HC Deb 24 February 1995 vol 255 cc350-1W
Mr. Frank Field

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 10 February,Official Report, columns 433–35, if he will publish the calculations of his Department on the number of claimants who lost (a) unemployment benefit, (b) sickness benefit or (c) retirement pension as a result of the changes in the contributory conditions since 1975.

Mr. Arbuthnot

[holding answer to February 1995:] The change in the unemployment and sickness benefit contribution conditions in 1975 were the result of the restructuring of the national insurance scheme so that wholly earnings-related contributions were collected along with income tax under the pay-as-you-earn procedures. It is unlikely that anyone lost benefit as a consequence.

As a result of the abolition of reduced rates of unemployment benefit in October 1986 it was calculated that about 28,000 unemployed people would lose benefit in a full year. Some 10,000 sickness benefit claimants were affected, although a large proportion of these received supplementary benefit. Existing benefit recipients were transitionally protected.

At the time of the changes to the contribution conditions in 1988, it was estimated that 350,000 people would no longer qualify for unemployment benefit in a full year. Of those, about 300,000 would qualify for income support or for increased income support. It was estimated that about 8,000 people would not qualify for sickness benefit in a full year, and of those about 90 per cent. would qualify for income support. Those in receipt of benefit at the point of change received transitional protection.