§ Q12. Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
asked the Prime Minister what percentage of average male earnings was unemployment benefit for a man who had been out of work for two months and was married with two children in May 1979; and how this compares with May 1980, 1981 and 1982.
§ The Prime Minister
In May 1979 a married man with two children who had previously been on average male earnings would have received unemployment benefit, earnings-related supplement and child benefit which amounted to 59.7 per cent.—£48.49—of the net income of his employed counter-part—a more relevant comparison than with his gross earnings. The corresponding figure for May 1980 is 55.9 per cent.—£55.85; and the provisional figure for May 1981 is 52.2 per cent.—£57.50. A comparable figure for May 1982 will not be available until mid-July. This situation changes significantly if one takes into account the supplementary benefit position. Assuming the two children were under age 5, supplementary benefit scale rates with heating addition and an average rent addition for an unemployed claimant amounted to 53.8 per cent., 54 per cent. and 60.8 per cent. of that net income at May 1979, May 1980 and May 1981 respectively.