HC Deb 12 October 1976 vol 917 cc108-9W
35. Mr. Fernyhough

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take action to relieve the anxiety caused particularly to men in their late 50s and early 60s, who remain unemployed after their unemployment is exhausted and who, because they have saved for their retirement when 65 years of age, are not entitled in many cases to any supplementary benefit until such times as most of the said savings have been spent.

Mr. Deakins

No. Unemployment benefit has always been limited in duration, and the present system effectively bridges the gap between employment for most claimants. The longer-term unemployed need a more flexible kind of benefit, provided by the supplementary benefits scheme, which ensures help to any whose resources are insufficient to meet their living expenses. In assessing supplementary benefit, savings and capital of less than £1,250 are completely ignored; but it would be wrong to disregard completely more substantial sums of capital.