§ Mr. Ralph Howell
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, what is his latest estimate of the number of people (a) entitled to and (b) receiving each of the means-tested benefits for which his Department is responsible, including free prescriptions, milk, and so on; and what are the comparable figures for each of the past five years.
§ Mrs Chalker
[pursuant to her reply, 18 July 1980 c. 739]: The information requested is given below so far as it is available.
TABLE 1 NUMBER ESTIMATED TO BE ENTITLED TO, AND NUMBERS ESTIMATED TO BE RECEIVING SUPPLEMENTARY BENEFIT Year Number estimated to be entitled* Number estimated to be receiving at a date November or December 1973 3,780,000 2,675,000 1974 3,580,000 2,680,000 1975 3,630,000 2,793,000 1976 3,820,000 2,940,000 1977 4,040,000 2,991,000† 1978 Not available 2,932,000† 1979 2,855,000† * Excludes those sick or unemployed for less than 3 months and those not living in private households. † Figures from 1977 onwards are not directly comparable with earlier years, due to change in method of estimation.
As to the numbers of families estimated to be entitled to FIS, I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to the hon.269W
TABLE 2 NUMBER OF FAMILIES ESTIMATED TO BE RECEIVING FAMILY INCOME SUPPLEMENT (FIS) Month and year Number estimated to be receiving FIS December 1976 77,000 December 1977 89,000 December 1978 81,000 December 1979 81,000 July 1980 89,000
Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) on October 1979.—[Vol. 972, c. 436–7.]
TABLE 3—NUMBERS ESTIMATED TO BE ENTITLED TO, AND NUMBERS ESTIMATED TO BE RECEIVING FREE WELFARE FOODS ON LOW INCOME GROUNDS Year Number estimated to be entitled Number estimated to be receiving at a date in November or December 1973 220,000 27,000 1974 130,000 16,000 1975 390,000 12,000 1976 500,000 13,000 1977 406,000 17,000 1978 Not available 23,000 1979 23,000
So far as free prescriptions on low income grounds are concerned, it is not possible to know how many of those who satisfy the financial conditions for entitlement also need prescriptions; nor is it possible to say how many people receive free prescriptions on low income grounds, as information is collected on numbers of items dispensed. Similar restrictions apply to the other means-tested benefits for which information is not given.