HC Deb 17 February 1978 vol 944 cc412-3W
Miss Joan Lestor

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will compare the services provided under Section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, per 1,000 of the population, by (a) Berkshire County Council, and (b) the City of Manchester.

Mr. Alfred Morris

The information in respect of 1976–77 is as follows:

than one wife; on what basis he is able to state that there are only a few of such persons claiming supplementary social security payments; how and in what way he has made a check on such persons to enable him to say that there are only a few.

Mr. Orme

Departmental inquiries were made recently in a number of different areas. I do not think it would be helpful to other hon. Members to name the areas involved but I can confirm the inquiries covered by the London borough of Newham. These inquiries revealed that very few instances were known to departmental officers of supplementary benefit being paid for a man in respect of two wives but precise figures are not available and could not be obtained without disproportionate cost. No instances have come to my Department's attention of a man receiving benefit in respect of more than two wives. I am aware that there are no records of the number of men who may have entered Great Britain with more than one wife.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether he will take action, if need be by legislation, to ensure that no man is entitled to claim social security benefits for more than one wife or mistress;

(2) whether the rule concerning claiming and receiving supplementary benefits for more than one wife, applies to a man with one wife and a mistress; and where a religion entitles a man to four wives, if he would be entitled to claim benefits for the four;

(3) whether, in addition to claiming supplementary benefits for more than one wife, a man can also claim for the children from more than one wife;

(4) whether his ruling that any man can claim supplementary benefits for any number of wives provided they are living with him, applies to a man with mistresses of any given number.

Mr. Orme

If a man satisfies the normal conditions for receiving supplementary benefit he may make a claim for any dependants living in the same household irrespective of their marital status. The amount of benefit paid to the man is normally calculated on the basis of the total resources and requirements of all those living in the household but the Supplementary Benefits Commission takes account of the circumstances in individual households. It

1971 1976
Thousands (Per cent. who were of West Indian origin*) Thousands (Per cent. who were of West Indian origin*)
All ages 1,371 (40) 1,771 (34)
0–14 558 (46) 684
15–24 233 (29) 353
25–44 439 (39) 509
45 and over 141 (42) 224
* Including Guyana and Belize.
The figures include persons born in this country to parents of NCWP ethnic origin and persons of mixed descent (with only one parent of NCWP ethnic origin).