HC Deb 08 April 1968 vol 762 cc867-8
16. Mr. Fisher

asked the Minister of Social Security whether she will list the number of means tests at present operating in the social security field.

Mrs. Hart

Tests of means for social security benefits are operated by my Department for supplementary benefits—including repayments of National Health Service charges—under the Ministry of Social Security Act, 1966, and for accommodation and pocket money provided under the Polish Resettlement Act, 1947. In addition, resources are taken into account in considering claims for certain war pensions dependants' benefits.

Mr. Fisher

Will the right hon. Lady consider consulting her colleagues, some of whom operate a large number of means tests of various kinds, to see whether some simplification could be achieved by greater co-ordination between Departments?

Mrs. Hart

I am tremendously aware of the need for some simplification, but the hon. Member realises that one of the problems is that a number of different means tests are operated by local authorities in relation to their own functions. It is a very wide problem, but I am much concerned with the need, if we can, to achieve some simplification.