§ Mr. Austin Mitchell
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many social security offices have had their benefit records transferred to Glasgow; what is his estimate of the cost/benefit of the transfer; and how mistakes discovered in the records will be rectified.
§ Mrs. Gillian Shephard
Two London offices, Ealing and Southall, have so far transferred their income support benefit records to the social security centre in Glasgow. Relocation of the income support work of Acton office commenced on 4 December.
Overall the current estimate gives a cost benefit of some £16 million over 20 years for the three social security centres. The fundamental reason for relocation, however, is to improve service to the public.
Benefit records are rigorously examined for accuracy when they are received at the social security centre in preparation for loading onto the income support computer system. Where errors in payment have been made, they will be rectified and arrears due will be paid promptly.