Clause 5 - Amendments to Pensions Appeal Tribunals Act 1943

Part of Armed Forces – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:15 am on 24th February 2004.

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Constitutional Affairs) 9:15 am, 24th February 2004

The pensions appeal tribunal case load has been small compared with the other matters that social security commissioners consider, including child support, decisions for vulnerable lone parents, general pension matters for older people and appeals on serious accidents at work. The commissioners are specialists, and the number of appeals in the other areas is significantly higher than in pensions appeals tribunals. I am happy to keep an eye on the figures in the next few years to see how the new system is working and to record them in Hansard as is appropriate. However, all the signs are that the numbers will remain about the same, that the necessary specialism lies in the tribunal and that legal help is available to those who need it.

As I have said, the amendment has drawn attention to a drafting oversight whereby the expenses of regime of the commissioners has not been extended to appeals to the PAT. We have responded with a Government amendment, and an amendment to the Social Security Act 1998 is to be included in clause 7, which deals with appeals and amendments. I shall discuss it at the relevant time.

Given my comments, I invite the hon. Member for Aldershot to withdraw his amendment.