§ Mr. Anthony Grant
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many abortions were performed in England and Wales on girls aged under 16 years and between 16 and 18 years, respectively, for the years 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978.
§ Mrs. Chalker,
pursuant to her reply [Official Report, 23 July 1979; Vol. 971 c.94]gave the following answer:
Information more recent than that given in the supplementary benefits review team's background paper No. 9 is not available. That information, analysing what little data was to hand, is unrepresentative inasmuch that it is based on a small sample and relates only to payments made within the previous 12 months to people receiving supplementary benefit on a particular day. It therefore understates the payments made particularly in respect of short-term claimants. Furthermore it shows only payments identifiable as being specifically for maternity needs, whereas some payments for eg cots, blankets and baby clothes will have been recorded as paid for "furniture", "bedding" and "clothing" and so excluded from the analysis.
I confirm that it is not possible to provide information about exceptional needs payments to women not qualifying for maternity grant without a special exercise to distinguish those supplementary beneficiaries in this position.