§ Mrs. Currie
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he proposes to publish the low income families tables for 1983; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Major
The tables have been placed in the Library of the House today.
Since the Government first came to office, the real value of supplementary benefit has risen by around 6 per cent., and by more for some families with children. Between the last two years in the tables the real rates rose by about 2+ per cent. Up to one third of the total increase in the number of families included in the tables is directly due to this improvement in the help provided for those most in need.
The technical assumptions underlying the low-income families tables have remained largely unaltered since the first analysis was undertaken. I have therefore set in train a technical review of the methods and assumptions on which the tables are based. Any improvements in measurement methods should be reflected in future issues of the tables. On the wider question of alternative approaches to the measurement of living standards, I refer my hon. Friend to the discussion in the Green Paper "Reform of Social Security" (Cmnd. 9519) Volume 3.