HC Deb 27 July 1979 vol 971 cc701-2W
Mr. Race

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the cost to public funds at November 1979 benefit rates (a) of making widowed mother's allowance a non-contributory benefit and (b) of extending it to all one-parent families, showing in the calculation the effect of the extra rebates that would be paid, tax receipts that would be generated, and the income from maintenance payments, assuming these to be recovered by the state.

Mrs. Chalker,

pursuant to her reply [Official Report, 24 July 1979; Vol. 971, c.210]gave the following answer:

The only readily available estimates are based on current rates of benefit:

  1. (a) the estimated cost of making widowed mother's allowance a noncontributory benefit would be of the order of £6 million a year;
  2. (b) the cost of extending it to all one-parent families would be something like £600–£700 million. If maintenance payments up to the value of the benefit were taken into account, the cost would be £450–£550 million. The tax yield under both arrangements would be upwards of £100 million. 702 These estimates, which are based on an analysis by the Department of information recorded in the family expenditure survey and a sample of supplementary benefit records, are subject to statistical error. They should not therefore be regarded as anything other than a broad indication of the additional costs. Account has been taken of adjustments to existing social security benefits and rent and rate rebates. The extra cost of rent and rate rebates cannot be identified separately but it would be of relatively little significance in such broad overall estimates.