HC Deb 15 March 1993 vol 221 cc11-2
11. Mr. Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the cost of advertising the disability living allowance and disability working allowance in 1991–92; and what is his estimate of the total expenditure on such advertising for 1992–93.

The Minister for Social Security and Disabled People (Mr. Nicholas Scott)

The answer is £6.4 million and £1.9 million respectively.

Mr. Flynn

Was the £2.5 million spent at this time last year on advertising those benefits an act of incompetence or something worse, as 94 per cent. of applicants for disability working allowance did not qualify because they were cruelly misled by Government advertising, which was targeted on winning the election for the Tories? Will the Government repay that £2.5 million in taxpayers' money and tell us where the £17 million donated anonymously to the Tory party's election chest by foreign millionaires came from? The Italians have confessed that their electoral—

Madam Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is straying a long way from the question. He was perfectly in order at the beginning.

Mr. Scott

Our advertising for disability living allowance, which formed part of the hon. Gentleman's question, was spectacularly successful in attracting claimants for that allowance and has resulted in more than 400,000 awards in the intervening period. I, too, am disappointed in the take-up of disability working allowance, but it is a new concept and many people confused the two allowances and claimed for the wrong one. I am anxious to ensure that as many people as possible can take advantage of disability working allowance, which, for the first time and almost uniquely in the world, will provide disabled people who wish to work and who are able to do so with the option of having their earnings topped up by a Government benefit.

Mr. Clifton-Brown

Can my right hon. Friend quantify the total increase in expenditure on the disabled since 1979?

Mr. Scott

In broad terms and in real terms, expenditure has trebled since the Labour Government left office and we assumed responsibility for such matters.

Ms Eagle

If the disability working allowance is such a success, how many people are receiving it?

Mr. Scott

Perhaps the hon. Lady was rehearsing her supplementary question rather than listening to what I said. I said that I was disappointed with the take-up of disability working allowance and was anxious to see—[HON. MEMBERS: "How many?"] About 2,500 people receive disability working allowance and I am anxious that that is increased as quickly as possible. A little bit of help, instead of those sort of remarks from Opposition Members, would help us to spread knowledge of this benefit. They could help in that way.

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