§ Mr. Meacher
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services under what statutory authority the Supplementary Benefits Commission advances the cost of repatriation of immigrants, on the basis that it is subsequently repayable; and in what other circumstances recipients of supplementary bengfit, other than persons in fulltime work, are asked to repay it subsequently.
§ Mr. Dean
Help with repatriation expenses is given at the discretion of the commission under Section 7 of the Ministry of Social Security Act, 1966. These awards are not statutorily recoverable but successful claimants are invited to sign an undertaking to repay the amount awarded. (Repayment is not pressed if it would cause hardship.) Other claimants are occasionally invited to repay benefit where it seems reasonable to do so, for example, where benefit has had to be paid merely because an expected 255W remittance has been delayed in the post or when a wife's maintenance payment from her separated husband has not been received on time.
§ Mr. Meacher
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many advances of the cost of repatriation made to immigrants by the Supplementary Benefits Commission have been repaid in each of the last three years.
§ Mr. Dean
I regret that it would not be possible without disproportionate effort to give the number of cases where refunds or part-refunds were made but the total amounts recovered were:
1968 1969 1970 £1,033 £1,172 £1,347
Free Welfare Milk and Foods Prescriptions Dental Optical Number of Received Claims Successful Number of Received Claims Successful Number of Received Claims Successful Number of Received Claims Successful Week ending: 22nd June, 1971 … 3,895 3,425 3,422 2,831 4,136 2,940 6,469 4,728 29th June, 1971 … 4,027 2,059 4,079 1,992 5,626 2,087 9,237 3,549 6th July, 1971 … 3,214 2,153 3,377 1,952 4,567 2,119 7,338 3,292 13th July, 1971 … 2,571 1,820 2,744 1,728 4,248 2,448 6,833 4,003 20th July, 1971 … 2,880 1,844 2,653 1,673 4,269 2,239 6,813 3,785 Total for period 1st April–20th July, 1971 148,828 77,692 105,257 51,344 73,646 30,962 128,025 55,073
- (i) Figures in the "Successful" columns indicate awards made in a particular week but these do not necessarily relate to the claims received in that week.
- (ii) Figures for the period 1st–20th April have had to be estimated from the return for the period 24lh March to 20th April, 1971.