§ Mr. Murphy
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the social security freephone information service trial carried out in 1983.
§ Mr. Newton
Trials have been carried out in Sutton, Birmingham, Newcastle, Leeds, Stockton, Sheffield and Cambridge. The service, which is used both by the general public and by statutory and voluntary organisations, offers advice and guidance on the whole range of social security benefits.
Each freephone centre handles between 100 and 1,000 calls a week, depending on the population covered. Public reaction has been favourable and additional centres will be opened over the next two months in Bootle, Edinburgh, Nottingham and Cardiff.
I am glad to be able to tell my hon. Friend that the service will be extended to the whole of Great Britain, except Greater London, from 11 April 1984. We hope to introduce it in London by April 1985.