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Sir John Wheeler : The question of whether this and other organisations should be proscribed is kept under review. The fact that a particular organisation is not proscribed confers no immunity from prosecution in respect of criminal acts which it or its members may commit.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the outcome of Victim Support Northern Ireland's request for additional funds to develop its services to victims of crime in Northern Ireland.
Sir John Wheeler : The Government acknowledge and commend the important work carried out by the staff and volunteers of Victim Support Northern Ireland to provide advice and support for the victims of crime. The organisation has been directly funded by the Northern Ireland Office since 1988.
Victim Support Northern Ireland recently submitted a request for additional funding to enable it to create an executive management structure and develop its services to people of Northern Ireland. The Government recognise the importance of these developments and have allocated an additional £60,000 to the organisation. This represents a 30 per cent. increase on current annual funding--which will
Column 707bring total funding to £267,000 in 1994 -95, and underlines the Government's commitment to the provision of effective support for victims recovering from the distress caused by crime.
|Number ------------------------------ Statutory instruments made 1991 |84(2<1>) 1992 |87(10<1>) 1993 |77(2<1>) Government Bills which became 1991 |4 1992 |1 1993 |2 <1> Orders in Council which are included in the total.
In addition, the annual reception for disabled people and representatives of disability organisations was held on 10 March at an estimated cost of £6,000.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what percentage of (a) council tenants, (b) housing association tenants, (c) private tenants and (d) owner occupiers were in receipt of housing benefit in the Doncaster area for the latest date for which he has figures available ; and what were the figures (i) 12 months and (ii) 24 months ago.
Percentage of Tenants in Receipt of Housing Benefit in Doncaster |1991 |1992 |1993 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Local Authority |65 |64 |62 Housing Association<2> |not collected|40 |47 Private<3> |58 |not available|not available Data Sources: The housing benefit management information system quarterly caseload counts of the number of claims where housing benefit is in payment, and, 1991 census figures and the housing investment programme returns made to the Department of the Environment for 1992 and 1993 of the numbers of tenancies, by tenure type. Notes: <1> Because the information has had to be drawn from various sources, consistent data for the three years cannot be provided. The figures are, therefore, the best estimate based on the available information. <2> The number of housing association tenants in receipt of housing benefit was not collected before May1992. <3> The information on private tenancies is not available for 1992 and 1993 because the data source of tenancy types cannot isolate owner-occupiers from non-housing association private tenancies. It also cannot identify unoccupied dwellings. <4> Owner-occupiers in England and Wales have not been eligible for housing benefit (rate rebates) since April 1990 when community charge benefit was introduced.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement as to why the Child Support Agency's headquarters in Belfast refused to believe that the husband of Christine Joyce, the late Derek Joyce, had died four years ago, for the purposes of continuing to pay widow's benefit.
Mr. Burt : Owing to a clerical error, a maintenance application form was sent to Mrs. Joyce on 19 April 1993. An apology was sent to Mrs. Joyce on 4 May 1993 and the case was closed. The agency has had no further contact with Mrs. Joyce.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many cases referred to the Child Support Agency by hon. Members in 1993 have not yet resulted in a conclusive response being provided ; and what action he is taking to ensure that such delays are avoided.
Mr. Burt : The chief executive of the Child Support Agency received more than 2,200 letters from hon. Members in 1993, of which 255 remain to be answered. Targets for answering letters are not currently being met, but necessary steps are being taken to ensure that letters from hon. Members are answered as promptly as possible.
Mr. Hague : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Erewash (Mrs. Knight) on 8 March at cols. 139-40. The proposals outlined in the reply include maternity pay in Wales.
Mr. Blair : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) whether the Benefits Agency requests the Prison Service to inform it if a person is received into custody in England and Wales ; (2) how much benefit he estimates was claimed fraudulently by prisoners in England and Wales last year ;
(3) how much he estimates to be the total amount of benefit fraudulently claimed by prisoners in England and Wales between 1987 and 1992 ;
(4) how many fraudulent claims from prisoners in England and Wales have been reported by staff or the inmates themselves to the relevant authorities since 1987 ;
Column 709(5) what action has been taken since 1988 to close loopholes which may contribute to fraudulent claims for benefit from prisoners in England and Wales.
