HC Deb 04 December 1967 vol 755 cc925-6
8. Mr. Archer

asked the Minister of Social Security whether she has now received the report of the National Insurance Advisory Committee into the advisability of conferring upon insurance officers a discretion to pay benefits which are not paid within six months from the date when they were receivable; and what action she is taking.

The Minister of Social Security (Mrs. Judith Hart)

No, Sir. The time limits on payment of benefits which are under review involve the consideration of a complex of inter-related problems.

The Committee will, of course, report to me as soon as they can, and I shall then consider what action is needed.

Mr. Archer

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the people concerned do not move in well-informed circles and that all the provision which she makes for them is completely frustrated at the moment, when they find out too late?

Mrs. Hart

Yes, it is exactly in this context that the Committee will be considering the three kinds of time limit involved.

Mr. Worsley

Will the right hon. Lady seek to expedite this review? Is she aware, for instance, that real hardship is caused in the case of a widow who, because she was separated from her husband, did not know of his death?

Mrs. Hart

Yes, I am sure that the Committee will work as fast as it can. There were three months for the receipt of representations on this matter, which has just now expired, so I am sure that the Committee will be continuing as fast as it can.