HC Deb 12 December 1991 vol 200 cc522-3W
Mr. Maginnis

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many awards of compensation have been made in cases where terrorists have been(a) shot dead and (b) shot and injured by the security services since 15 November 1985; and if he will publish full details.

Dr. Mawhinney

[holding answer 5 December 1991]: The available information is set out in the table below. It should be noted that this information, which is based on the date of settlement and not of the incident concerned, does not differentiate between "terrorist" and "non-terrorist" incidents; and includes awards arising from the use of plastic baton rounds.

Mr. Newton

As I have previously informed the Social Security Select Committee, since the publication in July 1990 of the last set of biennial tables covering households below average income, a thoroughgoing "stocktaking review" of the methodology and presentation has been carried out by the Department's officials, including statisticians, together with a statistician from the Central Statistical Office. The group conducting the review has also undertaken consultation with a number of independent experts, including the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Their report is published today, and copies have been placed in the Library. It makes 45 recommendations aimed at improving both the content of HBAI and the clarity of its presentation. I have accepted these in full, and have also agreed to adjust the coverage of HBAI so that it relates to the whole United Kingdom, instead of Great Britain as at present, and to adopt 1979 as the base year for time series. Although these changes will involve considerable extra work, we nevertheless intend to publish the next biennial figures, for 1989, within two years of the last.

I have also given further careful consideration to the Select Committee's request that such figures should be published annually, instead of biennially. I agree that this is now sensible, and arrangements are therefore being made for annual publications from the 1989 figures onwards.

Similarly, I propose to meet the Select Committee's request that take-up estimates for the income-related benefits, which hitherto have also been published biennially, should be published annually. DSS statisticians are currently considering what improvements can be made in the methodology for making these estimates, and will aim to produce those for 1989 at about the same time as the next HBAI, in mid-1992.

These improvements will be pursued in close collaboration with the IFS, which has agreed to assist the Department's statisticians in calculating and checking HBAI results before publication, and in making the database more readily available to external researchers once publication has taken place.

At the same time as making these changes, we are examining ways of improving the basic data from which HBAI is drawn. We are therefore piloting a new "family resources survey" with a view to evaluating the contribution that this could make to enhancing the information on which studies such as HBAI are based.