§ Mr. Flynn
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether he will explain, as precisely as the information available permits, how the 1977 upratings of child dependency increases and war widows' children's allowances, respectively, were calculated; and what amounts were paid out in respect of these allowances in 1977 and at the latest available date.
§ Mr. Jack
In November 1977 the rates of child dependency increases of benefit for the first child in a family and war widows' children's allowance were192W increased by 14.5 per cent. in line with the general up-rating of long-term benefits. The rates of child dependency increases for the second and any subsequent child in a family were calculated by reducing the rate payable for the first child by the 50p differential between the rate of child benefit payable for the first child and that payable for any other child.
On the basis of the information available, expenditure on child dependency increases of benefit in the financial year 1977–78 is estimated to have been in the region of £230 million, of which about £90 million was for child dependency increases of short-term benefits. Since 1984, child dependency increases of short-term benefits have been payable only where the beneficiary has reached state pension age. Equivalent expenditure in the last financial year, 1990–91, is estimated to have been £158 million. Information on expenditure on war widows' children's allowances is not available as no records were kept of the numbers receiving the two levels of allowance then payable; expenditure in 1990–91 was about £1.7 million.