§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is satisfied with the reciprocal agreement with Spain about arrangements to pay national insurance contributions and receive unemployment benefit are concerned; and what is the average time a claimant who meets all criteria of the scheme, and last worked and paid class 1 contribution in the United Kingdom, has to wait before unemployment benefit is paid, due to the need to confirm with the Spanish authorities that he made sufficient contributions there to qualify for benefit in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Orme
Yes. In general, the arrangements are working satisfactorily. The average time needed to obtain information about contributions paid to the 173W Spanish scheme is eight to 10 weeks. In a particular case which my hon. Friend may have in mind, my Department is trying to get an earlier reply from the Spanish authorities.