The Social Fund

Part of Orders of the Day — Schedule 3 – in the House of Commons at 9:15 pm on 14th March 1988.

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Photo of Mr Michael Portillo Mr Michael Portillo , Enfield, Southgate 9:15 pm, 14th March 1988

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

The amendment was introduced to provide that Parliament should receive an annual report on the operation of the social fund.

I envisage that the report will include details of the types of applicants who received or were refused social fund grants and loans, as well as the numbers of payments and refusals and the purposes for which payments were or were not made. There will be information on the operation of the review process: numbers of applications, numbers of successful local office reviews, numbers of reviews referred to social fund inspectors, and so on; bearing in mind, of course, that the social fund commissioner will be preparing her own report and that we should aim to avoid duplication. The report will certainly include financial information and it is clearly necessary to have information provided on a regional basis rather than on a purely national basis. Finally, I would expect to see some general commentary on the operation of the scheme.

I trust that the House will accept what I have said in earnest, and will look forward to as much, and more, information on the actual operation of the social fund as we have endeavoured to provide in advance.

When the amendment was introduced in another place, it was greeted by Lord Ennals who said: My Lords, from these Benches I warmly thank the Minister for this amendment. It is good that he has made a commitment, and it is good that he has stood by that commitment. From our side we warmly welcome this." —[Official Report, House of Lords, 10 March 1988; Vol. 494, c. 862.] I hope that it will be equally warmly welcomed here.