asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the 200 Christmas bonuses referred to in the answer of 22 April, Official Report, c. 144, have now been paid; and if he will consider making payments of interest to cover periods of non-payment of all bonuses which were paid late.
The 200 outstanding cases have now been cleared and bonus payments made where appropriate. The Department has no legal liability to pay interest or compensation where the payment of benefit has been delayed. A scheme is operated, however, under which ex gratia payments can be made in certain cases-where the delay was due to departmental error, has exceeded 12 months and the arrears payable amount to £50 or more. These conditions are not satisfied in the case of the delayed Christmas bonus payments and compensation cannot therefore be paid.