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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The United Kingdom Fuel Poverty Strategy has been published today and copies are being placed in the Library of the House.
Lord Whitty: Following extensive consultation with our stakeholders, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State published the revised and final aim and objectives on DEFRA's website http://www.defra.gov.uk/ on 14 November 2001. We have arranged for a copy to be placed in the Library of the House.
Lord Whitty: The Government maintain close links with the insurance industry to help ensure continued availability of affordable flood cover. There is an agreement among Association of British Insurers (ABI) member companies that they will continue to provide flood cover, except in exceptional circumstances, for domestic properties and small businesses which they currently insure during 2001 and 2002. Cases where there is an alleged breach of this agreement have been referred by DEFRA to the ABI for investigation. However, it must be recognised that insurance companies need to take a commercial decision as to what risk they will cover and on what terms. Also, the insurance industry is a competitive one and customers may need to shop around to obtain the best deal.
My honourable friends the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Commons) and the Economic Secretary to the Treasury met the ABI on 5 September to discuss our mutual aim of ensuring that affordable flood insurance cover continues to be generally available after December 2002. Further discussions between officials have taken place.
Together with the flood defence operating authorities, we are reducing the risk of flooding and are communicating this to the insurance industry. We are reducing the risk through substantial increases in investment in flood and coastal defences (which now totals over £400 million a year). Flood defences are being repaired, renewed, maintained and improved. Flood warning arrangements are continually being improved. The Government have issued strengthened guidance to local planning authorities on control of development in flood risk areas and are reviewing the financial and institutional arrangements under which the flood defence service is delivered.
The additional funding is being used in particular to accelerate a number of river flood defence schemes and to provide for whole catchment studies to proceed. However, as taxpayers' money is at stake, it is necessary to ensure that schemes are properly appraised, that a range of options are considered and the potential impact of defences elsewhere on the coastline or in the catchment is considered. Such problems are rarely amenable to standard solutions.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): Information is not available on the permanence of disability, and there is no administrative count of the number of severely disabled or single definition of severe disability. However the 199697 Disability Survey asked around 7,000 disabled people a series of questions about their disability. On the basis of the answers to these questions, approximately 1.84 million adults in private households in Great Britain met the survey's definition of severe disability.
On the basis of responses to the Disability Survey, the estimated numbers of people with hearing, sight, mobility and other disabilities are shown in the table below. Because many people reported more than one condition the total number exceeds 1.84 million.
|Number reported (millions)
The Minister of State, Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The Vehicle Inspectorate records the number of vehicles checked at the roadside and at fleet inspections but it does not record whether the vehicle is fitted with a speed limiter. The examination of speed limiters requires the use of sophisticated electronic equipment by trained examiners and the check takes some time to complete. Speed limiter checks are carried out on vehicles where the examination of the tachograph charts leads the examiner to suspect that the speed limiter may be defective. A functional check of the speed limiter is not currently part of the annual test but will form part of the test from October 2002 to comply with the EU directive that requires the component to be checked at annual test from February 2003. The total number of vehicles checked at the roadside and fleet checks and the number of speed limiter defects found are set out in the table below.
|No. of checks
|No. of speed
|200102 Half year
Note 1: The number of vehicles checked includes HGVs and PSVs checked at the roadside and fleet inspections.
How many United Kingdom driving licences are currently valid; and how many of these are machine-readable.[HL1210]
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: There are 38.9 million full and provisional valid driving licence records held at DVLA (10.2 million for photocards and 28.7 million for paper licences). None of these licences is machine-readable. However, DVLA intends to look at this aspect as a future development.
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What percentage of households containing one or more disabled persons receiving the higher or medium rate care component of disability living allowance or the higher mobility rate are in fuel poverty.[HL1200]
What percentage of households containing one or more disabled persons receiving either of the higher rates of disability living allowance are in fuel poverty.[HL1201]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): Information on fuel poverty is not available split by the rate of disability living allowance. However, figures are available on the percentage of households receiving the different components of the disability living allowance that are in fuel poverty. The latest available figures for England relate to 1996 and these are given in the table below. More up-to-date figures are not available at present.
|Fuel poverty defined using income including housing benefit and ISMI(2)
|Fuel poverty defined using income excluding housing benefit and ISMI(2)
|Households in receipt of DLA care component
|Households in receipt of DLA mobility component
|Households in receipt of either care or mobility components of DLA or both
Source: English House Condition Survey 1996
(1) The information in the table is based on the head of household or their partner receiving the disability living allowance.
(2) Fuel poverty defined as when a household needs to spend more than 10 per cent of its income (including housing benefit and income support for mortgage interest) on fuel in order to maintain a satisfactory heating regime.
(3) Fuel poverty defined as when a household needs to spend more than 10 per cent of its income (excluding housing benefit and income support for mortgage interest) on fuel in order to maintain a satisfactory heating regime.
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