§ Mr. Maclean
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to lay the regulations amending the Social Security (Hospital In-Patients) Regulations 1975 to provide for the equal treatment of men and women.
§ Mr. Major
I have today laid the Social Security (Hospital In-Patients) Amendment Regulations 1987 which come into effect on Friday 13 February and ensure that men and women are treated equally under the rules governing the adjustment of benefits for those undergoing treatment as hospital in-patients. These amended rules fulfil the terms of European Community Directive 79/7 EEC and we expect to be able to identify and pay arrears to virtually all those married women and some men who experienced a reduction of retirement pension, invalidity benefit or severe disablement allowance in the period since 22 December 1984 when the Directive took effect.
As part of our programme for the review and simplification of the benefits system we shall shortly be putting to the Social Security Advisory Committee proposals for changes in the existing rules on the adjustment of benefits in payment to hospital in-patients which in their present form are complex and difficult to administer.