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Single Vehicle Approval Regulations

Lord Shepherd asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Hayman: We are laying regulations today that will amend the procedures for importing cars and light goods vehicles that have not been built (type approved) to British or European standards. The new measures, which modify those already in place, will ensure that safety and environmental standards appropriate for use in Britain are met.

The changes start to take effect from 1 May 1998. The main points are:

    Safety and environmental standards appropriate to British conditions will be determined by an inspection of the vehicle's design and construction prior to first registration in Britain--"Single Vehicle Approval" (SVA).

    The current definition of "personal import" will remain for the time being--i.e., where:

    (a) the vehicle has been purchased outside the United Kingdom for the personal use of the individual importing it or his dependants;

    (b) the vehicle has been so used by that individual or his dependants on roads outside the UK before it is imported;

    (c) the vehicle is intended solely for such personal use in the UK, and

    (d) the individual importing the vehicle intends to remain in the UK for not less than 12 months from the time when application is made for a first licence for the vehicle under the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994.

    Vehicles up to three years old that are personally imported by individuals will have to pass the SVA test before they can be registered. There will be a two month transitional period during which individuals who have made arrangements to import vehicles under the existing personal import conditions may continue to do so.

    Manufacturers and independent dealers will be able to import and sell cars and light goods vehicles from outside Europe up to a cumulative maximum total of 50 examples of any one model in any one year. In such cases, vehicles up to 10 years old will be subject to SVA.

    We will consult on options for future arrangements for vehicle imports under the SVA scheme, in particular the question of numbers. This will be undertaken by 1 January 1999.

    From 1 May 1998, SVA will recognise overseas approvals if they are broadly equivalent to SVA requirements.

    Any motor caravan or ambulance may be imported by anyone and will not have to undergo SVA, although such vehicles (and any other light passenger car or light goods vehicle) may be volunteered for inspection. Similarly, the scheme will, from 1 May, be available to manufacturers of vehicles constructed using parts from a previously registered vehicle.

    Vehicles kept by members of Visiting Forces will be exempt from SVA; they will undergo comparable inspections by the Visiting Force.

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    Cars that have been type-approved in Europe are not affected by these measures, nor is any vehicle that has been licensed and registered before 1 July 1998.

SVA will apply to amateur-built vehicles registered on or after 1 July 1998.

Marriage Support

Lord Ashbourne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether arrangements for marriage preparation, referred to in the White Paper Looking to the Future (Cm 2799, April 1995) have been reviewed; and if not, when they are going to be reviewed.[HL1266]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The Government are committed to finding the most effective ways of supporting marriage. In particular, we recognise the need to ensure that couples are properly prepared to take on the responsibilities of marriage. A one-year programme of marriage support pilot projects, funded by my department, has recently been completed. Three of the 13 projects included marriage preparation.

As I announced on 20 March, I intend to set up an independent review of my department's funding of marriage support and research services. The review will draw on the results of the pilot programme, and will report before the end of 1998.

Community Legal Service

The Lord Bishop of Lincoln asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether their commitment to develop a Community Legal Service includes the provision of greater resources to the area of social welfare law; and, if so, what the scale of those increases will be.[HL1297]

The Lord Chancellor: In 1996-97, the Government spent £60 million on advice and assistance in the areas normally referred to as "social welfare law"--housing, debt, welfare benefits, immigration and employment. This represented 72 per cent. of total non-Family civil expenditure under the Legal Aid Green Form Scheme. Despite this expenditure, and the efforts of many volunteers and lawyers working pro bono, we recognise that need in this area is not adequately met. This recognition underlies our commitment to develop a Community Legal Service. The details of our proposals to fulfil this commitment, including refocusing legal aid expenditure where appropriate, will be the subject of public consultation at the beginning of next year.

Social Security Fraud

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hollis of Heigham on 18 March (WA 207), whether the figure of £4 billion for social security fraud quoted in

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    The Times and the Daily Telegraph of 23 March comes from government sources; and, if so, which sources.[HL1171]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): This figure was quoted in The Case for Welfare Reform, published in January this year.

National Insurance Numbers

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is their policy that a national insurance number should be issued to any applicant who is actively seeking work, whether employed or not; and, if so, how they propose to ensure that this policy is complied with.[HL1335]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: Our policy is to accept applications for a national insurance number from people who are either actively seeking work or who have found employment. Staff in local offices who deal with such applications receive appropriate training and have ready access to written guidance.

Social Security Administration (Fraud) Act 1997: Section 19 Enforcement

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ensure that the requirements to produce documents under Section 19 of the Social Security Administration (Fraud) Act 1997 are not enforced against women who have left home to avoid domestic violence.[HL1337]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: Section 19 of the Social Security Administration (Fraud) Act 1997 applies to all claimants who apply for a range of specified benefits.

In deciding what information or evidence a claimant needs to produce, due regard is always given to the circumstances of the person in question. It is rare for a person who already has a national insurance number (NINO) to be unable to supply sufficient information to enable their NINO account to be traced and confirmed.

Even if a NINO is not held, it is not necessarily the case that supporting documentary evidence would be required. In particular, if a person had left their home through domestic distress it would not be appropriate to ask for corroborative evidence to which they had no access. Additional information would be sought, which could then be corroborated with records held by the department or other agencies.

Furthermore, Section 19 of the Act does not prevent consideration of a payment on account of entitlement in cases of hardship.

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Crown Review of Prescribing, Supply and Administration of Medicines

Baroness Cumberlege asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Jay of Paddington on 25 March (WA 245-246), why they are withholding publication of Part 1 of the Crown Review of Prescribing, Supply and Administration of Medicines since it is complete and has been delivered to the department.[HL1361]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): We plan to publish the first report shortly.


Earl Baldwin of Bewdley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What have been their financial contributions to the British Fluoridation Society over the last 10 years.[HL1365]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: Total core and project funding was as follows:


Earl Baldwin of Bewdley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the sources, industrial or otherwise, of fluorides used in current water fluoridation schemes in the United Kingdom.[HL1364]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: This is commercially confidential information which is not routinely collected by government.

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