Mr. Burt : As with all referrals of benefit fraud, individual reports of benefit claims continuing after people have entered prison are always followed up, investigated where necessary and benefit terminated where appropriate. We do not, however, keep statistics to enable us to separate this type of fraud referral from other categories and are not, therefore, in a position to quantify historical losses.
In response to the continuing problem of benefit fraud amongst prisoners new controls were introduced on 4 March. The Prison Service now provides the Benefits Agency and the Employment Service with a weekly list of all newly convicted prisoners in England and Wales. This will ensure that all benefit recipients have their cases reviewed on entry to prison.
Furthermore, an exercise is being carried out by the three agencies to identify all benefits payments being made in the name of people who are currently in prison. Investigations will follow, benefit will be terminated where appropriate and recoveries sought in all overpayment cases. Prosecutions will also be considered in each case.
Mr. Blair : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether the national insurance contributions unit informs the Benefit Agency following the receipt of form F1113 after a claimant is received into custody.
Mr. Burt : If a prisoner indicates on form F1113 that he was receiving a social security benefit immediately prior to his arrest the Contributions Agency informs the appropriate district office of the Benefits Agency or the Employment Services Agency, or both. However, new procedures now incorporate a full exchange of information between the Prison Service and the Benefits Agency so that all benefit claims will be reviewed on a person's entry to prison in England and Wales.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are (a) the staff numbers at each location of the Information Technology Services Agency and (b) the numbers of such staff at each location who are banned from transfer to other posts elsewhere within the Government service ; what is the operative date of the ban ; and on what date staff were made known of the ban.
Mr. Hague : The Information Technology Services Agency--ITSA-- employs 4,500 permanent staff at locations in the north east, north west, Reading and London. ITSA's plans to transfer its day to day operations to the private sector, announced on 31 January, may affect up to 2,000 jobs mainly based in the north east and north west. Staff will be expected to transfer with the work under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981. None of ITSA's staff has been banned from applying for posts elsewhere within the Government service.
Column 710each quango in each of the last three years ; what is the current staffing establishment of each quango ; and what it was five years ago.
Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many self-financing regulatory authorities his Department has set up since 1988 ; what was the annual running cost of each of the self-financing regulatory authorities in each of the last three years ; what is the current staffing establishment now ; and what is was last year and two years ago.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the budget for his Department's district social fund in respect of the Doncaster area for the current year as set at 1 April 1993 ; whether the budget was subsequently increased ; how much remains in the budget ; how many applicants have been refused a grant, giving the reason for refusal ; how many applicants have been refused a loan, giving the reasons for refusal ; how many applicants refused made an appeal ; and how many of these appeals were successful.
Letter from Mr. M. Bichard to Mr. Martin Redmond, dated 15 March 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Social Fund (SF) in the Benefits Agency's (BA) Doncaster District.
Details of the initial budget allocations for the Doncaster District for the 1993-94 financial year are in the Library. There has not been any subsequent additional budget allocation this year. The balance outstanding as at 28 February 1994, the latest date for which figures are available, was £100,544 for grants and £130,270 for loans.
You asked for the number of applicants refused a grant or loan in the District. Information on the SF is not kept by SF applicant but by SF application. At 28 February 1994 the numbers of grant and loan applications refused were 4,873 and 4,407 respectively. The reasons for refusal are given at Annex A.
The new Social Fund Computer System, introduced to Doncaster in September 1993, provides a more detailed record of the reason each individual item within an application is refused. This was not previously the case. Consequently, statistics from the two systems are not always compatible.
There is no right of appeal against discretionary SF decisions. Applicants dissatisfied with a decision may seek a review of the decision and this is initially conducted within the District. If still dissatisfied, the applicant can ask for a review by the Independent Review Service (IRS) which is independent of the Department and the Agency. For the period 1 April 1993 to 28 February 1994, 1,503 review applications were received by Doncaster District. These figures include those that requested a review by the IRS. Overall, 370 resulted in a changed decision.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Annex A Details of grant and loan refusals for the Doncaster District- 1 April 1993 to 28 February 1994<1> by reason. Reason for refusal |Grants |Loans ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Not in receipt of income support(IS) |412 |520 In receipt of IS for less than 26 weeks |- |1,959 Direction 4 not satisfied |8,694 |- Applicant exluded by Direction |1 |3 No serious risk to health or safety |- |720 Requested amount below minimum allowable |12 |100 Repeat application |156 |474 Item excluded by Direction |94 |158 Alternative item available |8 |43 Help available from another source |25 |80 Grant awarded on loan request |- |567 Savings over £500 meet cost |7 |3 Savings over £1,000 meet cost (customer or partner over 60) |3 |2 Enough money available to meet crisis |- |1 Total debt exceeds £1,000 |- |10 Inability to repay |- |191 Insufficient priority |13 |602 Other reasons |54 |137 <1> Latest available data
(2) what extra provision has been made to meet the extra demand on the social fund as a result of Bosnian refugees taking up residence in Coventry.
