Appeals Tribunals

Oral Answers to Questions — Social Services> – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th April 1987.

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Photo of Mr Eddie Loyden Mr Eddie Loyden , Liverpool, Garston 12:00 am, 7th April 1987

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has any plans to meet the chairman of the Social Security Commission to discuss the future of appeals tribunals.

Photo of Sir Nicholas Lyell Sir Nicholas Lyell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Security)

Officials maintain continuing discussions with the office of the president of social security appeal tribunals and medical appeal tribunals. I have no immediate plans to meet His Honour Judge Byrt, the president.

Photo of Mr Eddie Loyden Mr Eddie Loyden , Liverpool, Garston

Can the Minister give an assurance that the Government intend to maintain the appeals system in the benefits system? Will he take account of the fact that there appears to be some pettifogging bureaucracy that is discouraging people from attending appeals tribunals on the side of the appellants? Will he give a further assurance that he will investigate matters of this sort and see that those friends and other people who attend on behalf of appellants are encouraged, not discouraged?

Photo of Sir Nicholas Lyell Sir Nicholas Lyell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Security)

I can certainly give the assurance that we shall continue the appeals system. It works well. Those claimants who seek to appeal are encouraged to bring people with them. I should make it clear that it is our policy to pay expenses for a friend or witness who comes to a tribunal except where he or she is a paid member of an organisation and is attending in that capacity.