§ Dr. Harris
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what action he proposes to take in respect of the recent decisions of a social security commissioner in relation to the operation of the Social Security Act 1998 205W and the Social Security and Child Support (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations 1999; and it he will make a statement. 
§ Angela Eagle
We do not propose to take any action in relation to these decisions.
The Commissioner confirms the approach taken by decision makers in relation to the operation of the Social Security Act 1998 and the Social Security and Child Support (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations 1999. That is, decision makers can make the decision to 'supersede at the same rate' where there is a change of circumstances but it does not change the existing award, and can refuse to supersede a decision where the application cannot possibly affect the existing award.
The Commissioner also held that it is necessary for a new claim for benefit to be made, in all cases, before there can be a supersession for change of circumstances. It is our view that this was a ruling on a point of law which was incidental to the decisions reached, rather than a necessary part of the legal reasoning. Accordingly, the Commissioner's decisions on this point do not constitute binding rulings. For that reason we have decided not to appeal these decisions and we have not asked for existing guidance to decision makers to be altered.