§ Mr. William Ross
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will publish a table in the Official Report showing for Northern Ireland the number of children in respect of which supplementary benefit is being paid in each of the age bands, under 11 years, 11 years to 118W 15 years, 16 years to 17 years and those over 18 years, indicating for each band the total sum estimated for the current financial year and the sums required for the last financial year;
(2) how many single householders in Northern Ireland are receiving supplementary benefit at the latest available date; what were the figures in March 1982; and what is the estimated cost in the current financial year and the cost for the last financial year;
(3) how many married couples are receiving supplementary benefit in Northern Ireland at the latest available date; what were the figures in March 1982; and what is the estimated cost in the current financial year and for the last financial year;
(4) for how many children benefit is now being paid in Northern Ireland; what is the total cost in the current financial year; and how many of those in respect of which it is being paid are above the age of 18 years.
§ Mr. John Patten
Detailed information on the current number and categories of people in receipt of supplementary benefit is not readily available. However the 1981 annual statistical survey—based on a 5 per cent. sample of recipients at 9 December 1981, the latest available information—showed that supplementary benefit was paid for 93,600 children in the age ranges:
Age Numbers Under 11 63,200 11–15 25,6000 16–17 4,300 Over 18 500
Supplementary benefit for children is paid as part of the total award to their parents and the costs cannot be separately identified.
At the same date 61,800 single householders, including widowed, divorced and separated people, and 38,100 married couples were receiving supplementary benefit. An estimate of 1981–82 costs for payments to single householders is not yet available. I will let the hon. Gentleman have the figures when they become available. The estimated 1981–82 costs of supplementary benefits for married couples was £74 million. A reliable estimate for 1982–83 is not available.
At 31 January 1983, child benefit was paid for 467,930 children at an estimated cost of £135.7 million for 1982–83. Information on the number of children over 18 years for whom child benefit is claimed will not be available until later this year. At 31 December 1981 child benefit was paid for 5,174 children over 18 years.