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New Deal (Young People)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many individuals his Department has recruited under the New Deal for Young People. [91882]

Angela Eagle: I refer the hon. Member to the Written Answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office to my hon. Friend the Member for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart) on 25 May 1999, Official Report, column 116.

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Since the date of the information previously provided, this Department has employed an additional 23 young people under the New Deal arrangements bringing the total to 41.


Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what percentage of CSA cases (a) went to appeal and (b) succeeded on appeal in the last year for which figures are available. [91837]

Angela Eagle: The total number of live Child Support Agency (CSA) cases as at 31 December 1998 1 was 873,000. During the period 1 January 1998 to 31 December 1998 there were 7,217 CSA appeals (0.83 per cent. of 873,000) of which 4,740 (65.7 per cent.) were decided in the appellant's favour.

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the average cost of the appeal procedure for CSA cases. [91838]

Angela Eagle: The Child Support Agency, who deal with child support appeals to the point where they are submitted to The Independent Tribunal Service/The Appeals Service (ITS/TAS), advise that the average cost of a maintenance appeal is £457.31; the average cost of a departure referral is £475. ITS/TAS advise that the national unit cost of clearing a child support appeal was £221 in the 1998-99 financial year, the last year for which figures are available.

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Mr. Colvin: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he last met the Australian Social Security Minister; and what discussions were held on the social security agreement between the United Kingdom and Australia. [92035]

Mr. Timms: I met Senator Jocelyn Newman, the Australian Minister for Family and Community Services, on 12 July. Senator Newman informed me that, because the United Kingdom Government do not uprate State Retirement Pensions paid in Australia, her Government intended to terminate the bilateral social security agreement between the United Kingdom and Australia. Senator Newman subsequently issued a public statement to this effect.

It would be unfortunate if there was an end to this long-standing agreement. UK and Australian pensioners would lose out, although no one already receiving a benefit under the agreement would be affected. The UK Government will continue to work closely with the Australian Government on issues of common concern.


Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many pensioners have suffered unreasonable delays in receiving contributory benefits as a result of NIRS2 problems; [92193]

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Mr. Timms: NIRS2 was originally due to be operational by February 1997. Delays in completing the system have inconvenienced many benefit claimants.

The number of pensioners who have suffered significant delays because of the NIRS2 problems may be up to 285,000.

The number of pensioners who have received £10 compensation as a result of NIRS2 problems, to 30 June, is 166,989. The total number of pensioners entitled to the £10 compensation payment will not be known until all cases have been reviewed.


NHS Appointments

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the National Health Service trust and health authority appointments which were not made by the due date and which remained outstanding on 1 June. [90992]

Mr. Denham: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 21 June 1999, Official Report, column 228. Information for 1 July 1999 is now available and is given in the table.

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List of Health Authority and National Health Service Trust appointments which expired in 1998 and for which no appointment had been made by 1 July 1999

RegionBodyNo. of chairsNo. of non-executives
North WestLiverpool Women's Hospital National Health Service Trust(6)01
Wirral Hospital NHS Trust(7)01
Northern and YorkshireCalderdale and Kirklees Health Authority(8)01
LondonCroydon Community Health NHS Trust(9)01
Enfield Community Care NHS Trust(10)01
TrentGrantham and District Hospital NHS Trust(11)01
South WestRoyal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust(12)01
West MidlandsWalsall Community Health NHS Trust(13)01

(6) In January, the Trust decided that they wanted to review their establishment with aim of possibly reducing the number of board members from five to four. At the end of April the Trust made the decision to stay with five board members. A collective decision was made that in trying to identify candidates that recommendations should go at the same time as recommendations to fill the November appointment.

(7) Submission to fill the vacancy sent to Minister on 8 June 1999. Delay in putting forward recommendations due to Chairmanship not being filled until March and wanting to take in to account new chairman's views on possible recommendations.

(8) Vacancy has been outstanding since June 1998. RO have been searching for suitable female candidates to put forward after discussing the requirements with the local chair. Have now identified suitable candidates who are meeting the local chairman informally later this month. A submission will go forward after local discussions are complete.

(9) New chairman appointed 1 December 1998--taking opportunity to assess the strength and weaknesses of the board before considering candidates for this vacancy.

(10) Minister indicated that he wanted ethnic minority candidate to consider for the remaining vacancy on this board. Suitable candidates specific to the local area are still being identified.

(11) When making the submission in November 1998 there were three appointments which came to an end plus on ad-hoc vacancy that needed to be filled. Regional Chairman recommended that only two of the four posts be filled. This would allow them to identify other suitable candidates coming forward from the national ad. Given that the Trust are now likely to merge the vacancy is being held open pending possible merger.

(12) Region have been searching for a suitable candidate to put forward. A submission was sent to Ministers on 6 July with candidates to fill the vacancy.

(13) Minister asked in last round for ethnic candidate to be put forward for consideration. There are few ethnic candidates on RO database and have been trying to find suitable candidates to put forward. Submission sent to Minister on 6 July.

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Data Series

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what new data series separated by gender, race, disability and age have been commissioned by his Department since June 1997. [90831]

Mr. Hutton: The Department already collects and publishes a range of information about its work force analysed by gender, race, disability and age. We collect ethnicity and disability data using the Cabinet Office's classification. Further details are available from In addition, this Department carried out a staff attitude survey in September 1998. The information that respondents were asked to provide included details of gender, race, disability and age. Analyses using these categories were included in the survey findings.

Infertility Treatment

Mr. Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he is taking to ensure equal access to services for infertility treatment across the country. [91005]

Mr. Hutton: We have pledged to tackle unacceptable levels of geographical variations in access to infertility treatment and have set in motion a programme of work to achieve that aim. A Departmental survey of current health authority infertility service provision is taking place at the moment to enable the cost implications of any policy changes to be estimated. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists aim to complete their third, and final, set of evidence based clinical guidelines on infertility this autumn and these will indicate the circumstances in which infertility treatment can be most clinically effective. We can then move towards fairer access to National Health Service infertility services where those most able to benefit from such treatment receive it.

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