§ 5 and 6. Mr. Mitchison
asked the Minister of National Insurance (1) what is the reason for the delays in payment in the cases of Mr. F. C. Bailey, 82, Princes Street, Kettering, who has submitted weekly medical certificates with his correct National Insurance number on and since 9th March, 1948, and of Miss Betty M. Chater, 77, Nelson Street, Kettering, No. K.W. 547245, who has submitted similar certificates on and since 14th March, and has also claimed payment for a surgical elastic stocking passed by her former approved society; why the Market Harborough Office have not answered Mr. Bailey's letters; whether he is aware that this office has not replied to many letters and has failed to pay benefits; and what steps he will take to expedite the proceedings of that office and obviate delays and hardship;
(2) when and where he proposes to institute an office of his Department in Kettering.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
The Kettering local office was opened on 1st April largely by 1598 the transfer of staff from the Market Harborough office which had previously had to deal with the work of the Kettering approved societies. My inquiries into the particular cases of alleged delay mentioned in the question are not yet complete and I will write to my hon. Friend giving full particulars as soon as possible.
§ Mr. Mitchison
Is the Minister aware that these delays have been quite general and that there have been complaints from people associated with this service before, such as the local branch of the National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives and the Amalgamated Council of Friendly Societies in the district; is he also aware that the place where, according to repute, he seeks to establish his office in Kettering is right at one end of the town, a long way from most of the main working-class areas in the place?
§ Mr. Griffiths
These complaints are not general. I am very glad to say that, generally speaking, we have been paid a tribute for the expeditious way in which we have handled these schemes. These delays occurred at a time when we were transferring the work from Market Harborough to Kettering. Kettering has been a very difficult place indeed, and I would be much obliged if my hon. and learned Friend and the borough council could help to find more suitable premises in, Kettering.
§ Mr. W. R. Williams
Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that the staffing is adequate to meet the full requirements of this place and other places as from 5th July?
§ Mr. Griffiths
We are in the process of building up the staff all the time as 5th July gets nearer. There may have been some delay in this place as a result of the transfer from one office to the other. I am making inquiries into this particular case and I hope to clear it up very soon.