HC Deb 12 May 1983 vol 42 cc498-9W
Mr. Ashley

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many welfare benefit campaigns his Department has been aware of since May 1979; if he will list them, giving the amount of additional claims resulting from the campaign and the cost of the campaign; and to what extent his Department monitors such campaigns.

Mr. Newton

It would involve disproportionate cost to provide the information requested for every welfare benefits campaign since May 1979. Details of the major campaigns which have taken place are as follows:

Postcards/leaflets issued (Approx figure) Supplementary benefit claims received New awards of supplementary benefit made Single payments authorised to existing supplementary benefit recipients
Wolverhampton (1981) 90,000 2,551 194 613
Newcastle (1982) 125,000 1,527 63 642
Cleveland (1982) 212,000 931 150 281
Birmingham (1982) 430,000 19,503 1,213 5,444

The adminstrative cost of dealing with claims prompted by take-up campaigns is not separately recorded and the Department has sought information about the costs falling on organisers of them. The Department monitors campaigns in the simple way exemplified by the above table. Its local administration naturally becomes more or less closely involved in the organisation of take-up campaigns, and the Government welcome well-targeted ones.

Mr. Ashley

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much his Department has spent in each of the last five years on encouraging take-up of welfare benefits by (a) advertisement and (b) advice; and how much expenditure is planned for the future.

Mr. Newton

The amount spent by the Department on advertising to encourage the take-up of welfare benefits is as follows:

1978–79 396,000
1979–80 570,000
1980–81 371,000
1981–82 469,000
1982–83 †1,304,000
1983–84* †1,257,000
* (budgeted)
It is not possible to estimate how much has been spent, directly and indirectly, on providing advice.
† Includes expenditure connected with the launch of Housing Benefit and Statutory Sick Pay.