asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why, in view of the recommendation which the social security appeal tribunal held in Wick on 20 November 1986, made in the case of a constituent of the hon. Member for Caithness and Suntherland (Tribunal Registration No. 2/06) that he should not recover an overpayment which had arisen, his Department is seeking to do so; and if he will make a statement.
Questions as to whether an overpayment of benefit has occurred and whether the overpayment is recoverable are for the independent adjudicating authorities to decide. Once they have decided that an overpayment is recoverable, it is for the Secretary of State to decide whether recovery should be pursued. In the case to which the hon. Member refers the tribunal decided that his constituent had been overpaid and that the amount was recoverable. I have written to the hon. Member further to my letter of 27 April about his constituent's case.