7. Mrs. Braddock
asked the Minister of National Insurance why the pension books of Mrs. Dixon, 20, Shotwick Street, Liverpool, have not been returned to her since October, 1946; and if he is aware that the necessity to wait long periods each week at assistance board offices for payments, in this type of case, is resented by the applicants.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
With regard to the first part of the Question, as I have already informed my hon. Friend, Mrs. Dixon has now received her pension book and full payment of arrears. As regards the second part, I am advised by the assistance board that there has been of late heavy pressure of work at the board's office in Shaw Street, Liverpool, which it is hoped soon to relieve by the occupation of additional accommodation. In the meantime every effort is being made to reduce the waiting time of pensioners at that office to a minimum.
Does the Minister think it necessary to take the old 10s. book 789 away from the pensioner and keep it while awaiting a decision on entitlement to the 26s.? Is he aware that the assistance boards do not make up the amount to 26s. while the applicant is awaiting a decision, even in those cases where the pensioner is obviously entitled to the extra 16s.?
§ Mr. Griffiths
The 10s. book should not be surrendered. If there are any cases of the kind that my hon. Friend has mentioned, I shall be glad to have them brought to my attention.
§ Squadron-Leader Fleming
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a great deal of delay is caused by the new book being sent to the wrong post offices? Can steps be taken to avoid this in future? It has been occurring to a large extent in the Manchester area.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I appreciate that, but I am sure the House will forbear with me in that we have had to deal with at least 4,000,000 cases in a very short time. I regret very much that there has been a good deal of delay for the reasons referred to by the hon. and gallant Member.
§ Mr. Chetwynd
Is the Minister aware that in some cases where the books are surrendered an old age pensioner is informed by the Assistance Board officer that he cannot make any payment?