§ 13. Mr. CLUSE
asked the Minister of Pensions whether, seeing that the function of the Pensions Issue Office is to forward to pensioners and the local post office ring-papers and draft books respectively, and that all cash payments are made by postmasters, he will inform the House of the reasons against the decentralisation of the work to local offices?
§ The following is the answer:
§ The hon. Member has in mind, I presume, the decentralisation of the work of 1478 the Pension Issue Office. It is not possible to deal adequately with this question within the normal limits of an answer, but, apart altogether from the serious dislocation of work and disturbance of the staff that would be involved by any such change, there are, in the judgment of my right hon. Friend, clear and cogent reasons both in the interests of pensioners and on grounds of efficient administration against the proposal.
§ It would in the first place still be necessary for the work of issue ordinarily to be done by way of post, and there would therefore be no advantage to the pensioner in the change proposed. The existing local offices of the Ministry could not accommodate the staff required for the work, and new offices would have to be obtained in every instance. There would be additional work and danger of delay and confusion arising out of the frequent removals of pensioners from one area to another. It would seriously complicate the work of the Post Office who a present have to correspond only with the separate issuing offices in London and Edinburgh. The danger of fraud and of duplicate payments would be greatly increased, and the work of auditing and accounting would be made more difficult. Further, it is clear that the cost of 131 separate issuing offices together with the central establishment which would be necessary for proper control and to deal with certain classes of pensioners, would be much greater than the cost of a centralised establishment where it is possible to deal with the work on lines of mass production.