§ Mr. Hume
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement outlining how the Department of Health and Social Services in Northern Ireland estimates or assesses the income of small farmers for the purpose of awarding family income supplement; and whether he has any proposals to change this.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
Claims for family income supplement are determined by independent adjudication officers and in dealing with self employed claimants the net profit derived from the occupation is taken into account. In deciding the net profit of farmers a profit and loss account would first be sought but, if this was not available, the net profit would be estimated using profit margin figures supplied by the Department of Agriculture. There are no proposals to change this system of assessment.