Previous Section Index Home Page

Departmental Policies (Hull, North)

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Hull, North constituency, the effects on Hull, North of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [150617]

Mr. Rooker: The Department's policies and initiatives have made a significant contribution to the Government's overall objectives of:

These goals are being pursued nationwide and our achievements are set out in our annual "Opportunity for all" reports. Our second report, "Opportunity for all--One year on: making a difference" (CM4865, September 2000) sets out what progress has been made in the past year, as well as highlighting what more needs to be done. Nationwide statistical information is necessarily more complete than constituency level data, but the following provides a comparative guide to the effect of the Department's policies and actions in Hull, North since May 1997.

Measures in our first four Budgets will lift over one million children out of poverty. These include record increases in Child Benefit, Working Families Tax Credit, increases in the income-related benefits, the minimum wage and tax changes.

Child Benefit will be worth £15.50 a week for the eldest child and £10.35 a week for other children from April 2001: nationally about 7 million families receive Child Benefit, and in Hull, North 11,834 families benefit.

We now have the lowest unemployment rate in 25 years. The New Deals have helped lone parents, the young unemployed, the long-term unemployed, the over-50s and partners of the unemployed to move from benefit into work. In the period since May 1997 the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance nationally has reduced from 1,562,400 to 1,044,900; in Hull, North the number has reduced from 4,400 to 3,300. Since May 1997 the number of lone parents who claim Income Support has decreased from 1,013,500 to 894,100 nationally, and in Hull, North from 2,900 to 2,800.

Older people are disproportionately affected by fuel poverty. So we have introduced Winter Fuel Payments to help with their heaviest fuel bill. This winter, the payment is £200 for households who qualify. Over 13,500 older people in Hull, North have received a Winter Fuel Payment for this winter.

To demonstrate our commitment to combating pensioner poverty, this year we will spend £4.5 billion extra in real terms on pensioners. Some 12,300 pensioners in Hull, North will benefit from the substantial increases

5 Mar 2001 : Column: 73W

in the basic state pension this April and next; this year's increase is £5 a week for single pensioners and £8 for couples. In addition we have introduced free TV licences for the over-75s, of whom we estimate there are about 5,100 in Hull, North. 3,300 pensioner families in Hull, North are receiving the Minimum Income Guarantee, which we introduced in April 1999 to help our poorest pensioners. From April they will be at least £15 a week, or £800 a year, better off in real terms as a result of Government measures since 1997.

Other reforms in the pipeline include the new pension credit in 2003, designed to ensure that pensioners benefit from their savings. The launch of stakeholder pensions in April this year and the introduction of the state second pension in April 2002 will both help provide greater security for tomorrow's pensioners.

Regulated Tenancies

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many tenants of regulated tenancies are not in receipt of housing benefit. [151877]

Angela Eagle: The information available is as follows.

It is estimated from the survey of English housing data for 1999-2000 and other sources that there are some 80,000 regulated tenancies in Great Britain where housing benefit is not received.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what research he has (a) undertaken and (b) commissioned on the income distribution of regulated new tenants. [151878]

Angela Eagle: We have not undertaken or commissioned any research on the income distribution of regulated tenants.

The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions published a range of information on the economic status of regulated tenants in the publication "Housing in England 1998-99", which is available in the Library.

War Pensions

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to allow those who are 15 per cent. disabled to be eligible for a war pension. [151685]

Mr. Bayley: Where service disablement is assessed at 20 per cent. or more, the War Pensions Agency pays an on-going pension based on a weekly or annual rate. Where the assessment is less than 20 per cent. a war pension is paid as a lump sum gratuity.

5 Mar 2001 : Column: 74W

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to spend more money on processing claims for war pensioners; and if he will make a statement. [151686]

Mr. Bayley: The War Pensions Agency is an Executive Agency of the Department of Social Security and as such remains subject to gross expenditure control under the Parliamentary Vote system.

The agency expects to meet all targets in its current business plan relating to claims and appeals processing for 2000-01. It is confident of receiving sufficient funding for 2001-02 to deliver further improved performance and to continue to reduce the total number of cases in action at the agency.


Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he will respond to letters from the hon. Member for West Derbyshire dated 19 January and 8 February relating to the case of Mr. and Mrs. Walker of Broadholme Lane Farm, Belper. [152261]

Mr. Bayley: A reply was issued on 5 March 2001.


Lord Levy

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Prime Minister which department organises and books (a) air flights and (b) other travel arrangements, when Lord Levy is travelling abroad as his personal envoy. [148516]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 2 February 2001]: Lord Levy's air flights are normally booked by his personal assistant. On a few occasions, they have been booked by the Foreign Office travel centre in London or by embassies in countries visited by Lord Levy, and Lord Levy has reimbursed the cost.

Other travel arrangements are made by embassies in the countries visited by Lord Levy.

Hammond Inquiry

Mr. Baker: To ask the Prime Minister if he will take steps to establish the origin of the appearance in Sunday newspapers of details of the findings of the inquiry set up under Sir Anthony Hammond into the Hinduja passport affair; if he will identify publicly the person or persons responsible; and if he will make a statement. [151837]

The Prime Minister: No. Sir Anthony Hammond was still compiling his report when a number of speculative newspaper reports appeared. I have made clear that I will publish Sir Anthony's report.

Prime Ministerial Meetings

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Prime Minister how many times he met the Irish Prime Minister between 1 January and 1 July 2000; what the dates of each meeting were; and where each meeting took place. [152060]

5 Mar 2001 : Column: 75W

The Prime Minister: I met the Taoiseach on the following occasions between 1 January and 1 July 2000:

16 FebruaryTalks at No. 10
23 MarchBilateral talks, Lisbon
18 AprilDinner, Dublin
20 AprilWebcast at No. 10
2 May Lunch at No. 10
4 MayTalks at Hillsborough
7 JuneDinner at No. 10
19 JuneMeeting in Oporto

Hinduja Brothers

Mr. Baker: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 26 February 2001, Official Report, column 338W, concerning the Cabinet Secretary's meeting with the Hinduja brothers, from whom the advice came that it would be beneficial for the Cabinet Secretary to accept the lunch invitation. [152064]

The Prime Minister: As is normal with such invitations, the Secretary of the Cabinet took advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Next Section Index Home Page