§ Mr. Churchill
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security with how many countries outside the EC Her Majesty's Government have entered into reciprocal social security agreements; and upon what criteria decisions have been taken as to which countries should be covered by such arrangements.
§ Mr. Hague
The United Kingdom has reciprocal social security agreements with 23 countries outside the EC.
In order to enter into an agreement with the United Kingdom the other country's social security scheme has to be sufficiently similar to provide for reciprocity. There has to be sufficient movement of workers between the two countries to justify the outlay of resources to negotiate, operate and maintain the agreement. Above all, any additional costs have to be affordable.
§ Mr. Clelland
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claims for industrial disablement benefit for a prescribed industrial disease were received by the Benefits Agency's South Tyneside district, North Tyne district and Newcastle district offices in the period since 1021W January 1991; how many of these claims resulted in medical examinations; what were the outcomes of the examinations concerned; how many appeals were received from claimants against the outcomes; and what were the results of any resultant medical appeal tribunals.
§ Mr. Scott
The administration of industrial injuries disablement benefit is the responsibility of Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available and a copy will be placed in the Library.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. David Clelland, dated 26 July 1993:As Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency it is my responsibility to answer questions about relevant operational matters. I am therefore replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security asking how many claims for industrial injuries disablement benefit for a prescribed industrial disease were received by the Benefits Agency's South Tyneside District, North Tyne District and Newcastle District offices in the period since January 1991; how many of these claims resulted in medical examinations; what were the outcomes of the examinations concerned; how many appeals were received from claimants against the outcomes; and what were the results of any resultant medical appeal tribunals.Information on the number of prescribed disease claims and the subsequent outcome on such claims since January 1991 is not available in the form requested and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Similarly information on medical examinations and appeals is not to hand. Such information as is available is shown in the tables:
Table 1 Industrial injuries disablement benefit—prescribed disease. New claims in period April 1992 to June 1993 New claims Newcastle district 1,293 South Tyneside 3,705 North Tyneside 1,627
The above information is based on a 100 per cent. count of claims received in benefit offices. Prescribed disease claims were not identified separately prior to April 1992.
Table 2 Industrial injuries disablement benefit—prescribed disease new assessments in period October 1992 to June 1993 New assessments Newcastle district 25 South Tyneside 109 North Tyneside 9
The information is based on 100 per cent. count of the number of new assessments of Disablement Benefit in benefit offices. Prescribed disease awards were not identified separately prior to October 1992. Some claims made during the period will not have been assessed yet.
I hope that this reply is helpful. A copy of this reply will appear in the Official Report and a copy will be placed in the Library.