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Child Benefit

Volume 972: debated on Thursday 25 October 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, further to his answer to the question tabled by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) on 22 October, when he next expects the backlog in payment of child benefit allowances and the issuing of child benefit books caused by the recent strike action at the Department's child benefit centre at Washington New Town, Newcastle, will be completed; and whether he has considered what contingency plans might be taken to minimise inconvenience caused to families should such strike action be taken again.

It is not possible to estimate when the backlog of work at the child benefit centre will be cleared finally, although I must remind my hon. Friend that the majority of families are receiving their benefit without interruption. I assure my hon. Friend that the need to minimise the inconvenience caused to families by strike action is not being overlooked. We are, of course, also considering several improvements in the system, regardless of circumstances.