HC Deb 03 December 1984 vol 69 cc77-8W
Mr. Critchley

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the total sum in unemployment and other benefits paid to the unemployed and the sum paid to those under 20 years, 20 to 30 years, 31 to 40 years, 41 to 50 years, 51 to 60 years and 61 to 65 years, respectively.

Mr. Whitney

The main benefits payable to unemployed people are unemployment benefit, supplementary benefit and housing benefit. The estimated total cost in 1984–85 is £6.5 billion. A breakdown of this total by the age-bands requested is not readily available.

Mr. Freeman

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will consider seeking to give local officers of his Department discretion to continue payment of unemployment benefit without interruption when claimants report income from other sources of less than £4 per week.

Mr. Whitney

Unemployment benefit is paid on a daily basis and the earnings limit is £2 a day. If claimants earn less than this figure, payment of benefit is unaffected. If they earn above the limit, benefit will be adjusted. In either case the flow of payments should not normally be interrupted. There are no plans to change this limit, which has applied since March 1982. Other resources of less than £4 a week do not affect unemployment benefit.