§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many appeals to the national insurance commissioners are now outstanding; how many were outstanding 12 months ago; and of those outstanding now how many have been waiting for more than six and 12 months, respectively.
§ Mrs. Chalker
There are 3,314 appeals outstanding, compared with 2,720 12 months ago. Of the former, 1,048 have been outstanding for more than six months and 235 for more than 12 months.
As the hon. Member was informed on 21 March 1979, action taken with a view to reducing the volume of outstanding cases has included the appointment of two additional full-time commissioners and one on a part-time basis. Since then steps have been taken to increase still further the number of commissioners by making two more part-time appointments. These are in addition to the extra full-time commissioner who is to be appointed in connection with appeals on points of law from supplementary benefit appeal tribunals. I assure the hon. Member that I am concerned about the position and am looking for a substantial improvement, though it may take some time to achieve this.
Moreover, steps are also being taken to increase still further the number of commissioners by making more part-time appointments.—[Vol. 964, c.641.]