HC Deb 26 February 1988 vol 128 cc359-60W
Mr. Nicholas Bennett

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services why the appeal against a reduction in the amount of his reduced earning allowance by Mr. E. A. Kerrod, of 49 New road, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, which was submitted to the clerk to the social security appeal tribunal in Cardiff on 26 October 1987, has still not been heard; how many other cases await decision by the tribunal; what is the average and longest period that an appeal is outstanding; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Portillo

I understand that Mr. Kerrod's appeal has been listed for hearing on 9 March 1988.

In Wales, for the quarter ending 6 June 1987, (the latest available figures) there were 10,767 appeals awaiting to be heard and the average length of time from lodgement to hearing was 18.4 weeks. Individual figures are not available for appeals taking more than 21 weeks to clear; 25 per cent. of all social security appeals fall into this category.

The subject of delays in the hearing of social security appeals is of great concern both to me and to His Honour Judge Byrt, who, as the president of Social Security and Medical Appeal Tribunals, has the responsibility for administering the social security appeal tribunals in Great Britain.

Judge Byrt has written a statement which sets out the practical difficulties presently facing his organisation and the steps which he is taking to overcome them. A copy of this statement of 4 February 1988 has been placed in the Library.