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Retail Prices Index

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what work has been carried out by the Office for National Statistics to construct a retail prices index reflecting a representative basket of goods and services used by (a) pensioners and (b) recipients of income support; and how such an index would differ from the overall index. [118036]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Director of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to reply.

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Letter from John Kidgell to Dr. Vincent Cable, dated 12 April 2000:


The Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has been asked to reply to your recent question on work carried out by the ONS on a retail price index reflecting goods and services used by pensioners and recipients of income support. I am replying in the Director's absence.
Each quarter the ONS publishes in the Consumer Price Indices Business Monitor (MM23) separate indices for one and two pensioner households, using weights derived from relevant expenditure information from the Family Expenditure Survey (FES). These indices exclude a number of items in the Retail Prices Index (RPI), including charges for NHS services, all housing costs and staff restaurant meals. NHS charges are excluded because they are generally not paid by pensioners, and housing costs are excluded because pensioners are mostly cushioned from rises by the receipt of rebates. Pensioners do not have staff restaurant meals. For rail and bus fares, special pensioners rail and bus fare indices are substituted for the normal index household indices to allow for fare concessions available in some areas.
Between January 1987, the latest reference period for the RPI, and the fourth quarter of 1999, the RPI increased by 66.8%. In the same period, the one-person pensioner household index increased by 50.1% and the two-person pensioner household index increased by 54.9%.
The ONS does not construct a separate index for recipients of income support, but does construct the Rossi index each month. This is used for uprating state income-related benefits once a year. The Rossi index is the all items RPI excluding mortgage interest payments, rent, council tax and owner-occupiers' depreciation costs. This is not published, but is made available on request to the ONS.
Between January 1987 and December 1999, the RPI increased by 67.3%. In the same period, the Rossi index increased by 61.8%.

New Zealand Investment Exchanges

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what New Zealand investment exchanges have been recognised this year as overseas investment exchanges in the UK under sections 37 and 40 of the Financial Services Act 1986. [118941]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The New Zealand Futures and Options Exchange Ltd. (NZFOE) has been granted recognition as an Overseas Investment Exchange as of today, having satisfied the conditions under sections 37 and 40 of the Financial Services Act 1986. NZFOE is therefore able to carry out investment business in the UK.

Better Government for Older People

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress his Department has made, pursuant to the Better Government for Older People programme to provide access for older people to computer training and Internet services in (a) Staffordshire and (b) England. [118395]

Mr. Ian McCartney: I have been asked to reply.

The Better Government for Older People programme's pilot phase has just come to an end. The 28 local authority-led pilot projects have addressed a very wide range of issues affecting older people, including access to computers and the Internet. A report evaluating the programme and making a number of recommendations for future action is expected to be published in June. The Government hope to respond by the end of the year.

Staffordshire is not one of the 28 pilot areas but the report will make recommendations applicable to the whole of the UK. The county council has joined the Better Government for Older People Network, the forum in

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which the pilot projects' experience is shared and discussed with other local authorities, voluntary organisations and older people and which offers access to a programme of seminars, conferences and support. The Minister of State, Department of Social Security, my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker), who chairs the Inter-Ministerial Group on Older People, spoke at a BGOP Network event on New Technology in Public Services on 10 April. ICL sponsors the Network and projects in Bolton, Newcastle, Harrow, Devon, Middlesbrough and Lanarkshire.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Marginal Deduction Rates

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many households faced marginal deduction rates from employment of less than 16 hours a week that exceeded (a) 80 per cent., (b) 90 per cent. and (c) 100 per cent. (i) before the 1998 Budget, (ii) before the 1999 Budget, (iii) before the 2000 Budget and (iv) after the 2000 Budget; and if he will make a statement. [118732]

Angela Eagle: The information is not available.

Benefits (Crosby)

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people are in receipt of child benefit allowance in the Crosby constituency; and what percentage they constitute of the total population of the constituency. [118686]

Angela Eagle: The administration of Child Benefit is a matter for Peter Mathison, the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to my hon. Friend.

