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Christmas Bonus

Volume 977: debated on Tuesday 29 January 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what evidence he has as to the number of people who have received their Christmas bonus of £10 twice, once from the office of his Department at Newcastle and once from their local social services office; and what steps he proposes to take in the matter.

On the experience of previous years I would expect there to have been a few thousand duplicate payments of bonus in 1979 most of which will have been recovered without loss to the Exchequer. Unfortunately the complexity of the social security scheme can have these results but I hope that the review in progress will help to minimise these.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the total sum paid by his Department as a Christmas bonus to persons in receipt of social security or family income supplement; and what was the reason for such payments.

An estimated £103 million was paid to recipients of the 1979 Christmas bonus in Great Britain. Broadly speaking, the bonus went to pensioners, widows and the long-term sick and disabled under pension age. Family income supplement was never one of the qualifying benefits for receipt of the bonus. Past bonuses have proved popular and the Pensioners' Payments and Social Security Act 1979 therefore made provision for them to be paid annually.