HC Deb 27 May 1968 vol 765 c1206
14. Sir B. Rhys Williams

asked the Minister of Social Security what is the number of individual tests of means she estimates will be carried out by her Department during the financial year 1968–69, and the total administrative cost involved.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Social Security (Mr. Charles Loughlin)

It is estimated that about 6¼ million claims for benefits subject to a test of means will be received, in 1968–69, including second and subsequent claims in that year; and that the immediate administrative cost to my Department of dealing with them will be of the order of £5½ million.

Sir B. Rhys Williams

Would the hon. Gentleman not agree that it is a very serious criticism of the National Insurance system that more than 2½ million people are now obliged to apply for supplementary benefits on top of their National Insurance?

Mr. Loughlin

Rather than this being undesirable, I would have thought that the fact that we have put in additional benefits at supplementary benefit level is very desirable, compared with what applied when we came into power.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Why is the means test now called the test of means?

Mr. Louehlin

Test of needs.