Letter from Mr. M. Bichard to Mr. Robert Ainsworth, dated 15 March 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions about the Social Fund (SF) in Coventry.
Firstly, you asked what restrictions are currently being imposed on payments from the SF in Coventry. It might be helpful if I explain that it is the duty of the Area Social Fund Officer (ASFO) to manage the District SF allocation so that the highest priority needs are consistently met throughout the year. To do this the ASFO issues guidance to Social Fund Officers (SFO) on the high, medium and low priority needs within the District. It must be pointed out that whilst SFOs must take this guidance into account it is not binding on them. As such, a SFO may raise the priority of an application in order to make a payment.
I can inform you the ASFO at Coventry has decided that high and medium priority application can be consistently met from the District allocation. Other than the exclusions mentioned in the Secretary of State directions no restrictions are imposed on any Benefit Agency District with regard to making payments from the SF.
Finally, in answer to your second question, the District has been able to meet the SF expenditure as a result of applications from Bosnian refugees taking up residence in the Coventry area from their existing allocation.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps he is taking to clarify whether the item in social security form BR2215, referring to the need to inform the Benefits Agency if a recipient goes into hospital, applies to out-patient visits.
Mr. Hague : The administration of retirement pension and widows benefit, for which this form is used, is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Mr. M. Bichard to Mr. Martin Redmond, dated 15 March 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking about clarification of the wording in form BR2215.
Form BR2215 is used where a customer has their Retirement Pension or Widows Benefit paid direct into an account every four or thirteen weeks. The form comprises of a set of notes which advise the customer which changes in their circumstances should be reported ; the form is issued every year at the time of the uprating. The note which refers to "going into hospital" does not apply to customers who are visiting a hospital as an out-patient. The wording of the note on the BR2215 is identical to the corresponding note that appears in order books. We have no evidence to suggest that the present wording is misleading our customers into notifying us of out- patient visits. Therefore, at this stage, there are no plans to alter the wording of the note.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Letter from Mr. M. Bichard to Mr. Malcolm Bruce, dated 14 March 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many cold weather payments have been made in each region of Scotland since October 1993.
Statistics relating to cold weather payments are not collated on a regional basis, however they are kept for each Benefit Agency District.
The attached appendix shows the number of cold weather payments made to people in the areas covered by each Benefits Agency District in Scotland from 1 November 1993, the date when the current cold weather payment season began, to 31 January 1994, the latest date for which figures are available.
I hope you find my reply helpful.
Cold weather payments in Scotland 1 November 1993 to 31 January 1994 Benefits agency |Number of district |payments ----------------------------------------------------------- Clyde Coast and Cowal |16,686 Clyde Valley |32,297 Coatbridge |24,157 East Lowlands |35,495 Fife |31,984 Forth Valley |28,354 Glasgow City |21,081 Glasgow East |37,892 Glasgow Laurieston |36,842 Glasgow South West |20,730 Glasgow West |22,794 Grampian and Shetland |43,815 Highlands and Islands |20,671 Irvine and Kilmarnock |25,848 Lomond and Argyll |8,538 Lothian Central |20,787 Lothian West |26,700 Renfrew |23,381 South West Scotland |26,107 Springburn and Cumbernauld |26,471 Tayside |48,538
Mr. Michael Forsyth : All actions, decisions or legal instruments by Government Departments are in principle subject to judicial review. The EC Commission may bring infraction proceedings under article 169 of the EC treaty where it believes the legislation of a member state is inconsistent with EC law. A member state may also bring proceedings in the European Court of Justice to challenge the legal basis on which EC directives or other instruments have been adopted.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is responsible for two areas of employment law which are currently subject to judicial review or infraction proceedings :
(i) The Unfair Dismissal (Variation of Qualifying Period) Order 1985, which introduced the two-year qualifying period for unfair dismissal, is being challenged as constituting indirect sex discrimination in the case of R. v. Secretary of State for Employment ex parte Smith and Perez ;
(ii) proceedings against the United Kingdom under article 169 of the EC treaty, in respect of the acquired rights and collective redundancies directive, are currently before the European Court of Justice, where the outstanding issue is whether the United Kingdom must specifically provide for employee representatives for the purpose of consultation.
