HC Deb 14 June 1979 vol 968 cc280-1W
Mr. Craigen

asked the Secretary of State for Employment why there have been delays in accepting applicants for early retirement under the Government's job release scheme when employers have been co-operating in its operation, as instanced in the case of Greater Glasgow passenger transport executive and Mr. Thomas Sinclair, who is due to retire on 30 June under the terms of his superannuation scheme.

Mr. Jim Lester

Under the expanded job release scheme which opened for applications on 1 May, the eligible age for men has been reduced from 64 to 62—or to 60 if they are disabled. The number of applications received in the first four weeks of the expanded scheme was unexpectedly high and the number of staff engaged on this work has therefore been increased.

The leaflet issued by my Department already warns applicants, because of the time needed to process applications, that they must apply at least four weeks before they wish to join the scheme and that they should not complete their arrangements to leave their jobs until they they have been told that their application has been approved. The co-operation of employers and applicants in fulfilling these provisions is still needed.

The staff are dealing as quickly as possible with all applications received, including that from Mr. Sinclair, about which I am writing to the hon. Member.