asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will arrange for Christmas bonus to be paid to any person who reaches pensionable age before 25 December in each year in respect of which such bonus is payable.
The Pensioners' Payments and Social Security Act 1979 provides for the payment of a bonus to be related to entitlement to the payment of a qualifying benefit in a relevant week beginning 3 December this year.Whilst the Act makes provision for varying the relevant week in future years, provided that it is not earlier than that beginning with the second Monday in November, it is necessary, for operational reasons, for the payments to be made before the Post Office's peak Christmas period. Payment of the bonus at this time has the added advantage of making the money available to people in good time before Christmas.The arrangement suggested by the hon. and learned Member would require the relevant week to be that which contained 25 December in any year and my right hon. Friend has no proposals to introduce such a provision.