§ Mr. Cyril Smith
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what proportion of birth and marriage certificates returned to the issuing authorities by the Inland 210W Revenue are never returned to the Department;
(2) what proportion of birth and marriage certificates referred to the issuing authorities by the Inland Revenue Department take longer than six months to be returned to the Department;
(3) how many birth and marriage certificates are referred back to the countries of origin of immigrants by the Inland Revenue Department;
(4) what is the proportion of birth and marriage certificates checked by the Inland Revenue Department which are found to be false;
(5) if he will take steps to ensure that allowances are given by the Inland Revenue Department on a provisional basis in those cases where the Department has not verified the birth and marriage certificates within a period of four months;
(6) what proportion of birth and marriage certificates of immigrants are referred back to the countries of origin by the Inland Revenue Department;
(7) what the average time is for the Inland Revenue Department to obtain notification of birth and marriage received in Urdu and Bengali when those certificates are not referred overseas for such verification;
(8) how many staff are employed by the Inland Revenue Department to deal with the translation and verification of birth and marriage certificates of immigrants;
(9) What is the average time taken by the Inland Revenue Department on the translatioin and verification of birth and marriage certificates of immigrants.
§ Mr. Robert Sheldon
The number of new cases involving the examination of certificates in support of claims by immigrants for personal allowance is at present about 9,000 a year and in each case there may be several certificates. Nearly one-third of the cases received involve some false certificates.
Records have not been kept of the figures for which the hon. Member asks, but it is estimated that in about one-fifth of the total cases copies of certificates are referred to the country of origin and that in about one-third of the cases so referred the reply takes more than six 211W months and that in about half of these cases so referred no reply is received.
It is not possible to state the average time needed for translation and verification of certificates, but where the inspector is satisfied that the allowances claimed are, subject to a check of the certificate, likely to be due, provisional allowances should normally be given at the most within four months of receipt of the certificate, even though verification is not completed. The equivalent of 41 full-time staff in head office and of about 170 full-time staff in local offices are engaged on this work in the Inland Revenue.