HC Deb 30 April 1986 vol 96 cc429-31W
Mr. Wigley

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, pursuant to his answer of 22 April, Official Report, columns 138–9, on the per capita social security expenditure on benefits in England, Scotland and Wales, he will publish an analysis showing what part of the expenditure arises from (a) supplementary benefit, (b) family income supplement, (c) unemployment benefit, (d) invalidity benefit, (e) benefits associated with disablement, (f) housing benefit and (g) other categories of benefit.

Mr. Major

Information is not available in precisely the form requested. The available information is as follows:

Estimated per capita expenditure 1984–85
England Wales Scotland
Supplementary benefit 116 133 124
Unemployment benefit 28 31 37
Sickness and invalidity benefits 38 81 82
Industrial disablement benefit 7 12 7
Housing benefit 76 71 83
Other benefits* 377 385 367
* Includes retirement pension, widows benefits, war pensions, child benefit and one parent benefit. Excludes other benefits representing about 5 per cent. of total benefit expenditure in Great Britain, for which breakdown is not available.

Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the total spending which has been devoted by his Department to heating assistance benefits in each year since 1978–79 and the number of people who have submitted claims or qualified for such benefits in each year during the same period.

Mr. Newton

[pursuant to his reply, 4 March 1986, c. 125]: The main help with heating costs is through the supplementary benefit scale rates which are intended to cover day-to-day living costs, including the cost of fuel. Information about the extra help with heating costs given through heating additions and single payments of supplementary benefit is as follows:

Supplementary Benefit Heating Additions
Number qualifying (000s) Estimated expenditure £ (millions)
1978–79 1,546 90
1979–80 1,637 108
1980–81 2,036 161
1981–82 2,349 264
1982–83 2,552 339
1983–84 2,585 396

Source: Annual statistical inquiry for years 1978–79 to 1983–84. Firm information for 1984–85 and 1985–86 is not yet available, but the provisional estimate for 1984–85 is about £400 million.

Since Payments for Fuel Bills
Numbers qualifying (000s) Estimated expenditure £ (000s)
1978 12 406
1979 19 686
1980 10 637
1981 6 363
1982 *230 3,306
1983 11 629
* Includes exceptionally severe weather payments.

Source: Annual statistical inquiry for December of the relevant year.


1. Because these figures relate to single payments made during the 12 months preceding the date of each inquiry to people still in receipt of supplementary benefit at the time of that inquiry, they are underestimates of the total number and value of single payments made during the year. Figures are not yet available for 1984 and 1985.

2. Separate statistics collected from local offices show that approximately 278,000 payments were made in respect of extra fuel used during a period of exceptionally severe weather in 1982, at a cost of £3.6 million. In 1985, approximately 170,000 such payments were made at a cost of £1.7 million.