§ Mr. David Atkinson
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his estimate of the number of those who will have their sickness benefit reduced on reaching the official retirement age; what estimate he has made of the cost of maintaining that benefit at the same rate; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Portillo
I regret that the information is not available in the form requested. However a one per cent. sample of the 180,000 people receiving sickness benefit as at 5 April 1986 contained 8 people over pensionable age. Of these, only persons who were entitled to less than 80 per cent. of the full retirement pension would lose benefit. Due to the small numbers in the sample any estimate of the total numbers and cost of maintaining benefit at the same rate for all such people would be unreliable.