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Benefits (Application Forms)

Volume 828: debated on Tuesday 21 December 1971

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Service what steps he is now taking to simplify the claiming of benefits by possible reductions in the number of forms and in other ways.

I announced on 13th May, 1971, that discussions were being held with local authority associations on the feasibility of using a single claim form for a wide range of benefits. In addition, we have extended the use of the "passport" principle from supplementary benefit to the new family income supplement.—[Vol. 817, c. 154–5.]

On top of the many improvements in the social services already made by the Government during their first 18 months in office, will my right hon. Friend accept that any further simplification of the claiming machinery will be welcomed by many people as another major step forward? Will my right hon. Friend pursue this matter if he finds it possible to do so?

Yes, certainly. The previous Administration initiated the preliminary studies for a single claim form covering a number of benefits. This Government have opened discussions with the local authority associations and, during the coming year, with the help of the local authority associations, I hope to be able to start a pilot experiment.