§ Mr. Thurnham
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many complaints he has made to magistrates' courts under section 18 of the Supplementary Benefits Act 1976 against people liable to maintain sponsored immigrants in each of the last 10 years; how much money has been recovered as a result; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Major
Departmental statistics do not show the types of cases in which complaints under section 18 of the Act are made but, as far as I am aware, no action has so far been taken in a case involving a sponsored immigrant. Proceedings would be brought only where it appeared that the sponsor was financially able to meet his responsibilities in whole or in part but satisfactory arrangements for him to do so could not be reached out of court. The statutory provision (which has existed only since the passing of the Social Security Act 1980) provides the necessary support for agreement to be reached with the sponsor out of court.