§ Sir Brandon Rhys Williams
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what arrangements are being made to enable local offices of his Department operating the supplementary benefit scheme to submit evidence to the review; if he will publish such evidence; and if he will make a statement.
§ Dr. Boyson
A notice has been issued to all staff in local offices, giving details of the reviews and inviting staff to submit evidence. We have no plans to publish such evidence.
§ Mr. Ashley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the estimated annual cost of the reduction from two years to one in the time long-term sick and disabled people had to wait before becoming eligible for supplementary benefit; and what is the estimated annual number who benefit from the change.
§ Dr. Boyson
I assume that the right hon. Member is referring to the provision under which receipt of long-term incapacity benefits is a qualification for entitlement to the supplementary benefit long-term scale rate in the same way as receipt of supplementary benefit at the ordinary rate. The qualifying period of receipt of such benefit is a year. This was the solution to the invalidity trap introduced in November 1983, which it is estimated benefitted in the region of 30,000 people. Previously people in receipt of invalidity benefit at a rate higher than the ordinary rate of supplemenary benefit but lower than the long-term rate could never qualify for supplementary benefit.
§ Dr. Godman
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what was the total number of supplementary benefit claimants in the Greenock travel-to-work area for the last month for which statistics are available and the figure for the comparable month in 1983;
(2) what was the total number of unemployed people claiming supplementary benefit in the Greenock travel-to-work area during the last month for which statistics are available and the figure for the comparable month in 1983;
(3) what was the total number of supplementary benefit appeals registered in the Greenock travel-to-work area for the last month for which statistics are available.
§ Dr. Boyson
Thirty-four supplementary benefit appeals were registered at the Greenock local office during the four weeks ending 3 July 1984. The number of cases256W handled by that office in May 1984, the latest available period, and the comparable figures for May 1983 were as follows:
May 1984 (thousands) May 1983 (thousands) Total number claiming supplementary benefit 10.1 9.8 Unemployed people claiming supplementary benefit 3.8 4.0