HC Deb 07 November 1978 vol 957 cc107-8W
54. Mr. Costain

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many non-resident claimants of social security benefits within four weeks of arrival in the United Kingdom there have been in the last 12 months for which statistics are available.

Mr. Deakins

Records of the numbers of such claimants are not kept.

57. Mr. McCrindle

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what plans he has to end the discrepancy between the bases for increases in short-term and long-term social benefits, respectively.

Mr. Orme

The current uprating provisions are laid down in the Social Security Act 1975 but, following a recommendation of the Expenditure Committee in its Eighth Report for the Session 1977–78, I am putting in hand a review of those provisions and in due course will present to the House an analysis of the alternative policy options. The review will cover the different statutory provisions for uprating long-term and short-term benefits.

60. Mr. Michael Spicer

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the administrative cost of supplementary benefit for each £1 of benefit paid to claimants.

Mr. Deakins

Approximately 12p.

63. Mr. Hugh Jenkins

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, as the cost of administering means-tested benefits is much greater than that of paying benefits by right, he will seek to reduce the former and increase the latter.

Mr. Orme

It is the Government's policy to reduce dependence on means-tested benefits, and our new pensions and child benefits schemes are important steps in that direction. We have also introduced a number of benefits as of right for the disabled. However, administrative savings are likely to be greatly exceeded by the extra cost of universal benefits.

71. Mrs. Chalker

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is satisfied with the proposed increase in long-term benefits in November 1978.

Mr. Orme

Yes. The increase in pensions and other long-term benefits which will take effect in the week beginning 13th November will fulfil the statutory requirements of the Social Security Act 1975, and will substanially increase their real value compared with November 1977, when they were last increased.