§ Mr. Frank Field
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list those changes in social security measures which the Government have announced prior to seeking the advice of the Social Security Advisory Committee for each year since the committee's establishment.
§ Dr. Boyson
I take it that the hon. Member is seeking information only on those changes in social security regulations made without prior reference to the Social Security Advisory Committee under section 10(2)(a) of the Social Security Act 1980. My right hon. Friend is not required to seek the advice of the committee except when proposing changes in regulations on matters within its remit.
Since the committee's establishment in November 1980, the following regulations have been made under section 10(2)(a) of the Social Security Act 1980. In only three cases did the committee subsequently wish the regulations to be referred to it for consideration and report.
The practice of making regulations without prior reference to the committee follows the practice established with its predecessor, the National Insurance Advisory Committee. Prior to the establishment of the Social Security Advisory Committee, there was no statutory obligation to refer regulations relating to supplementary benefit to an advisory body.