§ Mr. Wareing
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action he has taken to ensure an increased take-up of non-contributory invalidity pension and higher non-contributory invalidity pension prior to the introduction of the severe disablement allowance; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Newton
In order to ensure maximum take-up of both severe disablement allowance and non-contributory invalidity pension (including housewives' noncontributory invalidity pension), we have mounted a £400,000 advertising campaign utilising the national newspapers and magazines and specialist, professional and disabled people's media. As a direct result of this campaign we have already received over 30,000 requests for leaflets and claim forms.
In addition, as the hon. Member will be aware from my reply to him on 21 June, at column 241, we have carried out a special exercise to invite claims from those currently drawing supplementary benefit who appear to have 571W underlying title to non-contributory invalidity pension. As at 25 September some 52,000 invitations had been issued, and 28,200 claims had been received, of which 14,300 have so far resulted in awards of benefit.
Overall, new claims for non-contributory invalidity pension and housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension are currently running at over four times the number received for the corresponding period last year.