§ Mr. Ralph Howell
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his estimate of the cost of implementing NI 248 November 1983 about equal treatment for men and women claiming benefit (a) in 1984–85 and (b) in 1985–86 if all those eligible take up all benefit changes to which they are entitled.
§ Dr. Boyson
It is estimated that benefit expenditure will increase by about £25 million in 1984–85 and £31 million in 1985–86 as a result of the changes described in leaflet NI 248. The estimate is based on assumptions about eligibility and take-up and makes some allowance for behavioural changes—for example where a wife makes herself available for work in order to claim supplementary benefit. The maximum number who could be eligible would depend on the interaction of these various factors. The estimate also assumes that the provisions of clauses 6 and 7 of the Health and Social Security Bill will be implemented from November 1984.