in Africa; and if he will make a statement. [8934]

Mr. Thomas: In 2003, the global TB mortality rate was estimated as 1,747,000. 538,000 (about 30 per cent.) of these deaths are in Africa 1 . There are no reliable all-cause mortality data—so it is difficult to give a figure on the proportion of deaths in Africa that are accounted for by tuberculosis.

However, TB deaths are increasing in Africa after almost 40 years of decline. In particular, TB is a leading cause of death in patients with AIDS. In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa up to 70 per cent. of TB patients
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are co-infected with HIV—70 per cent. of the 14 million people worldwide who have both HIV and TB are in Africa 2 .


Benefit Fraud

Mr. David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent on public advertising for reporting benefit fraud in the UK in 2004. [6626]

Mr. Plaskitt: The current Targeting Benefit Fraud advertising campaign aims to promote a climate of intolerance to benefit fraud and to reinforce the message that benefit fraud is socially unacceptable. In 2004–05 £6,017,250 was spent on campaign advertising. Where appropriate the National Benefit Fraud hotline number has been included in some campaign activity.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the value of fraud connected with each social security benefit; and if he will make a statement. [956]

Mr. Plaskitt: The measurement of fraud and error is complex and expensive and therefore it is concentrated on benefits with the highest expenditure and risk of loss, such as income support, jobseeker's allowance and housing benefit.

Up-to-date estimates of fraud and error in disability living allowance (DLA) will become available later this month when the results of the current review of DLA are


The available information is as follows.
£ million

BenefitMeasurement periodMonetary value fraud (MVF) central estimate95 per cent. confidence intervals(7)
Income support2003–04310270–360
Jobseeker's allowance2003–049070–110
Pension credit/MIG2003–047040–90
Incapacity benefit2000–01No estimate(8)(9)0–19

(7) The estimates are derived from sampling exercises and are subject to sampling error. The impact of these statistical uncertainties is expressed by means of 95 per cent. confidence intervals.
(8) No cases of fraud were found so a central estimate could not be produced, only an upper limit.
(9) When making estimates using older figures, we calculate the fraud per unit benefit expenditure and uprate the monetary value estimate by applying this rate to current expenditure. In the case of IB, where expenditure on IB has barely changed since 2000–01, there has been no change in our best estimate of MVF.
Benefits measured prior to 1997 are not included because the measurement methodology was different previous to this and, thus, the results are not comparable.

For the year to March 2004, around £600 million was estimated to have been overpaid due to fraud and error in housing benefit (HB). Fraud is estimated to have accounted for between a quarter and a half of the £600 million, depending upon how much of the overpaid
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HB arising from non residence" was due to fraud. Non-residence fraud and error is where the claimant is not resident at the property for which HB is being paid. In these circumstances, it is often hard for our investigators to ascertain whether there was fraudulent intent.

Child Support Agency

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to assist parents with care who are pursuing maintenance claims through the Child Support Agency against non-resident parents who work abroad. [4939]

Mr. Plaskitt: If a non resident parent lives and works abroad, the Child Support Agency only has jurisdiction if they are employed by the Crown or a UK based employer. In these cases, they are required to pay child support for children who are habitually resident in the UK.

If the non resident parent is not employed by the Crown or working for a UK based company, the parent with care can apply to the courts under the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO) scheme. The UK has arrangements with more than 100 countries and territories that allow a person living in one jurisdiction to claim maintenance from an ex-partner living in the other.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will set a timetable for the transfer of cases at the Child Support Agency from the old to the new scheme. [8590]

Mr. Plaskitt: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave the hon. Member for Bolton, South-East (Dr. Iddon), on 20 June 2005, Official Report, column 705W.

Pension Protection Fund

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions at what level he expects the Pension Protection Fund to be set; and how much he expects will be funded through (a) employee contribution and (b) public funds. [6827]

Mr. Timms: During its first year, the Pension Protection Fund is expected to raise approximately £150 million through the initial levy. For subsequent years, the amounts will be determined by the Pension Protection Fund within the limits set by Secretary of State through setting a levy ceiling. The Pension Protection Fund expects to consult shortly on its proposed approach to setting the levy for future years.

It is the responsibility of the trustee or the pension scheme manager to pay the PPF levies. The levy is a charge in respect of each member, rather than a fee to be paid by each member. The trustees may choose to pass the costs onto the employer by way of increased employer contributions to the scheme. The employer may in turn pass the costs to employees who are active members of the scheme but they may not pass the cost to pensioners.

The Pension Protection Fund will not be funded with public funds. If the Government were to provide the funding the costs would ultimately fall on ordinary
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taxpayers, the majority of whom do not have access to a defined benefit occupational pension scheme. Further we have designed the Pension Protection Fund to be financially self sufficient without recourse to the Government.

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