1.to Treasury and Resources Minister
When the minister points out that public spending has risen by 30% over the past 5 years as evidence for the need to make drastic cuts in public services will he confirm that during this period:
a)half of that increase has come in the last 2 years, under his stewardship of the public purse;
b)when the control of inflation was his, and his predecessor’s, number 1 target, RPI(X) a measure of non-staff inflation totalled 17.7%;
c)wage increases, according to the AEI, totalled 22%, and
d)these figures do not include the decision to spend £103m on the EFW plant in 2008
Will the minister also give members details of the additional 190 public sector posts employed during this period, so that members can assess how many were front-line employees directly concerned with service delivery?
Will the minister also give members details of the 10 positions, along with the salaries, that he wishes to create to better monitor spending in his department?
2.to Treasury and Resources Minister
Will the minister condemn the approach taken by the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel in requesting the CAG to produce figures for prospective GST rates required to eliminate budget deficits on the unlikely assumptions that:
a)no action was to be taken to curb public spending to below 6% annual increases, and
b)no attempt was to be made to raise further income from other taxes?
Does the minister accept that to project a 12% GST rate by 2014 is unnecessary scaremongering, and will he confirm that he has no intention of following any such misguided strategy.
Will he further confirm that he has no intention of raising the GST rate in the short term?
3.to Social Security Minister
Does the minister accept that the 3 levels of impairment component in Income Support are there to compensate those with an illness or disability for the increased costs of their condition and that successful applicants for these components should not have their benefits reduced through consequent reductions in other components?
What actions, if any, and in what timescale, will he take to correct this anomaly in the system which does not act in the best interests of those with a disability and, if none, why not ?
4. to Social Security Minister
In response to question 5133 about the Education Allowance (approximately around £30 per week available to less well off families of 16-19 year olds to encourage them to stay in education) the ESC minister had the following to say:
“It is my understanding that the form and extent of support available is unchanged, despite the fact that it is now available via Social Security rather than Education.”
Will the Minister inform members whether this allowance is still directed to 16-19 year olds in education and, if not, how and to whom is it now directed?
What structural differences currently exist in IS for 16-19 year olds in work and in education?
What action, if any, and in what timescale, will the minister take to create incentives to 16-19 year olds to stay in education, and if none, why not?
5. To Health and Social Services Minister
Will the minister inform members what budget provision, if any, she has made, or has under consideration, to fund payments for unpaid overtime or other additional hours to cover for understaffed services for:
5.other medical staff?
Will she further inform members of the extent to which any such payments are required for each of these groups by giving:
6.the number of staff affected
7.the total of additional days (or shifts) worked
the total sums required?