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Unemployment Benefit

Volume 14: debated on Monday 30 November 1981

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asked the Prime Minister whether the procedure can be simplified under which a newly uemployed person may have to visit three offices, the local office of the Department of Health and Social Security, a jobcentre and an unemployment benefit office before obtaining his full entitlement to benefit; and what cost-savings might result from a streamlining of this procedure.

The Rayner scrutiny on payment of benefits to unemployed people, published in March this year together with the Government's initial response, examined these procedures and made recommendations for simplifying them. The Government have accepted that for those aged 18 and over, registration at a job centre should no longer be a condition for receipt of benefits; though unemployed people will naturally want to make use of the job centres in seeking employment.The Social Security and Housing Benefit Bill currently before the House includes powers to implement this change, which will save 1,300 posts in the Department of Employment group. The Government have accepted the desirability of unemployed people having to deal with only one office but are still considering ways of achieving this. In the meantime the Government are pressing ahead with a wide range of procedural changes which will help to streamline the unemployment benefits service, and save about 2,000 more posts.