§ Mr. Morgan
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what consultations he has had with the chief executive of the Benefits Agency concerning the ending of agency home visits; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Roger Evans
The Benefits Agency has not stopped home visits to people claiming or in receipt of benefits. In July 1995, the agency introduced new criteria for determining when income support new claim visits and review visits should be made. This has improved customer service, accuracy, verification and validation of income support claims.
The agency is undertaking a wide-ranging review of its activities, as part of the overall departmental change programme designed to make efficient use of public funds while maintaining high standards of customer service. As part of this review, from 1 April 1996, visits are made only to customers with particular difficulties of access and under the security control programme.