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National Insurance Contributions

Lord Vinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: The national insurance contributions are not refundable because, unlike PAYE income tax, liability for Class 1 contributions is non-cumulative and depends on the frequency of employees' pay periods and the level of their earnings in each of those periods. Weekly paid employees and their employers pay Class 1 contributions on each occasion that the employees' weekly earnings equal or exceed the weekly lower earnings limit (currently £61), whether or not their total annual earnings from the employment reach 52 times the weekly lower earnings limit (currently £3,172). These contributions, and any other Class 1 contributions, Class 2 contributions for periods of self-employment and Class 3 voluntary contributions paid in the same contribution year, count towards making that year a qualifying year for entitlement to contributory social security benefits. Refunding Class 1 contributions paid in any weekly paid employment with annual earnings less than the annual lower earnings limit could result in that year not being a qualifying year for benefit purposes.

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Refugees: Benefit Rules

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Secretary of State for Social Security's remark on 15th July that "persons who are found to be genuine refugees and those granted exceptional leave to remain, will continue to qualify for help" (H.C. Deb., col. 845), whether there is any way they can know which refugees are genuine before their claims are heard.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: Benefit rules do not attempt to anticipate the decision on whether an individual asylum seeker is a genuine refugee or not. The rules make a distinction between those who have made their position clear as soon as they arrive and those who have entered illegally, or claimed some other status. Those found to be refugees or granted exceptional leave will be able to qualify for benefit under normal rules.

DSS: Male/Female Staff Ratio

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer given by Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish on 24th June (WA 48) concerning the low proportion of men employed by the Department of Social Security, whether they will instruct ministers personally to investigate the recruitment policies of the department, especially the content of equal opportunities awareness training and whether there is a policy of positive discrimination in favour of women being implemented by the department and its agencies.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: The department's recruitment policies follow the Civil Service Commissioners rules on recruitment by fair and open competition and selection on merit. I am satisfied that the policies are free from positive discrimination, which is illegal. The aim of equal opportunities awareness training is to remove bias or prejudice towards any particular group, and not to encourage reverse discrimination.

North Thames Health Region: Abortions

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many abortions have been performed within the North Thames Region, under the provisions of the Abortion Act 1967 (as amended); and how many and what percentage of such abortions were performed in an emergency to save the life of the mother.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: The total number of abortions carried out under the Abortion Act, to women usually resident in the North Thames health Region 1 , from 1970 to 1994 2 was 752,736. During this period, 19 abortions, 0.003 per cent. of the total number of

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abortions performed, were carried out in an emergency, certified by the operating practitioner as immediately necessary, to save the life of the woman 3 .

1 Figures are based, where possible, on 1994 health authority boundaries. Other boundary changes have not been reflected in the figures.

2 Figures for 1968-69 are not held on a comparable basis.

3 Abortions performed under statutory grounds 5 (1970-31st March 1991) and F (1st April 1991-present)--i.e., where in the case of emergency it was necessary to save the life of the woman.

Deaths: Notifications to Government Departments

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the government departments which are automatically notified, and within what time scale, on the registration of death of any person in the United Kingdom.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: In the case of England and Wales, registrars of births and deaths notify the Office for National Statistics (which includes the National Health Service Central Register) of all deaths registered in England and Wales at the end of the week in which they were registered.

Registrars also notify the deaths of pensioners receiving an allowance from government funds to the following departments or agencies immediately following registration:

Ministry of Defence


Teachers' Pensions Agency

Scottish Office

Overseas Development Administration


The Office for National Statistics notifies all deaths which have occurred in England and Wales to the Department of Social Security weekly.

In the case of Scotland, registrars in Scotland send notifications of deaths to the following departments after registration:

Department of Social Security--weekly

Health and Safety Executive--quarterly

    Ministry of Defence


    Scottish Office Pensions Agency


    Inland Revenue

    Customs & Excise

    Northern Ireland

Registrars notify all deaths weekly to the following departments:

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    Northern Ireland Stats and Research Agency--General Register Office

    The Chief Electoral Officer

    Directors of Public Health for the Four Social Services Boards

    Benefits Agency, DSS Longbenton

    Central Services Agency

Registrars also notify the deaths of pensioners receiving an allowance from government funds to the following departments immediately following registration:

Department of Finance and Personnel

Department of Education Northern Ireland

Police Authority for Northern Ireland


Ministry of Defence

DHSS War Pensions

Treasury Accounts Branch

Metropolitan Police, Finance Department

Scottish Education Department

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Policy Appraisal and Fair Treatment Guidelines

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will consider introducing guidelines in Great Britain similar to the policy appraisal and fair treatment guidelines which came into effect in Northern Ireland on 1st January 1994 and apply to all Government departments and public bodies.

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Lord Henley): Guidelines on policy appraisal for equal treatment were first circulated to all Government departments in 1992 and have been revised and recirculated this year. Copies of the revised guidelines have been placed in the Library.

TEC Courses: Figures

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many unemployed people and how many school leavers have attended courses at each Training and Enterprise Council since 1st January 1995.

Lord Henley: The information requested is given in the attached table.

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England and Wales January 1995-May 1996 Total of Programme starts by TEC

Training for workYouth trainingModern apprenticeships
Eastern Region
Central and South Cambs.1,2901,530130
Greater Peterborough 2,2102,350160
Norfolk and Waveney5,1705,070280
East Midlands Region
Greater Nottingham4,6204,960240
South Derbyshire3,2103,230510
North Derbyshire2,4602,030260
North Nottinghamshire4,0704,730330
North East Region
Co Durham5,1704,300510
Sunderland City4,1203,150290
Yorkshire and Humberside Region
Barnsley and Doncaster6,4405,390530
North Yorkshire3,1303,730240
North West Region
S and E Cheshire1,8902,860260
Cent Manchester8,3309,2701,660
Stockport-High Peak1,8203,000280
South West Region
South East Region
Heart of England2,1302,61090
Wight Training50071040
Milton Keynes1,5702,200180
Thames Valley4,4309,5701,100
London Region
North London4,7602,410450
North West London2,9001,690450
London East7,5004,960260
West London3,9803,090490
South Thames80000
Merseyside Region
West Midland Region
Central England2,5501,910150
Sandwell Tec2,2802,130130
Mid Glamorgan3,1405,250320
South Glamorgan2,2402,950470
North East Wales1,0002,740510
North West Wales2,0902,730210
West Wales4,1805,370730
England & Wales320,240334,40031,030


1. Records for 1995/96 for South Thames TEC are now kept by SOLOTEC & CENTEC

2. Numbers are rounded to the nearest 10, and therefore may not equal National totals.


TEC Management Information, the Welsh Office.

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