HC Deb 26 November 1981 vol 13 c435W
Q21. Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

asked the Prime Minister if she will increase the level of supplementary benefit paid to the long-term unemployed.

Mr. Whitelaw

I have been asked to reply.

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said to the hon. Member in July of this year—[Vol. 8, c. 73]—we have every sympathy with the problems faced by those who have been unemployed for a long time. With effect from 23 November, unemployed men of 60 or over who have been receiving supplementary benefit for a year or more and decide not to register for work have become eligible for the long-term rate of supplementary benefit. Before we can consider any further extension of entitlement to the long term rate to unemployed people, we must make progress in restoring the nation's economy and thus increasing opportunities for employment.