§ 39. Mr. Orbach
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether there has been any increase or decrease over the past decade in the number of women receiving supplementary benefits arising from the failure of their husbands to pay maintenance.
§ Mr. Meacher
I regret that this information is not available as the reasons for payment of supplementary benefit—formerly national assistance—are not analysed. My hon. Friend may, however, wish to know that, on the basis of information obtained annually on the payment of supplementary benefit to various categories of claimants, it is estimated that in 1965 national assistance was being paid to about 104,000 separated wives where it was necessary to pursue the question of liability to maintain, as compared with about 133,000 separated wives receiving supplementary benefit in 1974.