§ Mr. Field
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list for the periods the first quarter of 1979 and the second quarter of 1979 (a) the total number of exceptional needs payments made during those periods (b) the total number of average amount of single item exceptional needs payments made for essential furniture and household equipment during 383W those periods, (c) the total number and average amount of single item exceptional needs payments made for bedding during those periods, (d) the total number of multi-item exceptional needs payments most of which were made for essential furniture and household equipment during those periods, (e) the total number of multi-item exceptional needs payments, most of which were made for bedding during those periods and (f) the total amount paid out for all exceptional needs payments during those periods.
§ Mrs. Chalker
The information needed to answer parts (b)—(e) of this question could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. These statistics are collected by the Department in 12-week periods. In the 12 weeks ending on 15 May 1979, 266,781 exceptional needs payments were made at a cost of £8,511,822; in the 12 weeks ending 7 August 1979, 259,758 payments at a cost of £8,838,226.
§ Mr. Field
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many exceptional needs payments for furniture and household equipment were made in each of the years 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978 and in the first and second quarters of 1979, to supplementary benefit claimants who were themselves, or had a dependant who was (a) a pensioner, (b) a child under 16 years, (c) a pregnant woman, (d) someone moving house because of bereavement, divorce or marital breakdown, (e) someone moving out of accommodation provided by statutory authorities or voluntary organisations where he was receiving special care or attention, (f) a chronically sick or disabled person or (g) a claimant who was in receipt of supplementary benefit for at least six months continuously and for whom there is no prospect of an immediate return to work.
§ Mrs. Chalker
Information about the items for which exceptional needs payments are made is obtained only once a year, and relate to payments made in the previous 12 months to claimants receiving benefit on a particular day in November/December. An analysis for the years listed can be found in table 7.4 of the Supplementary Benefits Commission's annual report for 1976—Cmnd. 6910—and table 15.4 of its report for 1978—Cmnd. 7725. Separate information is available for only the first category specified,384W pensioners—to whom payments for furniture and household equipment were made as follows:1974, 20,000; 1975, 21,000; 1976, 27,000; 1977, 38,000; 1979, 39,000.