HC Deb 26 February 1985 vol 74 c124W
Mr. Leighton

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will estimate what percentage the average unemployed person gets in benefits of the income he or she could expect if he or she had a job.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

Precise up-to-date information on the previous or likely earnings of the unemployed is not available. However, in April 1984 the standard unemployment benefit — including child benefit but excluding any supplementary allowances — for a man with a wife and two dependent children was £57.05. This was about 37 per cent. of the average gross weekly earnings of full-time male employees working a full week for manual occupations or about 32 per cent. for all occupations. A study by the Department of Health and Social Security in autumn 1978 indicated that the average usual gross weekly earnings of full-time men currently unemployed were just under 80 per cent. of those of all currently employed men. If this relationship has not changed significantly between 1978 and 1984, the above standard unemployment benefit figure in April 1984 would probably be just over 40 per cent. of the average usual gross weekly earnings of those currently employed. This comparison does not take account of supplementary allowances which will vary from individual to individual.

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