HC Deb 11 March 1991 vol 187 cc413-4W
Mr. Allen

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what steps have been taken by his Department to inform hon. Members of the Department's compensa-tion scheme for delayed payments;

(2) what system exists for compensating those whose pension or benefit is paid more than a year late; and if he will publish the rules which govern such a system;

(3) how many individuals received compensation payments for delayed payments for each of the years for which figures are available; and how many claims for such payments were unsuccessful.

Miss Widdecombe

Ex-gratia compensation may be paid when payment of benefit amounting to £50 or more has either been delayed for 12 months or longer, or interrupted for at least three months, because of clear and unambiguous official error. If claimants do not themselves raise the matter, the Department's local offices are required to identify cases eligible to be considered for such compensation. These arrangements are in accordance with the general principles concerning ex-gratia payments in "Government Accounting", the Treasury's guide to accounting and financial procedures in government. Each case is decided within those general principles, taking into account its particular facts and circumstances, which vary widely from case to case. The annual reports of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration have drawn attention to the availability of compensation.

Payments have been made as follows:

Year Number of individual payments
1989–90 385
1988–89 529
1987–88 911
1986–87 654
1985–86 540
1984–85 171

Information on the number of unsuccessful cases is not available.

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