§ Mr. Edwin Wainwright
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to ensure that persons residing in the Swinton, Kilnhurst and Wath-upon-Dearne areas will be allowed to register their claims for social security benefits, and also to receive payments, at the Mexborough, Ardwick Road, Department of Health and Social Security office and not to have to travel to the Rotherham, Chiltern House, Department of Health and Social Security offices to register and be paid their claims for benefits.
§ Mr. Orme
The Department's longstanding policy, in the interests of all concerned, is to establish a network of local offices providing a service for both contributory and supplementary benefits and having boundaries aligned with local authority social service areas, and where possible with housing authority areas as well. The provision for Swinton, Kilnhurst and Wath-on-Deame follows this policy. Details of the Department's proposed changes in the local office network in South Yorkshire have been known for the past two years, and I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of the letter sent to him by the Regional Controller at the time. I regret that I cannot alter the plans at this late stage.599W
§ Mr. Freud
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is now the maximum distance from the home of a claimant to a Department of Health and Social Security office in respect of which no transportation grant is given;
(2) whether he proposes to allow any relief to claimants of benefits who have to pay for their transportation to Department of Health and Social Services offices; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Deakins
As regards claims to national insurance benefits, travelling expenses can be refunded if a claimant has been asked to call at the local office or if he calls on account of an error on his claim. As regards claims to supplementary benefit, travelling expenses can be refunded for a claimant living beyond reasonable walking distance if he has been asked to call or if he calls on his own accord with good reason. It is for the local office to decide what is reasonable walking distance in the individual case. No maximum distance that the claimant is expected to walk is specified.