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Written Answers

Volume 414: debated on Wednesday 29 October 1980

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Written Answers

National Insurance Pension Calculations

asked Her Majesty's Government:Under what headings the amount of the National Health and Social Security pension is calculated; on what basis any increase is arrived at; and, since there is a lack of knowledge of many pensioners, whether they will publish the figures under such headings as food, clothing, heating, rent, etc.

The national insurance retirement pension is a contributory benefit commonly made up of one or more of the following elements: basic pension, earnings-related additional pension, graduated pension, increments for deferred retirement and an increase for a dependent wife under pensionable age.The level of the standard rate of basic pension, which from 24th November this year will be £27·15 for a single person and £43·45 for a married couple, reflects the increases which successive Governments have made to the rates established in 1948, when the present national insurance scheme was introduced. Additional pension and graduated pension are earnings-related benefits and the amount payable to any particular pensioner is determined by that pensioner's earnings over a relevant past period. The amount of increments reflects the extent which a pensioner deferred his retirement beyond pensionable age.Under the present statutory provisions, pensions have to be increased annually at least in line with the expected movement in the general level of prices since the last pension increase. Movements in the general level of prices are measured by the movements in the general index of retail prices which covers a wide range of goods and services, including food, clothing, heating and rent.The non-contributory supplementary pension scale rates will, from November this year, be aligned with the rate of the basic retirement pension. Additions for housing needs and possibly for other special circumstances may be awarded.

Neither the national insurance basic retirement pension nor the supplementary pension scale rates contain specific amounts related to particular expenses.

Sickness Benefit Provision In Uk And Western Europe

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, in view of the criticism in this country of the cost of sick benefit of £30 a week, they will state what the sick pay is in each West European country in terms of British currency.

I have sent the noble Lord a copy of the Green Paper, Income During Initial Sickness: A New Strategy (Cmnd. 7864), Annex B of which contains information on the provision in certain European countries.

Hyperactivity In Children

asked Her Majesty's Government:What is their current best estimate of the number of children born hyperactive in the years 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979, expressed as a percentage of total births for the years concerned.

Medical opinion in this country is that hyperactivity in children is not a clear-cut medical condition, but may be a symptom of a number of underlying causes. In the absence of a commonly accepted definition of "hyperactivity" it is impossible to estimate the number of children who are "hyperactive at birth" The prevalence of "hyperactive syndrome" among 10 and 11 year-olds has been estimated at about one in a thousand. This prevalence is much lower than that found in the United States and my right honourable friend is seeking to encourage research into the reasons for the difference.

Victoria/Heathrow: Proposed Bus Service

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will arrange with the relevant authorities that the proposed bus service from Victoria to Heathrow Airport will start from a point to which railway porters will be able to carry passengers' luggage.

(Lord Bellwin)

Statutory responsibility for deciding the precise route and stopping places for a new London Transport bus service rests with the executive themselves, after consultation with the police and the Westminster City Council.

"Declaration Of Principle And Intent To Be A Fair Employer": Signatories

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will list the Northern Irish local authorities which have and which have not so far, signed the "Declaration of Principle and Intent to be a Fair Employer" drawn up by the Fair Employment Agency; and whether those that have failed to sign have given any reasons for their behaviour.

The information for Northern Ireland District Councils is as follows:


  • Belfast City Council
  • Down District Council
  • Fermanagh District Council
  • Magherafelt District Council
  • Newry & Mourne District Council
  • Newtownabbey Borough Council
  • Omagh District Council


  • Antrim Borough Council
  • Ards Borough Council
  • Armagh District Council
  • Ballymena Borough Council
  • Ballymoney Borough Council
  • Banbridge District Council
  • Carrickfergus Borough Council
  • Castlereagh Borough Council
  • Coleraine Borough Council
  • Cookstown District Council
  • Craigavon Borough Council
  • Dungannon District Council
  • Larne Borough Council
  • Limavady District Council
  • Lisburn Borough Council
  • Londonderry City Council
  • Moyle District Council
  • North Down Borough Council
  • Strabane District Council

The signing of the Declaration is a voluntary action. I understand from the Fair Employment Agency that, where reasons for failure to sign have been given, they usually contain the assertions that the body in question has never discriminated in employment, that signing the Declaration would suggest it had done so in the past, and that the Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Act 1976 is an unnecessary piece of legislation.

Zimbabwe: Cost Of Cease-Fire And Election Supervision

asked Her Majesty's Government:What was the total cost to the United Kingdom of the successful supervision of the cease-fire and election in Zimbabwe following the Lancaster House Conference.

The total estimated cost to the United Kingdom of the supervision of the cease-tire and election in Zimbabwe is £23–5 million. The total includes the cost of the Governor and his staff, but excludes the costs of any Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence career personnel involved during the period or the settlement.

"Preparation Of Legislation": Printing Of Report

asked Her Majesty's Government:How many copies of the Report of the Committee on the Preparation of Legislation (Cmnd. 6053) were printed in each of the years from 1975 to 1979 inclusive; and when copies ceased to be available either for sale to the public or for issue within the public service including Members of both Houses of Parliament.

Five thousand copies of the report were printed in 1975. There have been no subsequent reprints. Copies were available to the public or to meet official requirements until stocks became exhausted in February 1980.

Marine Nature Reserves: Forthcoming Legislation

asked Her Majesty's Government:To confirm that they still intend to include provisions in the forthcoming Wildlife and Countryside Bill that will enable the Nature Conservancy Council to declare statutory marine nature reserves.

I confirm that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment is still considering the provision in the forthcoming Wildlife and Countryside Bill of powers for the Nature Conservancy Council to propose the designation of such reserves.House adjourned at six minutes past nine oclock.