§ Sir James Kilfedder
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the application of the Social Security Revaluation of Earnings Factors (Northern Ireland) Order 1992 as it applies to additional pension paid with invalidity benefit.
§ Mr. Hanley
The policy intention has been that the Revaluation Order should apply to additional pensions paid with invalidity benefit. Legal advice is that provisions enacted in the Social Security (Northern Ireland) Order 1990, and carried forward into the Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992, have not given full effect to this. This means an estimated £228,000 paid between April 1992 and April 1993 will have been paid on a basis which is incorrect on the strict interpretation of the law. We intend to continue payments on an extra-statutory basis to ensure that claimants receive a level of benefits in line with the policy intention. Appropriate primary authority will be obtained in due course. The total amount paid on this basis, initially estimated at a cost of £20,000 (rounded) per month, will be reported in a note to the Department of Health and Social Services appropriation account.