The United Kingdom has initiated proceedings in the European Court of Justice to challenge the health and safety legal basis of the recently adopted directive on working time.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest annual accident figures for (a) the Doncaster area and (b) South Yorkshire, as a whole ; and what are the corresponding figures for (i) five years and (ii) 10 years ago.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The available information is provided in the following table. Due to changes in the reporting of major injury legislation, figures for 1983 are not directly comparable with those for later years.
Column 714Occupational injuries in Doncaster and South Yorkshire as reported to the Health and Safety Executive's factory and agricultural inspectorates and local authorities .
|Fatal |Major<2> |Over 3 days<3> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Doncaster 1988-89 |- |216 |955 1992-93<5><4> |2 |206 |824 South Yorkshire 1988-89 |8 |940 |4,785 1992-93<5><4> |9 |831 |3,923 <1> Injuries at work to employees and self-employed people, and members of the public injured as a result of someone else's work activity. Figures based on reports made under the Notification of Accidents and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations for the calendar year 1983 and under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations1985. <2> Chiefly amputations, serious fractures and other injuries requiring hospitalisation for more than 24 hours. The definition was extended by the introduction of RIDDOR in April 1986 and therefore later figures should not be directly comparable with those for 1983. <3> Injuries causing incapacity for normal work for more than three days. <4> Includes injuries reported to HSE's quarries inspectorate. <5> Provisional.
Employees in employment: Great Britain ( Seasonally adjusted) Thousands |Male |Female |Full-time|Part-time ------------------------------------------------ June 1979 |<1>12,390|3,837 September 1993<2> |9,405 |4,794 Change |-2,985 |+957 <1> June 1978. Male full-time estimates are not available for 1979. <2> Latest available.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of people were shown as out of work or seeking it in the labour force survey, in each quarter since 1979 ; what was the percentage of official unemployment as measured at the time and the percentage on the unemployment count as now calculated ; and if he will make a statement explaining trends in the differences between the figures.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The official measure of unemployment from the labour force survey is shown for the period requested in the table. These figures have remained the same as when first published. For comparative purposes, the claimant unemployment figures on the consistent seasonally adjusted and unadjusted bases are also given. Since the introduction of the internationally comparable International Labour Organisation measure of unemployment in 1984 both official measures of unemployment have shown broadly similar trends.
Comparative Great Britain unemployment rates 1979-1993 (seasonally adjusted) Period<1> |ILO |Claimant |Unadjusted |unemployment |unemployment |unemployment |rate |rate |rate |(per cent.)<2>|(per cent.)<3>|(per cent.)<4> --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Spring 1979 |<2>5.6 |4.0 |<5>5.4 Spring 1981 |<2>9.5 |7.6 |<5>10.4 Spring 1983 |<2>11.0 |10.3 |12.9 Spring 1984 |<2>11.1 |10.4 |11.3 Spring 1984 |11.7 |10.4 |11.3 Spring 1985 |11.1 |10.8 |11.6 Spring 1986 |11.1 |11.0 |11.7 Spring 1987 |10.6 |10.3 |10.8 Spring 1988 |8.6 |8.3 |8.7 Spring 1989 |7.1 |6.3 |6.4 Spring 1990 |6.6 |5.4 |5.5 Spring 1991 |8.2 |7.4 |7.6 Spring 1992 |9.5 |9.5 |9.6 Summer 1992 |9.9 |9.7 |9.7 Autumn 1992 |10.2 |10.1 |10.0 Winter 1992-93 |10.6 |10.5 |10.7 Spring 1993 |10.3 |10.3 |10.5 Summer 1993 |10.3 |10.3 |10.3 <1> From 1979 to 1983 the labour force survey was carried out biennially, and between 1984 and 1992,annually. Since spring 1992 the LFS has been conducted quarterly. <2> The labour force definition of unemployment applied for the years 1979-1984. Thereafter, the internationally agreed ILO definition of unemployment has been used. This definition counts as unemployed those people without paid jobs who were available to start work within the next two weeks and had either looked for work in the four weeks prior to interview or were waiting to start a job they had already obtained. The LF definition of unemployment used prior to 1984 is essentially the same as the ILO version, except for the fact that it is based on looking for work in the single week prior to interview rather than four weeks as with the ILO