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Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to underwrite the cost of (a) developing the proposed new athletics stadium at Picketts Lock and (b) staging the 2005 World Athletics Championships. 
Kate Hoey [holding answer 2 April 2001]: We are fully committed to the successful staging of the IAFF World Athletics Championships in 2005 at the new Lee Valley Stadium. The Government are currently working with the project team to reduce the gap between the funding committed and the likely costs of the project, which are estimated overall to be between £83 million and £87 million.
Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what firm commitments he has received from (a) Sport England, (b) The Lee Valley Forum, (c) UK Sport and (d) other sources for the funding of the proposed new athletics stadium at Picketts Lock. 
Kate Hoey [holding answer 2 April 2001]: Sport England have allocated within their budget up to £60 million to the Lee Valley National Athletics Centre. A further £7 million is available from the Lottery Sports Fund for the dedicated high performance centre which will be integrated with the stadium. Both these sums are subject to a satisfactory application for lottery funding being made.
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Security (1) on how many occasions (a) he and (b) other Ministers in his Department have met decision makers within the Benefits Agency; 
(3) since when it has not been possible for the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency to change a decision made by decision makers; and on what authority this change was made; 
(4) how many decision makers there are in the Benefits Agency; on what basis they are appointed; and what the level of their salary is; 
(5) if hon. Members may write on behalf of constituents direct to decision makers within the Benefits Agency; and if he will make a statement. 
Suitably trained and experienced staff make decisions. Staff are not recruited specifically as decision makers and may be of various grades; therefore, exact numbers are not available. The salary level of decision makers will vary according to grade.
Since the Benefits Agency was established in April 1991, it has never been possible for the Chief Executive to change a benefit decision made by a decision maker. It is only possible to change a benefit decision in accordance with the legislation.
Benefit decision notices encourage customers to contact the appropriate office if they want to know more about a decision or think it is wrong. Any queries received are directed to an appropriate officer to respond. If necessary the query will be directed to a decision maker to provide a response. Queries from customer representatives are dealt with in the same way.
Hon. Members are of course free to write to whomever they wish. However, it has been the accepted practice that, where a response is required on an individual case, the approach is made to the local office manager.
The Social Security Act 1998 transferred the functions of adjudication officers to the Secretary of State. Under new arrangements, all first instance Social Security decisions are made by officers acting on behalf of the Secretary of State. The Benefits Agency introduced the term "decision maker" during the period July to November 1999 when these provisions were introduced.
Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 2 April 2001, Official Report, column 91W, if the new test for national insurance numbers will apply when child reference numbers are converted into national insurance numbers. 
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(6) Reconsiderations are revisions under the new system of decision making and appeals which was introduced in October 1999
DSS Information Centre: 100 per cent. data
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proportion of decisions on a request for (a) revision and (b) supersession were made in favour of the claimant in each month since November 1999. 
DSS Information Centre: 100 per cent. data
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proportion of (a) initial claims, (b) renewal claims, (c) reviews and (d) appeals were decided in favour of the claimant in each quarter of each year since 1996. 
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|Quarter||Initial claims||Renewal claims||Reviews(7)||Appeals|
(7) Includes reconsiderations and supersessions under the revised system of decision making and appeals introduced in October 1999.
DSS Information Centre: 100 per cent. data.
Mr. Rooker: We are determined to ensure that all those entitled to claim a benefit can do so with the minimum of inconvenience. The Department is currently developing a new Minimum Income Guarantee claim form. The lessons learned from that work are being extended to other benefits.
Mr. Rooker: We aim to give everyone the chance to make their own choices about how they want to provide for their own retirement. The basic state pension is a secure foundation but, by itself, it was never meant to support the lifestyle most people want today. We believe the best way to have a secure retirement is to build up an extra amount on top of the state retirement pension.
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