HC Deb 26 January 1989 vol 145 cc711-2W
Mr. Gregory

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will provide an analysis of the growth of the social security programme between 1978–79 and 1988–89.

Mr. Scott

Since 1978–79, social security expenditure has increased by 33 per cent, in real terms, from £35.8 billion to £47.6 billion in 1988–89 prices. Just over half of this real growth can be explained by increases in the numbers of beneficiaries for which the social security

  • Kilmarnock
  • Port Glasgow

The information available is set out in the tables.

system now provides and one third by increases in the average amounts of benefit paid. The Government's commitment to meeting genuine needs has seen social security spending rise from 25.6 per cent, of public spending in 1978–79 to 31 per cent, in 1988–89.

The main groups benefiting from the growth of the programme have been: pensioners: expenditure on the elderly has increased by about £4.1 billion in real terms. This substantial rise in social security spending has taken place at the same time as the rapid growth of occupational and personal pensions and the higher income from savings which many pensioners now enjoy. The result is that pensioners' incomes from all sources have increased by 23 per cent, in real terms between 1979 and 1986. long term sick and disabled: expenditure has grown by 90 per cent, (almost £3.5 billion) in real terms. About half a million more people now receive invalidity benefit than in 1978–79 and there has been a similar increase in the numbers receiving attendance allowance. The numbers receiving mobility allowance have increased fivefold from less than one hundred thousand to more than half a million over the period. the family: total benefit support for the family has increased by 25 per cent, in real terms over the period. Spending on family credit in 1988–89 is expected to be on target at over £400 million. This is more than double the spending on family income supplement which it replaced.