§ 1. Mr. MacShane
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what measures he will take to ensure regular weekly giro payments of benefits during the winter in Yorkshire.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Social Security (Mr. Roger Evans)
The Benefits Agency aims to ensure that all customers receive their benefit entitlement on time. If, for whatever reasons, delays are experienced, procedures are in place to ensure that claimants receive their benefit entitlement.
§ Mr. MacShane
I tabled the question on behalf of my constituent, Philip John Place of Rotherham, an energetic, out-of-work young man who is taking part in a jobseeker's club—
§ Madam Speaker
Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but it is much better to deal with constituency matters in written representations to the relevant Minister. If the hon. Gentleman has a question, perhaps he will ask it immediately so that the Minister may answer.
§ Mr. MacShane
Will the Minister give my constituents an assurance that when there is bad weather giro payments will be made on the day, and that if there is a delay for any reason a crisis loan will be available at once to save claimants trouble, fear and anxiety? There is such a thing as cold weather in the north of England.
§ Mr. Evans
I cannot comment on Mr. Place, about whom I have no details, but I am aware that there was exceptionally bad weather in the hon. Gentleman's constituency on 27 January. I am advised that, as a result, the Royal Mail had difficulty making deliveries, which is a matter for regret and we apologise. The limited information available to me is that Rotherham office may have made one crisis loan on 27 January. Perhaps that emphasises more than anything the need for the proposals of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to introduce modern benefit payment methods.