§ Mr. Byers
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what was the percentage of hard-to-fill vacancies in(a) the south-east, (b) London, (c) the south-west, (d) the west midlands, (e) the east midlands, (f) eastern, (g) Yorkshire and Humberside, (h) the north-west, (i) the north-west (Greater Manchester) and (j) northern areas over the previous 12 months in 1994 and 1995. 
§ Mr. Forth
[holding answer 16 February 1996]: 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.
Letter from Mike Fogden to Mr. Stephen Byers, dated 19 February 1996:The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the percentage of hard to fill vacancies in the English regions over the previous 12 months in 1994 and 1995.We do not collect the information you have requested. However, during July to September 1994 a trial was undertaken to assess the feasibility of using hard to fill vacancies more widely to test clients' commitment to returning to employment and their availability for work.The trial revealed that the types of vacancy which are hard to fill vary widely between localities and it is difficult to he prescriptive about which particular vacancies fall into the hard to fill category. We do not, therefore, collect statistics on hard to fill vacancies.I hope this is helpful.