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Disability Working Allowance

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people in Yorkshire and Humberside received the Disability Working Allowance during the last year of its existence. [149440]

Mr. Bayley: Disabled Persons Tax Credit replaced Disability Working Allowance on 5 October 1999.

In Yorkshire and Humberside there were 2,458 claimants in receipt of Disability Working Allowance at some time during the period 6 October 1998 to 4 October 1999. Of these, 2,130 were awards made during this period.


Mr. Goggins: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what progress he has made on his PSA target of reducing losses from fraud and error in Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance. [150793]

Mr. Rooker: In 1998 we set a PSA target to reduce fraud and error in Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance by 10 per cent. by March 2002. Provisional estimates show that the Department is likely to have met this target some 18 months earlier than anticipated. However, the Department has now set a more demanding target of reducing losses through fraud and error by 25 per cent. by March 2004 rising to 50 per cent. by March 2006.

State Pension

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the cost to the Exchequer of increasing the basic state pension to £92 for a single person and £138 for a couple, taking into account (a) savings in regard to (i) the Minimum Income Guarantee and (ii) other benefits payable to pensioners and (b) the consequent increases in receipts of tax revenue. [147606]

Mr. Rooker [pursuant to his reply, 8 February 2001, c. 700W]: The information is in the table.

Cost of increasing the basic state pension to £92 for a single person and £138 for a couple

£ billion
Gross total8.4
Minimum Income Guarantee savings1
Other income related benefit savings0.8
Total income related benefit savings1.8
Tax yield0.8
Total net cost5.8


1. All costs are given in £ billion to the nearest £100 million.

2. Gross costs are estimated by the Government Actuary's Department.

3. Income related benefits savings are estimated using the Policy Simulation Model.

4. The tax effects are estimated by the Inland Revenue.

5. Costs are given excluding widows and bereavement benefits whose rates are linked by law to the rate of basic Retirement Pension. Including them adds £200 million to the net costs.

14 Feb 2001 : Column: 136W


Hinduja Brothers

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much in the form of export credit guarantees has been made available for each year since 1992 to (a) the Hinduja Group and (b) subsidiaries of the Hinduja Group. [149696]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 9 February 2001]: No export guarantees have been issued to the Hinduja Group nor, as far as ECGD is aware, to any of its subsidiaries.

Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which members of the Hinduja family he has met since 3 May 1997; where such meetings have taken place; and for what purpose. [149839]

Mr. Byers: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 2 February 2001, Official Report, column 336W, to the right hon. Member for Maidstone and the Weald (Miss Widdecombe).

Sub-post Offices

Mr. Page: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many modified sub-post offices there are and how many are run by interim sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses. [150259]

Mr. Alan Johnson: I understand from the Post Office that at the end of the third quarter of its current financial year, there were 655 modified sub-post offices. Of these, 33 were, at that date operated through temporary agents as a result of the resignation or termination of contract of the previous agent. In all such cases, the Post Office seeks to avoid any break in service and to ensure that standards of service are maintained until a new permanent agent can be appointed.

Mr. Page: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many sub-post office closures there were in the third quarter of 2000; and how many closures there were in total up to the end of that quarter in 2000. [148213]

Mr. Alan Johnson [holding answer 1 February 2001]: 135 sub-post offices closed in the third quarter of the financial year 2000-01. Between April and December 2000 closures totalled 434, of which four are permanent following consultations under the Code of Practice. The figures reflect a snapshot position on one single day and many of these closures will be of a temporary nature only. The Government recognise that this is a serious issue for the communities concerned and a range of measures will be implemented in the near future to address it. Recent research by the Post office into the reasons for sub-postmasters' resignations makes clear that personal circumstances, such as retirement and health, are the main reasons for resigning. Fewer than 10 per cent. cite financial reasons.

14 Feb 2001 : Column: 137W

Science Funding (North-West)

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will break down the funding allocated to the North West for science in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999 and (d) 2000, by each major project. [146684]

Dr. Howells: A detailed breakdown of funding allocated to the North West by the Research Councils cannot be provided without disproportionate cost as the information is not held centrally in the format requested.

Steel Imports

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much steel was imported into Britain in 2000; where it was imported from; where most of it was used; and if he will make a statement. [150249]

Mr. Alan Johnson [holding answer 13 February 2001]: Imports of finished steel products in 1999 and the first 11 months of 2000 were as follows.

UK Imports of steel industry products

Region19992000 (January to November)
European Union
Irish Republic89,95889,381
United Kingdom(1)27,388222,611
Total European Union5,105,5054,703,464
Other Western Europe (not EU)601,234471,458
Eastern Europe and CIS454,725829,004
North Africa29,99034,421
Central, East and South Africa 80,353117,021
West Africa151,569
North America64,94375,968
Central and South America100,02470,240
Near and Middle East1,6515,669
Other Asian countries402,310388,724
Australasia and other Oceania36,84135,499

(1) Re-imports of steel that has been sent out of the UK for further processing.


No statistical information is available on the subsequent use of these imports.


Iron and Steel Statistics Bureau.

14 Feb 2001 : Column: 138W

Digital Television

Mrs. Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to introduce rules to require the inclusion of a digital tuner in new television sets; and if he will make a statement. [148270]

Ms Hewitt: The Government have no plans to introduce rules requiring the inclusion of a digital tuner in new television sets. EU competition rules could preclude such requirements being made on a unilateral national basis.

Annexe VI of the Directive on universal services and users' rights relating to electronic communications networks stipulates that all television sets sold in Europe should have at least one open interface socket permitting the connection of a digital receiver.

The Government have recently announced a White Paper on enterprise, skills and innovation entitled "Opportunity For All in a World of Change" which outlines its plans for digital television.

Family-friendly Employers

Ms Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of employers with a policy of allowing reduced working hours for fathers have (a) fewer than 20 employees, (b) 100 employees or less, (c) 200 employees or less and (d) more than 500 employees. [150109]

Mr. Alan Johnson [holding answer 13 February 2001]: A survey commissioned by the Department for Education and Employment in 2000 reports that 40 per cent. of fathers in workplaces employing between five and 24 staff said that their employer would allow them to reduce their hours for an agreed period of time at reduced salary. Corresponding figures were 30 per cent. for those employees in workplaces employing between 25 and 99 employees, 34 per cent. in workplaces between 100 and 499 employees and 35 per cent. in workplaces employing more than 500 employees.

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