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Incapacity Benefit

Lord Rix asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): £230 is just below the average amount of pension income for all those incapacity benefit recipients with a pension of £150 a week or more. Below is a slightly revised version of the table provided on 9 June (WA 169), together with a further table setting out the averages. The tables show that there are 90,000 people, nearly 100,000, with a pension of £150 a week or more and £232 on average. The other income of people in this group, including incapacity benefit, averages £148, so their total average income is in fact £380 a week, not counting any income their partners may have.

Levels of Occupational & Personal Pensions for Incapacity Benefit Recipients 1996-97

Occupational & Personal Pension Income
(£ per week)Number of Recipients
less than £25120,000
£25 to £49.99110,000
£50 to £74.99110,000
£75 to £99.9990,000
£100 to £124.9940,000
£125 to £149.9940,000
£150 to £199.9950,000
£200 or more40,000
All IB recipients1,170,00

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Average Occupational & Personal Pension Incomes for Incapacity Benefit Recipients with Non-State Pension Incomes 1996-97

Recipients with Occupational and Personal pensions greater than Number of recipientsAverage gross Occupational and Personal pension income (£ per week)


1. All estimates are based on data from the 1996-97 Family Resources Survey and are in gross 1996-97 prices.

2. Estimates are based on sample counts that have been adjusted for non-response. Estimates are subject to sampling error and to variability in non-response.

Sentencing Advisory Panel

Baroness Serota asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What arrangements they have made to implement Sections 80 and 81 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.[HL3386]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Section 80 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 places a duty on the Court of Appeal to consider producing or revising sentencing guidelines when a suitable case arises.

Section 81 of the Act establishes a new Sentencing Advisory Panel which must be consulted by the court whenever it decides that guidelines are necessary. The panel may also propose that the court frame or revise guidelines and my right honorable friend the Home Secretary may direct it to do so.

Both sections come into force on 1 July 1999.

The Lord Chancellor will appoint the following members to the panel:

    Professor Martin Wasik (Chairman)

    Professor Andrew Ashworth

    Pamela Brown

    Dr. Michael Chan

    Anne Fuller

    Heather Harker

    Professor Frances Heidensohn

    Peter Jones

    David Mallen

    Judge Michael Mettyear

    Sir Richard Tilt

Human Rights Act: Compatibility of Legislation

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Williams of Mostyn on 19 May (WA 35), whether they will, as a matter of normal practice, disclose their reasons for withholding statements of compatibility under

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    Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 or for making statements of compatibility, in the course of the parliamentary proceedings on Bills.[HL3173]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government believe that a Minister in charge of a Bill should be ready to address Convention-related issues during proceedings, but the Minister must retain the discretion to decide how to do so in the context of the debate.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they have refused to disclose their reasons, during the parliamentary proceedings on the Immigration and Asylum Bill (H.C. Deb., 20 April, cols. 770 and 954) and the Welfare Reform and Pensions Bill (H.L. Deb., 10 June, cols. 1648-9) for their statements under Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 that the Bill's provisions are compatible with Convention rights.[HL3174]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The provisions referred to are being examined in detail during the parliamentary scrutiny of these Bills. It is, of course, open to any Member to take up with the Minister in charge of the Bill a reply which the Member believes has not dealt adequately with his or her concern.

Public Authority Decisions: Publication of Reasons

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Williams of Mostyn of 18 June (WA 57), what are their reasons for abandoning the proposal contained in their White Paper, Your Right to Know, Cm 3818, December 1997, paragraph 2.18, that the Freedom of Information Bill would contain a general requirement for public authorities to publish reasons for administrative decisions to those affected by them.[HL3213]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We decided not to provide a statutory requirement for public authorities to publish reasons for administrative decisions to those affected by them because we consider that this is more appropriately addressed by the developing administrative law jurisprudence, which fully takes account of the requirement of fairness between the decision maker and the person affected.

Of course, reasons for administrative decisions will usually be information to which an applicant will have a right of access under the draft Bill, subject to the terms of the Bill.

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Turkey: Country Assessment

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Home Office will revise the Turkey country assessment Version 3, issued in March, in the light of criticisms provided by the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture.[HL3236]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: No specific comments have been received from the Medical Foundation on Version 3 of the country assessment on Turkey (March 1999). Consideration was given to comments and recommendations received from the Medical Foundation and others on an earlier version of the assessment and many of these have been incorporated into the current version. The country assessments are revised and updated at six-monthly intervals. The next version should be available in October this year.

