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31 Jan 1996 : Column WA107

Written Answers

Wednesday, 31st January 1996.

Phenols and Sheep Dips

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will confirm that the reason why companies manufacturing organophosphate sheep dips which include phenol disinfectants withdrew the disinfectants in 1994 was because the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food required additional data on maximum residue levels in meat.

Lord Lucas: As part of its review of organophosphorus dips under Directive 81/851/EEC in 1991/92, the Veterinary Products Committee considered the question of phenols in dips. Subsequently, the companies involved were all asked to provide additional consumer and operator safety data on phenols. This data, as one aspect, included toxicological data which would have enabled maximum residue limits to be determined. With the exception of one product, which was reformulated to remove the phenols, the companies decided to voluntarily withdraw the phenol containing dips from the market. Sales ceased on 30 September 1993. These were commercial decisions by the companies concerned, and we cannot confirm whether or not this particular requirement led to the products' withdrawal.

Farm Incomes

Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What farm incomes were in 1995.

Lord Lucas: Total income from farming is estimated to have risen by 22 per cent. in real terms in 1995 compared with 1994. This increase is partly due to agrimonetary developments and to unusual weather conditions which, on balance, had a favourable effect on agricultural incomes. However, the Government's success in creating the right conditions for growth also played an important part. Detailed estimates of the income, output and productivity of United Kingdom Agriculture in 1995 were published this morning and have been placed in the Library of the House.

Bosnia: Military Deployment

Lord Gainford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will give further details of military deployments to the former Yugoslavia.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): The deployment of British Armed Forces to the NATO-led peace implementation force (IFOR) in Bosnia is now complete.

By carefully matching the manpower required to the tasks which have emerged, we have been able to deploy a smaller number of troops than the estimate of over 13,000

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reported by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence in another place on 12 December. The actual figure is some 11,500. The United Kingdom's contribution remains, by a substantial margin, second only to that of the United States.

We shall keep the force level under review as planning develops for the reduction of IFOR numbers and the completion of its task. NATO is also reviewing the maritime and air forces required to support operations in the Adriatic theatre. Force levels can in any case be expected to fluctuate.

The "Marchioness" Inquest

Lord Gainford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are their views on the recommendations of the "Marchioness" inquest jury.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): I have placed a paper setting out the Government's views on the recommendations of the "Marchioness" inquest jury in the Library of the House. The Government agree with the majority of the jury's 12 recommendations. In many cases, existing rules and guidelines already meet the jury's proposals. In those cases where recommendations are aimed at other agencies, the Government are pursuing the recommendations with the agencies in question.

The jury endorsed the earlier recommendations of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report into the "Marchioness" sinking, together with the recommendations of the report of the inquiry into river safety by Mr. John Hayes. All of the recommendations in the MAIB's report have since been implemented. Action has also been taken on the recommendations of the Hayes report and an updated statement of the position is included in the paper published today.

Health Education and Social Care Initiatives

Lord Rix asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will provide further support for those local authorities currently undergoing reorganisation which are unable to resolve locally the major difficulties in planning and budgeting on an integrated basis for meeting the health education and social care needs of children and adults with severe learning disabilities.

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Lord Henley): New unitary authorities, having responsibility for health, education and social services, will be able to plan on an integrated basis in ways that may not have been possible previously. Where costs are incurred as a direct result of reorganisation, authorities may apply to the Department of the Environment for additional supplementary credit approvals. Some £50 million of extra funding was made available in this way in 1995-96, and some £100 million has been allocated for 1996-97.

The Department of Health will shortly be issuing guidance to local education and health authorities and social service departments entitled Child Health in the Community: A Guide to Good Practice; my department

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and the Department of Health have agreed jointly to fund research to establish models of effective co-operation in dealing with children with special educational needs, including those with severe learning disabilities; and will also shortly be issuing a joint guidance document about the transition from school to FE, training or employment of young people with disabilities. All of these initiatives will offer guidance on roles and responsibilities and emphasise the need for effective collaboration. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health has responsibility for adults with severe learning difficulties.

Cold Weather Payments

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In which areas of the United Kingdom cold weather payments from the social fund were triggered between Christmas and New Year 1995.

The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): Northern Ireland and the following Meteorological Office weather stations within Great Britain triggered Social Fund Cold Weather Payments between 25 December 1995 to 1 January 1996:

Aberdeen (twice) Heathrow
Aberporth Kinloss
Aughton Kirkwall (twice)
Aviemore Leeds
Bedford Lerwick
Birmingham Leuchars
Boscombe Down Lyneham
Boulmer Machrihanish
Bournemouth Manchester
Braemar Marham
Brize Norton Shawbury
Capel Curig Stansted
Carlisle Stornoway
Cardiff (Rhoose) Tynemouth
Coltishall Tulloch Bridge
Cilfynydd Waddington
Dunkeswell Wattisham
Edinburgh Whitby
Eskdalemuir Wick
Eskmeals Wilsden
Gatwick Yeovilton

Details of the postcode areas within Great Britain covered by each weather station are listed in the schedules to the Social Fund Cold Weather Payments Regulations, a copy of which is held in the Library.

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Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In how many weeks, Cold Weather Payments have been made in at least one area of the United Kingdom.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: Cold weather payments have been triggered in five of the weeks since 1 November, when the scheme commenced this winter.

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the average annual cost of

    cold weather payments since their introduction.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: Since the regulated cold weather payment scheme began in 1986, the average annual amount awarded has been £10.4 million. The annual amount paid is dependent on the severity of the winter weather conditions. In addition, a number of changes have been made to the entitlement criteria since the scheme began.

Lone Parents Receiving Benefit

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many single parents were on benefit on

    1 April in each year from 1991-95.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is in the table. Figures relate to the total number of lone parents, who may be single, separated/divorced, or widowed.

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Lone Parents receiving Benefit 1991-1995

Income SupportHousing BenefitCommunity Charge BenefitCouncil Tax Benefit Family CreditDisability Working AllowanceWidowed Mothers AllowanceOne Parent Benefit

n/a--not applicable.

1. Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand. Exact figures have been quoted for Disability Working Allowance.

2. In Income Support, Housing Benefit, Community Charge Benefit and Council Tax Benefit lone parent refers to cases where the lone parent premium is in payment. For Disability Working Allowance, Family Credit and One Parent Benefit a lone parent has been defined as a person who is living alone with their children. Lone Parents receiving Widowed Mothers Allowance are beneficiaries receiving an increase for a child.

3. Council Tax Benefit replaced Community Charge Benefit from April 1993.

4. There will be some overlap between benefits as a person may receive one or more of the named benefits.

5. Disability Working Allowance was introduced in April 1992.

6. Figures for 1995 are not available for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.

7. Figures are based on statistical enquiries which are not always conducted in April of each year. The sources are:

Income Support Statistics Annual/Quarterly enquiries May 1991-May 1994, February 1995.

Family Credit Quarterly Statistics April 1991-April 1995.

Disability Working Allowance Quarterly Enquiries April 1993-April 1995.

One Parent Benefit count 31 May 1991-31 May 1995.

Housing Benefit Management Information System, annual 1 per cent. sample enquiries taken at the end of May in each year given.

Widows Benefit biannual enquiry (data as at 30 September each year).

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