HC Deb 25 April 1984 vol 58 cc566-7W
Mr. Ernie Ross

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish the number of people in Dundee claiming supplementary benefit; if he will disaggregate the information for the following groups: (a) pensioners, (b) one-parent family heads and (c) unemployed; and what is the comparable information for four years previously.

Dr. Boyson

Figures for the Dundee local offices are as follows:

Local Office February 1984 (thousands) February 1980 (thousands)
Dundee East
(a) Total number of claimants 11.6 8.1
(b) One-parent families 1.6 1.0
(c) Pensioners 3.0 3.5
(d) Unemployed 5.5 2.7
Dundee West
(a) Total number of claimants 10.4 7.1
(b) One-parent families 1.0 0.6
(c) Pensioners 3.4 3.9
(d) Unemployed 4.4 1.9

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

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many young people studying in their first three months of unemployment have been denied supplementary benefit because their weekly hours of study have exceeded 15 since August 1982; how many of them have appealed to a tribunal and how many to a Commissioner; and in each case how many have won.

Dr. Boyson

[pursuant to his reply, 9 April 1984, c. 116]: Records are not kept on the reasons for refusing individual claims to supplementary benefit and it is not therefore possible to identify the number of cases in which young people have been refused benefit because their hours of study were 15 or more.

Appeals on this issue may be made either to a national insurance local appeal tribunal, on the question of whether a young person is to be treated as in full-time education for child benefit purposes, or to a supplementary benefit appeal tribunal in connection with the young person's supplementary benefit claim. There were 16 appeals to a national insurance local appeal tribunal in the period from August 1982 to April 1984: of these, there were four cases in which it was decided that the young person was not in full-time education and was therefore eligible to claim supplementary benefit, and three cases in which the decision went the other way. Two cases were withdrawn in advance of the hearing, and on seven the outcome is not yet known.

The records on appeals to supplementary benefit appeal tribunals do not identify separately those cases relating to claimants who had been refused benefit while studying for 15 hours or more during the first three months of unemployment. The total number of appeals against the refusal of benefit to unemployed young people treated as receiving relevant education in the period 1 October 1982 to 31 December 1983 was 1,017, of which 73 were successful. Appeals concerning hours of study are thought to make up only a small proportion of these.

There have been three appeals by a claimant to a Social Security Commissioner concerning the refusal of supplementary benefit to a young person whose hours of study were 15 or more. Of these, one was successful and on two the outcome is not yet known.