§ Mr. Gregory
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the expenditure and achievements of his Department in north Yorkshire during 1991; and what was the comparable position between June 1979 and May 1980.
§ Miss Widdecombe
[holding answer 11 February 1992]: Pursuant to my reply of 11 February, the information on expenditure in north Yorkshire is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, since 1979 the Government have increased total spending on social security in Great Britain by 40 per cent. in real terms and has focused extra help on low income working families, less well off pensioners and disabled people. We have virtually eliminated the unemployment trap and we have got rid of the worst elements of the poverty trap. People in north Yorkshire will have benefited from all these improvements.
The creation of the benefits and contributions agencies in April 1991 has provided the opportunity for further improving efficiency and quality in the administration of social security business. In particular, the agencies have focused on improving service to the public and have issued their own customer charters. Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency, and Miss Ann Chant, the chief executive of the Contributions Agency, will write to my hon. Friend about their agencies' achievements in north Yorkshire. Copies of their letters will be placed in the Library and the Public Information Office.