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Indebtedness Taskforce

Mr. Welsh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if Scottish advice providers have been involved in the discussions of his Department's indebtedness taskforce; [153074]

Dr. Howells: Both the Scottish Executive and Money Advice Scotland are represented on the overindebtedness discussion group. This group, representing a wide cross- section of interested parties, works alongside the taskforce providing suggestions on areas to be tackled and comment on emerging conclusions, aimed at achieving more responsible lending and borrowing.

12 Mar 2001 : Column: 458W


Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 15 February 2001, Official Report, column 281W, on BNFL, when his Department first informed representatives of the Japanese Government that the quality control worker who discovered the falsification of data at the MDF plant at Sellafield was a non-BNFL employee. [151662]

Mr. Hain: My Department has not provided information to the Japanese Government about the employment terms of the individual to whom the hon. Gentleman refers or about those of any other individual working at BNFL's MDF plant at Sellafield.



Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many individuals have contacted his Department on the new pensions guide since the launch of the pensions awareness advertising campaign. [153291]

Mr. Rooker: The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness of pensions in the wider population and to get younger people thinking about their pensions. We propose to assess how successful the campaign has been via a tracking study. We anticipate that this will provide evidence that many people have made their own pension provision on the back of the campaign. In addition, between the start of the pensions awareness advertising campaign on 11 January and 7 March 2001 the Department has had a total of over 212,000 responses to the pensions education marketing campaign. In response to this, we have sent out over 410,000 copies of the new pension guide.

Computer Failures

Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment of risk he has made of the impact of a major computer disaster on the work of his Department; what steps he has taken to minimise the effects of such a disaster; and what the standard of compliance is to protect his Department from its effects. [152545]

Angela Eagle: The Department has contingency arrangements in place for all computer systems, including standby facilities for major disaster. These contingencies are comprehensively rehearsed at regular intervals.

Miners (Compensation Payments)

Mr. Alasdair Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will exempt from compensation clawback those ex-miners who have received, or will receive, compensation for having contracted respiratory diseases as a result of their work with British Coal or its predecessor firms. [146460]

Mr. Bayley: Compensation is intended to restore a person to the financial position which they experienced before the accident, injury or disease occurred.

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The Compensation Recovery Scheme is based on the long-standing principle that a person should not get compensation twice over for the same period.

The Department is doing all it can to ensure that the Compensation Recovery Scheme is operated as efficiently and effectively as possible. In particular, in the case of miners the Department is currently putting in place a series of administrative easements to speed up payment on miners' compensation claims. These changes will include, for example, allowing the Department of Trade and Industry more time to negotiate with the miner, without the need to contact the Department of Social Security; and reducing duplication and red tape. These changes will ensure delays in the process do not occur.

Disability Living Allowance

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people under 60 years are in receipt of (a) middle and higher rate care component and (b) the higher rate of mobility component of Disability Living Allowance; and what the annual cost would be to extend the Winter Fuel Payment to this group. [153372]

Mr. Bayley: The information is in the table.

Number of people under 60 years in receipt of middle and higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance and the higher rate of mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, with the annual cost of extending Winter Fuel Payments to these groups

NumberCost (£ million)
Higher and middle rate care component747,140130
Higher rate mobility component709,560130


1. Based on DLA administrative data, May 2000; DSS Information Centre data, August 2000.

2. Cost rounded to the nearest 10 million.

3. Winter Fuel Payment is considered to be paid at £200.

4. Costs are based on households without a resident aged 60 years or over.

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many (a) initial claims, (b) renewal claims, (c) requests for review and (d) requests for appeal were received in respect of Disability Living Allowance claims in each quarter from 1996 to date. [152025]

Mr. Bayley: The information is in the table.

Initial claimsRenewal claimsReviewsAppeals
June 1996134,83140,05492,8909,338
September 1996133,92237,84893,58710,233
December 1996124,55442,07379,1418,420
March 1997124,28147,87999,36111,702
June 1997132,09243,86395,03711,683
September 1997121,06742,40391,63310,918
December 1997110,81344,96885,96812,298
March 199897,38753,66882,09413,810
June 199896,12548,50575,41912,342
September 1998103,06146,24377,81812,087
December 199896,02246,84072,72711,238
March 1999103,06956,84581,57311,158
June 199998,99749,89975,49810,418
September 199997,54248,65078,60111,570
December 199991,31147,41972,23116,020
March 2000104,74956,77868,94424,093
June 2000104,07949,37364,63126,051
September 2000100,67048,71769,63628,187
December 200096,33347,12160,62926,247

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Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many convictions for social security fraud there were in each of the last five years; how many of these convictions were for a second offence; if he will list the convictions by administrative areas for the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [152406]

Mr. Rooker: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available was given in my written answer to the hon. Member for Havant (Mr. Willetts) on 10 January 2001, Official Report, column 575W.

Flooding (Housing Benefit)

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what measures his Department plans to assist persons forced by recent floods to move into temporary accommodation who receive Housing Benefit for one property but have to pay rents for the flooded and the temporary properties. [152444]

Angela Eagle: Housing Benefit provides assistance to those on low income to meet the housing costs of the dwelling they occupy as their home. Help can be considered on two such dwellings, for up to four weeks where the local authority is satisfied that the liability to pay two rents was unavoidable. We are aware of the difficulties faced by people whose homes are uninhabitable due to flooding and who have had to rent alternative accommodation. We are reviewing the current arrangements.

National Insurance Numbers

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many prosecutions there have been in each year since 1992 which involve benefit fraud and the misuse of national insurance numbers. [152435]

Mr. Rooker: The information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Winter Fuel Payments

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many of those men aged between 60 and 64 years have not been issued with their Winter Fuel Payment; and if he will set a deadline for these outstanding payments to be made. [152659]

Mr. Rooker: For this winter, we estimated that up to 1.5 million additional people could be newly eligible as a result of the changes to the eligibility rules. So far as we have received around 1.3 million claims, but people have until 30 March 2001 to claim a payment for this winter.

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For past winters, we estimated that up to 1.9 million people could be newly eligible. So far around 1 million claims have been made and paid. There is no time limit on claiming payments for past winters.

It is open to those who are now eligible to choose whether they wish to make a claim. An information campaign has been running since April to inform existing and potential customers about the changes to the scheme and what, if anything, they need to do.

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