HC Deb 05 March 1990 vol 168 cc528-9W
56. Mr. Hind

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proportion of claimants entitled to family credit took up their entitlement in the last quarter of 1989; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard

During the last quarter of 1989 almost 244,000 claims for family credit were received, and in the same period 150,000 awards were made. Information about the caseload during that period is not yet complete, and estimates of the total number of families eligible for family credit at that time will be possible only when information becomes available from the 1989 family expenditure survey.

Sir Ian Gilmour

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham on 17 January,Official Report, columns 284–86, what is the Government's policy on the relativity between family credit ceilings and (a) inflation and (b) average earnings.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard

Social security benefits, generally, are increased by reference to the movement in prices rather than earnings. The family credit ceilings derive from the level of the family credit rates, and those rates are reviewed each year in the light of the movement in retail prices excluding housing costs. In fact most of the increases in the family credit rates at the 1989 uprating and again at the 1990 uprating next month represent significantly more than that, as shown in the table.

1989 Uprating per cent. 1990 Uprating per cent.
Increase in RPI (excluding housing costs) 4.7 5.2
Actual Increase in Family Credit rates
Adult Credit 4.7 8.2
Child Credits
aged under 11 21.7 13.0
age 11–15 13.2 9.7
age 16–17 11.2 8.7
age 18 9.1 7.7

Mr. Yeo

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what recent representations he has received regarding the take-up of family credit.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard

The take-up of family credit has been mentioned, in both Houses, during exchanges on the forthcoming increases in social security benefits, but otherwise few representations have been received recently.