HC Deb 30 April 1991 vol 190 cc163-4W
Mr. Allen

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the cost in the financial year 1991–92 of converting all social fund loans into grants, giving figures for Great Britain and the United Kingdom.

Mr. Scott

The level of loan recoveries in 1991–92 assumed in determining the gross discretionary budget for Great Britain is £128 million—from past loans, as well as those made in 1991–92. This is not necessarily a valid estimate of the cost of converting all discretionary loans into grants, as the latter would fundamentally change the nature of the scheme.

Information relating to Northern Ireland is a matter for my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Mr. Allen

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish figures on social fund and single payment expenditure on the same basis as those provided to the hon. Member for Nottingham, North on 19 April,Official Report, column 270, excluding any expenditure on maternity and funeral payments.

Mr. Scott

Direct comparisons between expenditure on single payments in 1987–88 and social fund expenditure in 1990–91 are misleading, given the very different scope of the two schemes.

The information requested is shown in the table. The figures exclude help with maternity expenses and assistance provided with the cost of funerals.

Single payments

1987–88: £214 million (cash) £263 million (at 1990–91 prices1)

Social fund

1990–91 (provisional): £232 million 12 per cent. (percentage reduction)

1 Calculated using the estimated gross domestic product deflator.