§ Mr. Lilley
Table 5 of my Department's third annual report shows that in cash terms, planned benefit expenditure in 1993–94 exceeds the estimated outturn for 1992–93 by £5.84 billion. Just under 19 per cent. of this increase is for the unemployed.
§ 24. Mr. Congdon
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what recent measures his Department has taken to support people who have become unemployed in the past 12 months.
§ Mr. Burt
The Government have met their commitment to maintain the value of benefits. Unemployment benefit and income support benefit rates for 1993–94 are being increased by 3.6 per cent. in line with the retail prices index.
There are increased incentives to work. There is a greater gap between incomes in work and out of work and as a consequence the unemployment trap is alleviated. In addition, in April 1992, the working conditions threshold for entitlement to family credit was reduced from 24 hours to 16 hours per week to improve opportunities for the unemployed with families to take work.