definition. The ILO unemployment rate is the percentage of economically active people who are unemployed on the ILO measure. <3> Seasonally adjusted unemployment consistent with current coverage. This series is based on thecount of those claiming unemployment related-benefits at Employment Service local offices, formerly unemployment benefit offices-"the claimant count"-who on the day of the count were out of work, available for work, and actively seeking employment. The denominator used to calculate the rate consists of the unemployed, employees in employment, the self-employed, those on work related Government training schemes and Her Majesty's forces. The claimant count figures are the weighted averages of the published figures for the months of each LFS quarter. <4> (a) "Claimant" or "Registrant" count figures that have not been adjusted for seasonal influences or for changes in the coverage of the monthly count. (b) From 1981 onwards the figures are from the claimant count. The 1983 rate uses the same denominator as the registrant count. Thereafter the denominator as described in (3) above. <5> The 1979 and 1981 figures are from the"registrant count", a count of those registered as out of work. This count was abandoned in October 1982 when registration at a jobcentre became voluntary and threatened the integrity of the count. The denominator used to calculate the rate consisted of the unemployed and employees in employment.
Mr. Forsyth : The members currently appointed to the Race Relations Employment Advisory Group are : Mr. S. Azam, Ms K. Carberry, Mr. R. Cochrane, Mr. E. Cotter, Mr. R. Gilbert, Dr. A. Hirmis, Ms M. Lai, Ms G. Mills, Mr. H. Ouseley, Mrs. K. Siviter, Ms S. Sootarsing, Mr. G. Taylor, Ms J. Tomlin, Mr. S. Ward and Mrs. C. Wells.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given. Employment Service regional directors and directors for Scotland and Wales appoint members of these committees on behalf of the Secretary of State. However, Ministers appoint their chairmen, and I am attaching a list of the current chairmen. All current appointments to CEPDs expire on 31 March 1994. The committees will be reconstituted for a term of three years, and all appointments considered afresh, from 1 April 1994.
Committees for the employment of people with disabilities Current chairmen (to 31 March 1994) |Name ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- London and South East Essex |Mr. Maurice Austin Hampshire |Mrs. Jennifer Anderson Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and North Buckinghamshire |Mr. Peter Banton Isle of Wight |Mr. David Guy, MBE Kent |Mr. Robin Carver, MBE London North |Mr. Geoffrey Busby, OBE London south |(vacant) Oxfordshire, Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire |Ms Anne Dreydel, OBE Surrey |Mrs. Heather Sheppard Sussex |Mr. Martin Long North West Cumbria |Mr. Brian Porter, MBE Cheshire |Dr. David Robertson Lancashire |(vacant) Greater Manchester |(vacant) Merseyside |Mrs. Linda Morris Scotland Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Argyll |Mrs. Helen Ostrycharz Central Scotland |Mr. Ian Sneddon Dumfries and Galloway |Mr. John Henderson Glasgow, Renfrew and Dunbarton |Mr. Alan Malcolm Grampian |Mr. Keith White Highlands and Western Isles |Mr. Donald Mackay Lanarkshire |Mr. Arthur Bell Lothian and Borders |Mr. John Denholm Orkney and Shetlands |Mr. Peter Malcolmson,OBE Tayside and Fife |Councillor Charles Farquhar Wales Clwyd and Powys |Mr. John Ashton Edwards,OBE Gwent |Miss Nina Shields Gwynedd |Mr. Hugh Williams Mid Glamorgan |Mr. Anthony Arnold, MBE South Glamorgan |Mr. Lawrence Johnon South West Wales (covering West Glamorgan and Dyfed) |Mr. William Gareth Davies Yorkshire and Humberside Bradford, Calderdale, and Kirklees |Professor Mark Baker Humberside |Mrs. Wendy Witter, MBE Leeds and North Yorkshire |Dr. Patrick Nuttgens,CBE Sheffield and Rotherham |Mr. Donald Fleet Wakefield, Barnsley and Doncaster |Mr. Paul Jagger South West Avon |Mrs. Susan Marshfield Cornwall and Plymouth |Mrs. Margot Berry Devon |Mr. Peter McDonald Dorset |Mr. Andrew Child Gloucestershire |Mr. Neil Frewer Somerset |Major General Tony Palmer Wiltshire |Mr. Tim Pape Northern Cleveland |Mr. Ted Fuller Durham |Mr. Michael Smith North Tyne |Dr. Graham Grant, MBE South Tyne and Wear |Mr. Ian Armstrong East Midlands and Eastern Derbyshire |Mr. Peter Broxham Leicestershire |Mr. Philip Dawson Smith,MBE Lincolnshire |Mrs. Katie Phillips Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire |Mr. Paul Newton West Midlands Birmingham and Solihull |Mrs. Jane Harrison Coventry and Warwickshire |Mrs. Jennifer Gove,OBE Dudley and Sandwell |Mr. Michael Garrett Hereford and Worcester |Mr. Michael Price,CBE Shropshire |Mrs. Kate Moore Staffordshire |Mr. Douglas Garvie Wolverhampton and Walsall |Mr. Harold Canning
