Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will issue clear guidance on how claimants should claim widow's benefit following the European Court of Human Rights ruling. 
Mr. Plaskitt: We are unable to issue guidance for claims to widows' benefits from men. We introduced Bereavement Benefits from 9 April 2001 for both men and women but before this date there was no provision for the payment of widows' benefits to men. This remains the case today.
On 5 May 2005 the House of Lords unanimously rejected widowers' claims concerning payment of widows' payment and widowed mothers' allowance before April 2001. They also found the Government to be justified in not paying Widows Pension to widowers
Any application for widows' payment or widowed mothers' allowance from a man whose wife died before 9 April 2001 and who either has not made an application to the European Court of Human Rights or was not part of proceedings in the domestic courts will now be too late.
Margaret Hodge: There are ongoing discussions with officials, lobby groups and our voluntary community and private sector partners about how we can do more to help people with mental health problems find work. We will ensure that the needs of this group are considered as part of our wider welfare reform plans.
Mr. Clegg: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many legal aid franchises in asylum work were operating in (a) England and Wales and (b) the Yorkshire and Humberside region in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
|April to March each year
|April to March each year
Mr. Clegg: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what steps are being taken by the Legal Services Commission to ensure adequate legal advice for asylum seekers in the Yorkshire and Humberside region. 
Bridget Prentice: There are currently 15 specialist providers of immigration and asylum services across the Yorkshire and Humberside region funded by the Legal Services Commission (LSC), working across 19 different locations.
The LSC recognises that there is currently an imbalance between the adequacy of legal advice provision in the South Yorkshire and Humber area as compared to West Yorkshire, with a degree of unmet need occurring in South Yorkshire and Humber.
As a result, the LSC is currently tendering for 3,335 additional New Matter Starts, which increases the amount of legal aid work suppliers can do to match demand, in immigration to ensure adequate provision of publicly funded immigration and asylum services across the Yorkshire region. The emphasis will be on Hull for the Humber area, and on Sheffield for the South Yorkshire area.
In addition, the LSC has worked with the Immigration Advisory Service (IAS), a national supplier of legal services, to establish an outreach service run in conjunction with members of the local Community Legal Service Partnership. This service has been extremely successful and has recently extended its availability to two days per week.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to her answer of 2 November 2005, Official Report, column 1164W, when she expects to make a statement on reforms of the coroners' system. 
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will place in the Library annotated copies of Acts proposed to be substantially amended by the Electoral Administration Bill, showing in each (a) the omissions and (b) the additions proposed by the Bill. 
Ms Harman: The only Act that is substantially amended by the Electoral Administration Bill is the Representation of the People Act 1983 (RPA). A Keeling schedule for the RPA, setting out the amendments proposed in the Bill, is available on the DCA website at http://www.dca.gov.uk/legist/keeling.htm and will be placed in the Commons Library.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to the answer of 17 October 2005, Official Report, column 752W, on the Electoral Administration Bill, if she will deposit copies of the responses received by her Department in the Library. 
Tony Baldry: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs when Balvir Kamar reference IMM/ECR/1195812/OJ/NS will receive notification of his application for entry clearance. 
Officials at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) have confirmed that the appeal of Balvir Kaur has been received from the diplomatic post, processed and allocated a case number. The appeal will be allocated a hearing date before an Immigration Judge within the next 10 working days which will be confirmed to all parties to the appeal in writing.
Bridget Prentice: The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) has confirmed that the appeal for Muhammad Shabir, matching the reference provided in the question, has been received from the diplomatic post, processed and allocated a case number. The appeal has been listed for a substantive hearing before an Immigration Judge on 2 December 2005 with a notice of hearing confirming this date sent to all parties to the appeal.
Norman Baker: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 have been submitted to the Central Clearing House in each month since the inception of that unit, broken down by public authority. 
I will write to my hon. Friend providing a full response to his question breaking down this volume of referrals both by month and department and copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
8 Nov 2005 : Column 385W
Mr. Laws: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many IT projects have been developed for her Department since 2001; and whether she has agreed to make public the Gateway Reviews for these projects (a) in full and (b) in part. 
Bridget Prentice: In common with any large organisation, IT based change projects in my Department range in scale from the very small (say simply involving a small number of new PCs) to those having strategic importance for the Department as a whole. In the strategic group, there have been three change programmes: Libra (covering the magistrates courts); CTMP (covering the Crown court and county court) and ARAMIS (covering headquarters areas).
The basis of Gateway Review is that they are conducted on a confidential basis for the Senior Responsible Owner (SRO). This is to promote an open and honest exchange between the programme/project teams and review teams. For this reason, gateway reports are not routinely published by my Department.
In line with the Freedom of Information Act, requests for disclosure of Gateway reviews are dealt with on a case by case basis. Of the three DCA programmes, one gateway reviewthe Libra Gate 3 review reporthas, in part, been released.