HC Deb 30 November 1948 vol 458 cc1783-4
1. Mr. McGovern

asked the Minister of National Insurance if his attention has been drawn to the numerous complaints made against his officers at Stockwell Street, Glasgow, due to delay in granting claims which compels constituents of Shettleston to travel three and four miles by tram, costing 5d. for each double journey; the lack of knowledge possessed by the officers; the unsympathetic and impertinent attitude adopted to applicants for benefits; and if he will take steps to deal with these complaints.

The Minister of National Insurance (Mr. James Griffiths)

There have been special difficulties at this office owing to the gravely inadequate accommodation which is all that it has hitherto been possible to obtain. I have reason to expect that a suitable site for a new office will soon be acquired, and meanwhile additional premises at Tollcross Parish Church Hall will be opened at the beginning of December.

As regards the specific matters of complaint mentioned, my hon. Friend has forwarded a letter to me containing a number of allegations but without the particulars which are necessary to enable me to investigate them. As regards in particular the attitude alleged to be adopted by the staff, I can recollect no previous complaint from any quarter though I should certainly wish to investigate such a complaint if prima facie evidence is furnished.

Mr. McGovern

While welcoming the provision of temporary accommodation to alleviate the conditions in the city, may I ask my right hon. Friend if he is aware that I have made this statement because a large number of people have both come to my house and approached me in the street and complained about the impertinent and rude way in which they are treated at this office? Will he take special care to send an investigator to interrogate, if necessary, people who are in this place to the extent of 100 at a time?

Mr. Griffiths

It is my desire—indeed, I have impressed it upon the staff to bear in mind that the people who come to them are in trouble and ought to be given every possible consideration. There is universal testimony that the members of our staff are responding to that, but if there is any specific charge I will certainly investigate and deal with it at once.