HC Deb 06 April 1971 vol 815 cc222-3
7. Mr. Ashley

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now give an estimate of the number of people who are not claiming the social security benefits to which they are entitled.

Sir K. Joseph

If the hon. Member is referring to supplementary benefits, no firm estimate is possible. But there is reason to believe that, so far as the elderly are concerned, the number who are not claiming the supplementary pension to which they are entitled is now well below what it was before the introduction of the supplementary benefits scheme in 1966.

Mr. Ashley

Is it not deplorable that so little thought has been given to people who can claim rightful benefit that no estimates of the figures can be made? Would the Minister consider setting up a committee to investigate the problem of those who can claim the rightful benefit, on the same lines as those on which he has already set up a committee to investigate the problem of those who make fraudulent claims?

Sir K. Joseph

We know enough to be very disquieted about the low proportions of people taking up many of the benefits. But we are starting a massive take-up campaign this very month.