§ 7. Mr. Cyril Smith
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many lone parents in the last year claimed supplementary benefit and/or family income supplement; how many of these were investigated for possible breach of the cohabitation rule; how many of these cases were proved; and how many resulted in prosecution.
§ Mr. O'Malley
The number of lone parents who claimed supplementary benefit in the last year is not known; but it is provisionally estimated that some 300,000 were receiving supplementary benefit in December 1975. About 31,000 were receiving family income supplement at the end of 1975.
Special investigations took place in about 10,000 supplementary benefit cases, resulting in withdrawal of benefit in about 4,000 cases and prosecution in about 550. A sample enquiry in 1974 showed that benefit is withdrawn or refused in a further 4,000 cases a year where special investigation is not necessary. During 1975 three claimants were prosecuted for falsely claiming family income supplement as lone parents and of a further 11 claims investigated benefit was withdrawn in three cases.
§ 47. Mr. Jim Lester
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether she will consider a sliding scale supplementary benefit disregard for one-parent families.
§ Mr. Meacher
The use of sliding scale supplementary benefit disregards has been considered but has been rejected because of the additional complication it would introduce into supplementary benefit assessment.
§ Mr. Cordle
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if she will list each of the recommendations of the Finer Report which has yet to be accepted in principle by her; and if she will make a statement detailing each such recommendation and reasons why the same has yet to be accepted; 88W (2) if she will list each of the recommendations of the Finer Report which she now accepts and proposes should be put into effect, together, in each case, with the date upon which it is proposed each shall be put into effect.
§ Mr. O'Malley
The recommendations in the Finer Committee's Report involve both local authorities and a number of Government Departments. Of the recommendations for which my right hon. Friend is responsible, the following is the information requested (the numbers refer to the recommendation number in Part 9 of the Report):