HC Deb 28 January 1947 vol 432 cc737-8
1. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of National Insurance how many different types of forms are being used by the family allowances department of his Ministry.

The Minister of National Insurance (Mr. James Griffiths)

If the initial form of application is completely and accurately filled up and the case presents no unusual features, this is the only form that has to be completed. Where, however, further information is needed it has been found more convenient, to the claimant as well as to the Department, to use one of a series of letters or forms prepared in advance, instead of having to prepare a special letter in each case to which the claimant would have to send a separate reply. The number at present in use is 39.

5. Mr. Mathers

asked the Minister of National Insurance if he will transfer the work of dealing with family allowances payable in Scotland from Newcastle to Edinburgh, and so obviate the delays which take place under present arrangements.

Mr. J. Griffiths

A large part of the work in connection with these claims, including the determination of appeals against initial disallowances, is already dealt with locally in Scotland. I do not think it would contribute to efficiency or speed to transfer any more of the work at this stage to Edinburgh, but, as soon as we have our local offices, we shall, of course, use them for family allowance work.

Mr. Mathers

Does the Minister realise that his solution of this difficulty will take some time to put into operation, and may I ask him if, in the meantime, he will take immediate steps to see that the obviously large arrears are wiped out?

Mr. Griffiths

They are not very large arrears. We have been in this difficulty. There are cases of disputes about the composition of the family, and it is not for me as Minister to settle these. It is for the referee. We are awaiting the decisions of the referee now, and, when we get them, I can take immediate steps to clear the arrears.