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Identity Cards

Viscount Exmouth asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The possible benefits and disadvantages of different types of national identity card schemes were discussed in the 1995 Green Paper Identity Cards: A consultation document, and the 1996 Home Affairs Committee Fourth Report on Identity Cards. The Government will continue to look at the arguments, but have not as yet reached any conclusions.

Asylum Applications

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I regret that information on applications for asylum lodged in the United Kingdom is not available by week within the statistics. The available breakdown, by month of application, is given in the table.

Asylum applications(1) received in the United Kingdom, excluding dependants, with totals for each 12 month period, January 1996 to March 1998
Number of principal applicants

Month of applicationNumber of applications in each monthTotal applications in preceding 12 months

(1) Figures rounded to the nearest 5.

n/a = Not applicable.

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Prison Service Drug Strategy

Baroness Turner of Camden asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish a revised drug strategy for the Prison Service.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We will be placing a copy of the new Prison Service drug strategy, Tackling Drugs in Prison, in the Library, together with a review of the current Prison Service drug strategy, and research findings underpinning that review.

Mobility Equipment Fund and Drivers Fund

Lord Morris of Manchester asked asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What recent consideration has been given to the adequacy of government funding for the Mobility Equipment Fund and the Driver's Fund established to help customers of Motability with the more severe disabilities; and when they expect the long-term future of the two funds to be determined.[HL1611]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The Government are committed to maximising the potential of severely disabled people through mobility solutions to enable them to enjoy the same opportunities for education and employment as others, and are aware of the continuing pressure there has been on the Mobility Equipment Fund and Drivers Fund over recent years. A review of the Mobility Equipment Fund began in May 1997 to examine the adequacy of arrangements in respect of provision of mobility solutions for severely disabled people who were not being helped from Motability's charitable

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funds, and research is shortly to commence among past customers of the scheme. On completion of the review, expected at the end of 1998, the Government will be better placed to make judgments on the future of the funds.

Self-Employed: Pension Contributions

Baroness Castle of Blackburn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What would be the impact on current National Insurance contribution rates of including the self-employed in SERPS on the same terms as they contribute to the basic pension.[HL1537]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The table below gives the increase in the joint National Insurance contribution rates in respect of employed earners which would be required if the self-employed are made eligible for SERPS but face no additional contributions themselves.

Per cent.

YearCurrent BaselineIncrease RequiredTotal Contribution Rate


1. Estimates have been prepared by the Government Actuary based on the Third Quinquennial review (National Insurance Fund Long Term Financial Estimates HC 160).

2. The current baseline refers to the pension system as provided for in the 1995 Pensions Act.

3. The contribution rates given are those required to balance the

NI fund by producing sufficient income to match expenditure on benefits and administration in each year shown.

4. The contribution effects assume that the self-employed pay

Class 2 and Class 4 contributions on the same basis as they do now. If the self-employed themselves were to meet the cost of any entitlement to SERPS, it would be necessary to make policy assumptions concerning the restructuring of self-employed National Insurance Contributions in order to achieve this.

5. Assumptions are as follows:

(a) Price uprating of benefits and earnings limits.

(b) SERPS accruals for the self-employed would commence in 2000-01.

(c) No allowance has been made for any contracting out by the self-employed.

(d) The illustrative rates exclude the NHS allocation.

SERPS: Contracting-Out Terms

Baroness Castle of Blackburn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What sized pension would accrue to those who contract out of SERPS for the rest of their working life and invest the rebate in an appropriate personal pension at the ages of 25, 35 and 45 respectively.[HL1540]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: Based on the assumptions used by the Government Actuary in his Review of Certain Contracting-Out Terms (Cm 3888),

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an individual investing only the National Insurance contribution rebate in an appropriate personal pension (APP) would receive a pension broadly equivalent to that which they would get from the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS). In practical terms, the amount of pension will depend on actual investment performance. If the rate of return was higher than that assumed by Government Actuary's Department, it would produce a higher pension.

Personal Pension Contributions

Baroness Castle of Blackburn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What level of contribution to a personal pension scheme would be needed to produce a pension of two-thirds of final salary of £15,000, £21,000, £30,000 and £40,000 per annum respectively.[HL1541]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The information requested is set out in the table.

The approximate levels of continuous flat-rate weekly contributions to a personal pension scheme between the ages of 25 and 65 that would be needed to produce a pension of two thirds of a final salary

Final salaryAnnual pensionWeekly contribution


1. The figures use the assumptions made by the Government Actuary for the purpose of calculating National Insurance rebates as set out in the Government Actuary's report in command paper

Cm 3888 (Review of certain Contracting-out Terms).

2. The actual level of contribution required to reach a given amount of pension will depend on actual investment performance. If the rate of return was higher than assumed by the Government Actuary, the actual contribution required to achieve the same pension would be lower.

3. The contribution levels have been rounded to the nearest pound and are expressed in 1997 prices. The annual pension levels are expressed in terms of 1997 income levels.

4. The amount of pensions shown is the personal pension only. Any basic State pension or SERPS entitlement is not included in the annual pension shown above.

5. The figures relate to an individual aged 25 in 1997.

6. It is assumed that the individual remains contracted-in to the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) throughout the period during which contributions to the personal pension are made and so does not receive any rebates for contracting-out.

Landlord and Tenant Act 1954:Originating Applications

Baroness Miller of Hendon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Chancellor on 9 March (WA 14), how many originating applications to the courts in England and Wales under Section 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 were set down for hearing in 1997; and how many proceeded to a full hearing.[HL1663]

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The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The figures requested are not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

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