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Volume 79: debated on Tuesday 21 May 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services in what circumstances interest is paid on overdue benefit payments.

There is no statutory provision for the payment of interest on overdue benefit payments. Since 1977, however, following a recommendation from the Select Committee on the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, the Department has made ex gratia payments of interest in cases where payment of benefit was delayed as a direct result of clear and unambiguous Departmental error. The precise criteria for payment were agreed with the Parliamentary Commissioner, and follow closely the statutory provisions for payment of interest on overpayments of tax.