HC Deb 25 July 1986 vol 102 c716W
Mrs. Beckett

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list each change made since 1979 in the calculation, level, entitlement to, or payment of social security benefits other than the indexation which took place during the 1978–79 financial year giving for each (a) the estimated first-year revenue effects in current prices and (b) the cumulative estimated revenue effects up to August 1986, or the most recent available date.

Mr. Newton

To attempt to assemble such a list would entail disproportionate cost, and a calculation of the kind requested at(b) of the hon. Lady's question would involve so wide a range of assumptions about the interaction of successive measures as to make it of doubtful practicality and questionable worth. However, section 3.15 of volume II of the January 1986 public expenditure White Paper (Cmnd. 9702-II) gives some broad estimates of the main factors contributing to the increase of £17.7 billion in the social budget between 1980–81 and 1985–86, which represents an increase of 30 per cent. in real terms.

Mr. Clay

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish the latest take-up estimates for family income supplement, one-parent benefit, free welfare milk, free school meals, standard housing benefit, certificated housing benefit, and housing benefit supplement, derived from the 1983 families with low income tables showing for each benefit (a) the number entitled to benefit, (b) the proportion receiving benefit, (c) the number eligible but not receiving benefit, (d) the estimated amount of benefit unclaimed and (e) the average weekly amount unclaimed.

Mr. Major

[pursuant to his reply, 24 July 1986]: The latest available information is as follows (take-up figures for 1983 are not yet available):