Letter from Peter Mathison to Mrs. Claire Curtis-Thomas, dated 11 April 2000:


The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many people are in receipt of child benefit allowance in the Crosby constituency; and what percentage they constitute of the total population of the constituency.
As of 28 February 1999, the number of households receiving child benefit in the Crosby constituency was approximately 9,000. This data is based on a 5 per cent. sample of child benefit records and has been derived from the information available in that sample based on residential postcodes.
Due to the insufficient postcode data supplied to Analytical Services Division from the child benefit computer system, it has been difficult to derive accurate statistics by constituency. The Department is however, attempting to resolve this issue by improving the quality and accuracy of the postcode data and will make this information available as soon as this is achieved.
Population data for Crosby is also not available in the format requested. The Office of National Statistics have advised that the 1991 census survey is based on Enumeration District information and are unable to match this to constituencies.
I hope this reply is helpful.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people in the age bands (a) 18 to 25, (b) 25 to 40, (c) 40 to 55 and (d) 55 to 65 years were in receipt of (i) Disability Allowance, (ii) Invalid Care Allowance, (iii) Carers Allowance, (iv) Incapacity Benefit and (v) other health-related benefit in (A) absolute

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numbers and (B) as a percentage of the total population of the Crosby constituency in each of the years 1994 to 1999. [118684]

Angela Eagle: The administration of benefits is a matter for Peter Mathison, the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to my hon. Friend.

Letter from Peter Mathison to Mrs. Claire Curtis-Thomas, dated 11 April 2000:


The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking about people in receipt of certain benefits in your constituency.
Information is not available for all the relevant benefits in the format requested. Unfortunately, population figures are not available for the Crosby constituency and I cannot, therefore, express any figures as a percentage of the population.
Prior to 1998, figures for recipients of Disability Living Allowance were based on a 5% sample and the numbers for the Crosby constituency are too small to be statistically reliable. However, since 1998, the figures are based on a 100% sample and the details for 1998 and 1999 are set out below.

18-2425-3940-5455-65
199882417734939
199981389744944

The figures for Severe Disablement Allowance cannot be provided as the sample is too small to be statistically valid and the figures for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit cannot be provided as they are not available by Parliamentary constituency.
Figures for Invalid Care Allowance are not available by Parliamentary Constituency.
The only other benefit paid specifically for carers is the Income Support Carers Premium. Figures by Parliamentary constituency has only been available since 1998 but the numbers in the 5% sample are too small to be statistically valid.
For Incapacity Benefit, it is not possible to break down the age bands, as the 5% sample is too small to be statistically valid. I have provided below the total figure for the age band 18-65 for the years 1995-1999.

YearNumber
19952,800
19962,500
19972,700
19982,400
19992,000

This reply covers all the sickness, disability and carer benefits.

I hope this is helpful.


Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people over the age of 65 were in receipt of a benefit other than a state pension in the Crosby constituency in each of the years from 1994 to 1999. [118683]

Angela Eagle: The administration of benefits is a matter for Peter Mathison, the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to my hon. Friend.

Letter from Peter Mathison to Mrs. Claire Curtis-Thomas, dated 11 April 2000:


The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many people over the age of 65 were in receipt of a benefit other than a state pension in the Crosby constituency in each of the years from 1994 to 1999.

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Some of the many benefits available to people over the age of 65 are not administered by the Benefits Agency, for example, Housing Benefit, Free Prescriptions, Travel Passes, etc.
I can provide the following information for those benefits that the Benefits Agency is responsible for delivering.
For Attendance Allowance (AA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the figures for Crosby constituency are as follows:

YearAADLA
1994(3)--700
19952,000700
19961,700700
19971,900700
19982,175600
19992,212661

(3) Sample too small to be statistically valid

Notes:

1. Figures up to 1997 based on a 5 per cent. sample

2. Figures from 1998 based on a 100 per cent. sample



For Income Support, the information is only available by parliamentary constituency from 1998. The estimated numbers in the constituency of Crosby in receipt of Income Support over the age of 65 are:

Year
19981,800
19991,900

For other benefits provided through the Benefits Agency for which people over age 65 may be eligible (see list below), the information is either not available by Parliamentary constituency, or the sample is too small to be statistically valid.
Industrial Injuries Scheme Benefits
Incapacity Benefit
Severe Disablement Allowance
Winter Fuel Payments
Cold Weather Payments
Social Fund Payments
I hope this is helpful.


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