HC Deb 15 October 2001 vol 372 c831W
38. Mr. Dismore

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the need for ethnic monitoring of benefit claims and appeals. [3613]

Maria Eagle

The Government are fully committed to ensuring that all people, including those from ethnic minorities, receive the service they are entitled to from the benefit system.

The Department for Work and Pensions does not currently collect information about the ethnic breakdown of customers. However, the BA does undertake a significant amount of work to ensure equality of access to benefits for all customers, including guidance for staff working with ethnic minority customers, provision of information in different languages and provision of interpreting services. Also, the DWP ethnic Minority Forum continues to meet at least annually, in order that we can hear and address the concerns of people who work with, and represent, ethnic minority customers.

We are currently considering research on ethnic minority perceptions about benefit delivery. This research could help to build on our services that are specifically targeted at these customers.