HC Deb 15 April 1991 vol 189 cc90-1W
23. Ms. Armstrong

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much has been spent on advertising family credit since September 1989; and by how many the number of recipients has increased.

Mr. Jack

There were 319,000 family credit awards in payment for September 1989. The number then fell every month until the end of the year, when it stood at 298,000. Further advertising from mid-November and subsequently cost a total of £6.1 million. The caseload then rose each month from January 1990 until July when it reached 326,000 and then averaged well over 320,000 throughout the second half of 1990. This is a considerable achievement when viewed against the background of a constantly changing eligible population.

24. Mr. Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proportion of new claims for family credit was unsuccessful in the last month for which information is available.

Mr. Jack

Some 48.4 per cent. of new family credit claims cleared during March 1991 were unsuccessful. This includes claims which were withdrawn or invalid, as well as those where it was decided that the family was not entitled to benefit.

Mr. Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what level of family credit award is necessary(a) to activate entitlement to other benefits for which entitlement to or receipt of family credit is a condition and (b) prevents the claimant from making a new claim for family credit if her circumstances change during the currency of the award.

Mr. Jack

Entitlement to other benefits, such as the remission of NHS charges and certain payments from the social fund, exists only for families who are in receipt of family credit. Where the amount of family credit entitlement is less than 50p a week it is not payable and therefore in that situation there would be no automatic entitlement to the other benefits.

Family credit is payable for 26 weeks and the rate at which it is payable is not affected by any change of circumstances during that period. Thus, whenever family credit entitlement is 50p a week or more, and therefore payable, no account can be taken of a change of circumstances during the currency of an award.