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Benefit Offices (Bedfordshire)

Volume 35: debated on Tuesday 18 January 1983

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22.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is satisfied with the number and location of supplementary benefit offices in the county of Bedfordshire; and if he will make a statement.

I recognise the need to provide an integrated local office in Dunstable to cover the south Bedfordshire area; otherwise, I am satisfied with the number and location of supplementary benefit offices in the county of Bedfordshire. As my hon. Friend knows, a site for a Crown building has been acquired in Dunstable, but lack of funds has prevented its construction and an early start is not anticipated. However, unemployed people who wish to claim supplementary benefit no longer have to attend their local DHSS office. Since 6 December 1982 they have been able to claim by post, and this arrangement is of particular benefit in areas such as south Bedfordshire, where claimants may live some distance from their nearest supplementary benefit office.