§ Helen Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate she has made of the average waiting time for a social security appeal to be heard, from the date the appeal is lodged with the ITS. 
§ Mr. Keith Bradley
The Independent Tribunal Service reports that the current average waiting time for an appeal to be heard by a Social Security Appeal Tribunal is approximately 28 weeks.
However, we are determined to reduce the current delays and complexity in the appeals system. The Social Security Bill, which paves the way for modernising the delivery of Social Security, including the handling of appeals, had its second reading in the House of Lords on 15 January. The Secretary of State will assume responsibility for the administration of the appeals system. She will set and publish demanding targets for the administration of appeals and report on the results.