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Child Benefit

Volume 972: debated on Monday 22 October 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the latest position regarding arrears in payments of child benefit.

The arrears of work at the child benefit centre caused by industrial action in April are gradually being reduced, but recovery is being impeded by the continuing overtime ban. Renewal order books, which are produced automatically, are being issued to post offices three to four weeks before the date of the first order in the book. There are still delays in dealing with those claims for new births and other changes of circumstances where clerical action is required, but local social security offices are making some 8,000 emergency payments each week.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why Mrs. Elizabeth Murray, 110 Eagle Street, Glasgow G4, has experienced difficulties since early March in obtaining child benefit in respect of her children Calum, Evyonne, and Isabella; when these will be resolved; and when the authorisation of payment of arrears to Mrs. Murray—formerly Mrs. Thomson—approved by the child benefit centre will be made.

[pursuant to her reply, 9 July 1979, c. 53]: Mrs. Murray's difficulties over the receipt of child benefit were caused primarily by a period of unofficial industrial action at the child benefit centre in April. There were some aggravating factors and I have written to the hon. Member about this.