HC Deb 16 November 1982 vol 32 cc126-7W
Mr. Peter Bottomley

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the latest figure of the numbers in receipt of family income supplement, divided into one and two-parent families; and what are the latest estimates of the proportion of family income supplement recipients with incomes above the tax threshold and of the take-up of family income supplement.

Mr. Newton

155,000 families were receiving family income supplement at the end of August 1982 and they comprised 86,000 two-parent families and 69,000 lone-parent families. In April 1982, the latest date for which the analysis is available, about 85 per cent. of the 143,000 families then receiving family income supplement had declared weekly incomes above their tax threshold at the time their claim was made.

The latest official estimate of take-up of family income supplement is 15 per cent. and is explained in the report, "The Take-up of Family Income Supplement: Note on the Estimate Derived from the Family Finance Survey" published July 1981, copies of which were placed in the Library.

The family finance survey was conducted over the period of 12 months from October 1978 to September 1979. In the succeeding periods of 12 months, the number of awards rose substantially, as the following table shows:

Period Number of FIS awards (rounded) Percentage increase in succeeding periods compared with the first
1. October 1978 to September 1979 74,000
2. October 1979 to September 1980 90,000 22
3. October 1980 to September 1981 124,000 68
4. October 1981 to September 1982 (estimated) 160,000 116

Some increase was to be expected, because more families were brought into FIS entitlement; the prescribed amounts for example were increased in real terms in the November 1980 uprating and more families headed by a lone parent became eligible because they were able to work a minimum of 24 hours weekly instead of 30 hours. Nevertheless, it seems likely that one of the factors in the continuing significant increase in awards has been an improvement in the level of FIS take-up.