HC Deb 28 July 1997 vol 299 cc16-7
15. Mr. Watts

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will make a statement on the Government's policy on welfare reform relating to social security tribunals. [9042]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Social Security (Mr. Keith Bradley)

We are determined to reduce the current delays and complexity in the appeals system. On 9 July, we introduced the Social Security Bill, which paves the way for modernising the delivery of social security. The Secretary of State will assume responsibility for the administration of the appeals system; set and publish demanding targets for the appeals service to meet; and report on the results.

Mr. Watts

I thank my hon. Friend for that full and honest reply. If we are to have a modern, efficient and fair system, does he agree that the Social Security Department needs to do more to ensure that people take up the benefits to which they are entitled? What action will his Department take to ensure that all those who are eligible receive that to which they are entitled? Can he assure me that action will be taken as quickly as possible?

Mr. Bradley

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for those comments. We want to introduce a modern, efficient and effective social security system. We also want to ensure that everyone is aware of his or her rights and that the information they require to ensure that they take up their entitlement is available to them. We will debate those matters as the Social Security Bill goes through the House and I assure my hon. Friend that his points about take-up will be considered then.