HC Deb 10 June 1982 vol 25 cc156-7W
Mr. Bowden

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the supplementary benefit policy inspectorate's report on the effects of the capital rule.

Mr. Newton

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to my hon. Friend the Member for Paddington (Mr. Wheeler) on 6 April.—[Vol. 21, c.302.] As he said, we shall be keeping the operation of the rule under review and we continue to welcome any observations which may be made on the report.

Mr. Bowden

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate how many pensioners now able to claim single payments from supplementary benefit will no longer be able to do so after the passage of the Social Security and Housing Benefits Bill; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Rossi

It is estimated that about 55,000 supplementary pensioners will no longer be eligible for supplementary benefit, and thus for single payments, on the introduction of housing benefit. This will arise because these claimants will receive more in weekly benefit from housing benefit than they do now, and will as a result be taken above supplementary benefit levels of income. People with incomes above supplementary benefit levels are not eligible for single payments.

Mr. Field

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report figures giving details of the number of claimants and number of dependants in (a) Birkenhead and (b) England and Wales, claiming supplementary benefit in May 1979 and at the latest available date; and if he will publish the information in categories according to whether the claimant is (i) over retirement age, (ii) unemployed, (iii) sick, (iv) single-parent family and (v) other category.

Mr. Newton

Information is not available in the form requested. However, table 1 shows the numbers claiming in England and Wales, and from the two local offices. in Birkenhead, which may include people who live outside Birkenhead itself. Available information about the number of dependants is given in table 2.

Birkenhead England and Wales
May 1979 February 1982 May 1979 February 1982
Supplementary Pensioners 8,000 8,300 1,553,700 1,558,700
Unemployed Claimants 5,600 10,600 577,500 1,447,100
Sick and Disabled 1,200 1,300 210,300 225,800
Single Parent Families 1,800 2,300 311,100 367,100
Others 200 500 52,600 *85,700
All Supplementary Beneficiaries 16,800 23,000 2,705,200 3,684,400
Note: * Contains 24,000 men aged 60 or over who ceased to register for employment in order to qualify for the long term rate.

Source: 100 per cent. count of cases in action.

Dependents of Supplementary Beneficiaries in England and Wales
November 1979 December 1981
Supplementary Pensioners 300,600 284,000
Unemployed 471,700 1,170,200
Sick and Disabled 61,800 74,700
One-Parent Families 491,300 572,400
Others 25,800 44,800
Total of Beneficiaries 1,351,200 2,146,000


  1. (1) December 1981 figures are provisional.
  2. (2) Information about dependants is available only from annual statistical inquiries in November-December each year.

Source: "Annual Statistical Enquiry".