HC Deb 25 February 1991 vol 186 cc407-8W
Mr. Allen

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would be the cost implications of abolishing non-contributory benefits and replacing them with their nearest contributory equivalent.

Mr. Scott

Many of the non-contributory benefits have neither direct nor approximate contributory equivalents. Even where there is a near equivalent, for example severe disablement allowance and invalidity benefit, it is not possible to abolish that benefit and transfer recipients to the contributory benefit without breaching the contributory principle, or diluting it to the point where it becomes meaningless. Such beneficiaries are very often receiving a non-contributory benefit because of failure to satisfy the contribution conditions for a contributory benefit. The scenario implied in the question would require a fundamental change to the social security system for which no cost estimates are available.