§ Mr. Alton
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many other appeals have been received following that of Mrs. Morris and Whitbread concerning the effect of occupational pensions on unemployment benefit; what timetable he has established for dealing with these appeals; what consideration he has given to his general policy on this matter; and when he expects the social security commissioners to review the remainder of cases;
(2) if he will make a statement on the position of claimants aged 55 years or over in receipt of an occupational pension of £35 per week or over, whose unemployment benefit was reduced or removed on 1 January.
§ Mrs. Gillian Shephard
From 1 January 1989 the age at which unemployment benefit is abated by the value of any occupational pension in excess of £35 per week was reduced from 60 to 55 years. The change affected people in receipt of unemployment benefit at the time and all subsequent claimants over age 55.
The appeal against the decision by the social security appeals tribunal in Mrs. Morris' case was heard by a tribunal of social security commissioners on 8 March and this decision is awaited. Pending the outcome of this case, employment service local offices are maintaining a record of people in similar circumstances who may wish to have their cases reviewed in the light of the commissioners' decision. These records, and the number of other appeals which might have been lodged, are not held centrally and the overall numbers could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.