Letter from M.E.G. Fogden to Mr. Peter Kilfoyle, dated 16 March 1994 :
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking who are the members appointed to the Committees for the Employment of People with Disabilities.
There are 60 CEPDs, each with an independent chairman, and up to 14 members. Chairmen are appointed by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Employment with special responsibility for the employment of people with disabilities, on behalf of the Secretary of State. Members are appointed by my Regional Directors and Directors for Scotland and Wales, on behalf of the Secretary of State. CEPDs were established under the provisions of the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944. Their statutory role is to advise and assist the Secretary of State for Employment on matters related to the employment and self-employment of people with disabilities in their areas. In practice they work closely with my people within their areas, particularly with Placing, Assessment and Advisory Teams, in promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Each Committee includes equal numbers (either two or three) of members appointed after consultation with organisations representing employers and workers--to represent employers and workers generally. The other members are appointed as independents on the basis of the personal contribution they can make to work of their Committee. They usually include the manager of a local sheltered workshop, a member of the medical profession and other with a direct interest in the employment of disabled people locally.
Because members are appointed at regional level, and the Committees work primarily with PACTs locally, we do not maintain an up to date national list of the 800 to 900 members of the Committees. I hope this is helpful.
Column 718young people in the area find the best and quickest route to employment. The number of young people who have waited for more than eight weeks for a youth training place in the Doncaster area has fallen by 98 per cent. in the last year. The Government intend to improve the range of opportunities available to school leavers still further in Doncaster and elsewhere by introducing modern apprenticeships in 1995.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The European social fund is very heavily subscribed and highly competitive. Initially, project selection criteria are applied by each of the sectors responsible for managing ESF applications. These criteria reflect the priorities set out in the objective 3 plan to use ESF resources throughout Great Britain for 1994 onwards. They ensure that sector managers recommend to the Employment Department those projects which provide high quality and best value for money. The Department then considers the applications and issues approval letters where appropriate. This assessment process applies to applications across the whole of Great Britain, including Wales.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a list of all applications made for EU objective 3 funding to his Department in respect of areas of Wales ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Until the negotiations on the objective 3 plan to use European social fund resources throughout Great Britain have been concluded, it is not possible for the Employment Department to invite or approve any applications for ESF assistance. Meanwhile the sector managers involved in objective 3 have already applied selection criteria to prospective projects. This will minimise delay in submitting recommended applications to the Department once the Commission has approved the plan. I advised the hon. Member in the reply I gave to him on 14 February 1994, Official Report, column 643, that we continue to press upon the Commission the need to have an urgent decision.
Mr. Dykes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will itemise (a) the key elements of policy listed in the principal items of the existing European Community's social action programme and (b) the principal items in the proposed social charter provisions restricted to the other 11 EU member states.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : For the complete list of items included in the social action programme, I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for Battersea (Mr. Bowis) on 19 October 1992, Official Report, columns 116-20.
The only item to have been taken forward so far under the agreement on social policy by the other 11 member states is the proposal for a Council directive on mechanisms for informing and consulting employees.