§ Mr. Carter-Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress has been made in the monitoring of the effects of the reduction of the linking rules for insurance benefits from 13 weeks to eight weeks; if a special study has been done of the linking rule in relation to non-contributory invalidity pension; and if he will make a further statement.
§ Mr. Newton
During the passage of the legislation in 1980, concern was expressed that the reduction in the linking rule would unduly disadvantage those suffering from chronic illnesses which cause intermittent recurrent incapacity; and we said that we would monitor this.
There is no indication from correspondence received in the Department that the shorter linking rule is having a harsh effect on any group of claimants. In the event, the Department's claim statistics have not been of help because they relate to separate spells of incapacity rather than to individual claimants, and also because there have been a' number of other changes, principally the introduction of the statutory sick pay scheme and the 662W continued decline in the number of claims to incapacity benefits, which makes it difficult to isolate the effect of this particular change. No separate study has been made of claims to non-contributory invalidity pension.
I should be grateful to know of any individual cases of difficulty that have come to the hon. Member's attention.