§ Sir Brian Mawhinney
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many outstanding unpaid 165W claims there were for compensation under the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 on 1 January 1998; and what was the average delay between claim and payment for categories A, B and C on that date. 
§ Mr. Michael
[holding answer 12 January 1998]: On 1 January 1998, there were 20,779 claims awaiting processing under Options A and B and 9,628 claims awaiting processing under Option C, the great majority of which are mixed claims on which the Option A and B elements have been paid. The average turn round time between receipt of claims from the police and processing of Options A and B was 19 weeks. Regular processing of Option C claims is expected to begin later this month.
§ Mr. Steen
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to make payment for the confiscated pistols of C. J. A. Foules, West Charleston Grange, near Kingsbridge, Devon. 
§ Mr. Michael
[holding answer 12 January 1998]: Claims under the Firearms Compensation Scheme are dealt with in the order in which they are received from the police. This claim was received on 23 September 1997, towards the end of the three month hand-in period, and is defective, in that the claimant has declined to sign the required declaration relinquishing ownership of the surrendered weapons. Until this is done, no payment can be made. The claim is therefore being returned for completion.