§ Mr. Meacher
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the expenditure on earnings-related unemployment benefit each year since 1975, at current and at 1990 prices; and what is the estimated saving in public expenditure from the abolition of earnings-related unemployment benefit each year since 1982 and cumulatively, at current and at 1990 prices.
§ Mrs. Gillian Shephard
Expenditure on earnings-related unemployment benefit from 1975 to 1982 is shown in the table.
£ million Original price 1990–91 price 1975–76 73 247 1976–77 87 254 1977–78 92 248 1978–79 90 214 1979–80 85 171
Original price 1990–91 price 1980–81 170 306 1981–82 176 292
Information on the expenditure saving from the abolition of earnings-related unemployment benefit each year since 1982 is not available. In 1982 it was estimated that the public expenditure saving in the first full year from the abolition of earnings-related unemployment benefit was around £100 million at 1982–83 prices; this converts to about £150 million at 1990–91 prices. Following recent research into the work history of the newly unemployed, it is now estimated that if earnings-related unemployment benefit were to be reintroduced the gross cost would be around £200 million in the current financial year. There would be an offsetting saving of about £50 million on income support.