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Vaccine Damage

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what proposals he has to amend the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme to include those who have been affected by vaccination but who are over the age of 21; [160915]

Mr. Bayley: The Vaccine Damage Payments (VDP) scheme is principally aimed at those vaccinated as part of the Department of Health-recommended childhood vaccination programme, although exceptions are made in cases such as polio and rubella where such vaccinations are more routinely given into adulthood. Given this basis those claiming a VDP must generally have been vaccinated before their 18 birthday.

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 27 June 2000, we propose to amend the time limit for claiming a VDP so that a claim must be made on or before the date on which a vaccinated person attains the age of 21, or within six years of the date of the vaccination to which the claim relates, whichever is the later. We have no further plans to amend age limit provisions.

State Retirement Pension (Women)

Sir Nicholas Lyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many women aged over 60 years have not claimed their state retirement pension. [160980]

Mr. Rooker: The information is not available in the format requested.

War Pensions Agency

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if individuals who claim disablement as a result of participating in experiments at the Chemical Defence Establishment, Porton Down are entitled to receive the case notes of their application for an award from the War Pension Agency. [160495]

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Mr. Bayley: No, individuals are not entitled to receive the War Pensions Agency's case notes relating to their application for a War Pension.

However, under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998, individuals will have the right of access to clerical information from 24 October 2001.

State Second Pension

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will calculate the outstanding liability to the state second pension for each of the next 40 years, in current price terms, and if all workers turning 25 years were from 2002 automatically contracted out of the state second pension at the standard occupational pension rate. [160524]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 9 May 2001]: The benefit expenditure on State Second Pension is shown in the table.

£ billion



1. Figures are expressed in 2001-02 price terms.

2. Costs allow for the introduction of stakeholder pensions and assume State Second Pension becomes a flat-rate scheme in 2006-07.

3. There is no additional benefit expenditure for these years if all employed earners turning 25 years contract out of the State scheme from 2002.

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Special Advisers (Overseas Visits)

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security on how many occasions between 31 March 2000 and 31 March 2001 (a) departmental and (b) non- departmental special advisers have travelled abroad in an official capacity. [158552]

Mr. Rooker: Special Advisers made no official visits overseas between 31 March 2000 and 31 March 2001.

Family Incomes

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate is provided by his Department's Family Resources Survey of the number of couples, married or unmarried, with at least one dependent child where both partners are in paid employment or self-employment, each earning less than £34,000 per annum and whose combined income is in excess of (a) £38,000, (b) £40,000, (c) £45,000 and (d) £50,000. [159446]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 27 April 2001]: The information is in the table.

The number of couples, with at least one dependent child where both partners are in paid employment, each earning less than £34,000 per annum and whose combined income from earnings are in excess of the following specified levels

Combined earnings in excess of: (£ per annum)Number of couples (Million)


1. Earnings are defined as gross payment for full-time, part-time employment and/or self-employment. The estimates of the number of couples are cumulatively above the specified earnings level and therefore should not be summed.

2. All figures are estimates and are derived from the FRS. The FRS does not include Northern Ireland, and 1998-99 is the latest year for which data are available.

3. The estimates are sample counts, which have been adjusted for non-response using multipurpose grossing factors that control for region, Council Tax band and a number of other demographic variables. Estimates are subject to both sampling error and to variability in non-response. All numbers are rounded to the nearest 100,000.


Family Resources Survey (FRS) 1998-99

Stakeholder Pensions

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security which categories of civil servants will not be offered stakeholder pensions; for what reasons; and how many people will be affected. [160124]

Marjorie Mowlam: I have been asked to reply.

A designated stakeholder arrangement will be introduced, under the access requirements of the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999, for those civil servants

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not eligible for membership of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme. Access will therefore be mainly provided for some 12,000 casual employees.

Additionally, access to the designated stakeholder arrangement will be available to those members of the PCSPS, earning below £30,000, who wish to use this route as an alternative or supplement to the scheme's additional voluntary contribution arrangements.

Work is also being taken forward on a new pension scheme for the civil service. This will provide new entrants with a choice between improved defined benefit arrangements and a new defined contribution plan. The defined contribution plan will be delivered through stakeholder pension products. Existing members of the PCSPS will be given the choice of remaining with the current benefit structure or of paying the higher employee contributions associated with the new defined benefit arrangement. The intention is to launch the new pension scheme from 1 October 2002.


Prison Service

Mr. Hope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will publish the results achieved by the Prison Service on each of its key performance indicators in 2001-01; and if he will make a statement. [161015]

Mr. Boateng: The Key Performance Indicators (KPI) results for 2000-01 for the Prison Service are given in the table. The data are provisional and subject to final validation.

The results are extremely encouraging. The improvement in security is impressive--especially the reduction in escapes from prison establishments. There were 11 last year, compared with 30 in 1999-2000 and 232 as recently as 1992-93. The downward trend in drug misuse has continued and performance is well ahead of the Public Service Agreement (PSA) target. The level of drug abuse has fallen by 49 per cent. since 1996-97. The Service met the overall target for the number of prisoners completing accredited offending behaviour programmes and increased the overall number of completions by 30 per cent. on the previous year and by more than 93 per cent. on the number achieved in 1998-99. The purposeful activity target would have been met but for a sharp rise in the prisoner population since December, and I believe, could have been met despite the increase in population had governors not responded to encouragement to concentrate investment in education and offending behaviour courses which provide high quality activity but for small numbers of prisoners.

The Director General of the Prison Service has introduced new arrangements for dealing with the high levels of staff sickness in the Service and although the basic skills targets were not met, it is very encouraging to note that prisoners achieved more than 50,000 separate certificates last year, 12,500 of them at basic skills level 2.

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Category A prisoner escapes00
Total escapes, as a percentage of the average prison population0.05 per cent. 0.03 per cent.
Contractor escapes, as a ratio per 20,000 prisoners handled1:20,0001:21,649
Proven adjudications of assault, as a percentage of the average prisoner population9 per cent.9.9 per cent.
Rate of positive random drug tests1612.4
Number of voluntary drug testing compacts28,00077,861
Percentage of the population held two to a cell designed for one (doubling)18 per cent.17.2 per cent.
Average weekly purposeful hours per prisoner24 hours23.8 hours
The proportion of prisoners discharged with basic skills in literacy below level 252.8 per cent.76.6 per cent.
The proportion of prisoners discharged with basic skills in numeracy below level 261.9 per cent.67.6 per cent.
Accredited offending behaviour programme completions5,0006,041
Accredited sex offender treatment programme completions1,020848
Cost per uncrowded prison place£27,031£27,022
Cost per prisoner£26,118£27,566
Average staff sickness days11.25 days13.6 days
Public correspondence replied within 20 days95 per cent.95 per cent.
Average telephone response time (Headquarters only)12 seconds12 seconds
Percentage abandoned telephone calls (Headquarters only)5 per cent.7.2 per cent.

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10 May 2001 : Column: 325W

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