HC Deb 02 December 1997 vol 302 c185W
Mr. Alan Williams

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the current waiting period for a hearing with the independent tribunal service in Wales; what plans she has to reduce waiting times; and if she will make a statement. [13765]

Mr. Keith Bradley

Appeals to Social Security Tribunals in Wales which were cleared in the first quarter of this year took on average 28.7 weeks to clear in the first quarter of this year took an average 28.7 weeks to clear. The comparable figure for Great Britain is 29.9 weeks.

We are determined to reduce the current delays and complexity in the appeals system. On 9 July we introduced the Social Security Bill, which paves the way for the creation of an active modern Social Security system. The Bill includes several measures which will enable us to provide a quicker, simpler and more efficient appeals service for customers.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will take personal responsibility for the administration of the appeals system, set and publish demanding targets to shorten the time it takes for appeals to be heard and report on the results.