§ Mr. David Nicholson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received regarding delays in obtaining hearings of claims by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board; and what is his estimate of the number of unresolved claims which were more than three years old in(a) 1990 and (b) at the latest date for which such figures are available. 
§ Mr. Maclean
Since 1 January 1996, we have received 15 letters about delays in appeals directly from claimants and 15 through hon. Members. In addition, two hon. Members tabled questions on the subject.
The board advises that data about numbers of outstanding appeals in 1990 are no longer available, but of 26,000 cases currently awaiting oral hearing, 2,067 have been waiting for more than three years.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I increased membership of the board from 43 to 50 in 1996 to help clear the hearings backlog more speedily. Under the new tariff scheme introduced in April 1996, which has a new review procedure and a new independent appeals panel, we expect appeals to be dealt with considerably more quickly than under the superseded scheme.