Scotland, Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill

Lord Mackay of Drumadoon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they can confirm that, as stated on 9 June by the First Minister of the Scottish Executive, the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill will be reintroduced in the House of Commons in the next Session of Parliament and that the Bill, once enacted, would apply to Scotland although the subject matter of the Bill is a devolved matter; and, if so, why they will not allow the Scottish Parliament to enact its own legislation in this area.[HL3169]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: As the Scottish First Minister indicated in his statement to the Scottish Parliament of 9 June, we are considering the reintroduction of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill and the use of the Parliament Acts if necessary to secure its passage. The First Minister made it clear that, while he and his colleagues in the Scottish Executive regard this as unfinished Westminster business, the Scottish Parliament will have the opportunity to debate the Scottish provisions of the Bill. He also made it clear that the Scottish Parliament has the power, if it so wishes, to amend or repeal any Scottish provision enacted by the passage of the Bill.

Police Budgets and Numbers

Baroness Thornton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish figures for each police authority in England and Wales setting out (a) the percentage changes in their budget and (b) the numbers of police officers in the force between 1 April 1998 and 31 March 1999.[HL3387]

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: The information requested is set out in the table. The information on changes in police numbers is based on provisional strength figures at March 1999 provided by forces.

Police Numbers--Comparison between percentage change in numbers and changes in budgets for 1998-99

Force% Change in Police Numbers% Change in Budget
5-5.9% reduction in strengthMarch 1998- March 991997-98 to 1998-99
City of London-5.7% (-46.8)-7.3%
Cleveland-5.2% (-76.8)+5.1%
4-4.9% reduction in strength
Lincolnshire-4.3% (-51.5)+1.1%
Nottinghamshire-4.2% (-98)+3.8%
3-3.9% reduction in strength
Bedfordshire-3.4% (-37.2)+3.8%
Cumbria-3.2% (-37.5)+3.7%
Norfolk-3.4% (-48.2)+3.8%
Sussex-3.7% (-107.9)+3.8%
West Yorkshire-3.4% (-172.7)+3.8%
2-2.9% reduction in strength
Devon & Cornwall-2.5% (-74.5)+4.5%
Dorset-2.7% (-35.9)+3.7%
Greater Manchester-2.0% (-138.8)+3.8%
Humberside-2.3% (-46.8)+3.8%
Northamptonshire-2.7% (-31.2)+3.7%
North Yorkshire-2.2% (-30.7)+4.0%
Staffordshire-2.4% (54.5)+3.7%
0-1.9% reduction in strength
Cambridgeshire-1.3% (-17)+3.8%
Derbyshire-0.8% (-13.6)+3.8%
Essex-1.3% (-38)+3.7%
Hampshire-0.5% (-16.1)+3.8%
Hertfordshire-0.9% (16.2)+3.8%
Kent-1.5% (-50)+4.4%
Lancashire-0.4% (-12.3)+3.8%
Metropolitan Police-0.08% (-20.7)+3.7%
South Yorkshire-0.4% (-14)+3.8%
Thames Valley-0.7% (-27.4)+3.8%
Warwickshire-1.7% (-15.4)+3.7%
West Mercia-0.5% (-10.5)+3.8%
Wiltshire-0.5% (-5.3)+3.7%
Forces with increases in police numbers
Gloucestershire+0.02% (0.2)+3.8%
Avon & Somerset+0.8% (23.4)+3.8%
Cheshire+1.4% (28.7)+3.8%
Durham+3.5% (53.1)+4.9%
Dyfed-Powys+2.4% (24)+3.8%
Gwent+1.2% (14.3)+3.8%
Leicestershire+0.5% (10.1)+3.8%
Merseyside+2.3% (95.1)+3.8%
Northumbria+1.9% (71.5)+4.7%
North Wales+0.4% (5)+3.8%
South Wales+0.13% (3.8)+3.8%
Suffolk+0.4% (4.4)+3.8%
Surrey+3.3% (53.5)-1.0%
West Midlands+2.3% (165.3)+3.8%
Overall total-0.6%(-793.3) +3.7%

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