§ Mr. Frank Field
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list for each change the impact on the numbers claiming benefit now and in 2000–01 as a consequence of(a) the new incapacity benefit, (b) the £40 per week child care effect on family credit for single parents, (c) the back-to-work bonus for single parents, (d) the Child Support Agency, (e) limiting housing benefit to the average for each category of property in each area and (f) the changed rules for claiming income support for mortgage interest payments; and if he will also list for each change the saving to public expenditure. 
§ Mr. Hague
The medium-term projections of benefit expenditure did not involve explicit calculations of benefit case loads. Reliable estimates of the case load effects of the policy measures listed in 2000–01 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
The effects of the policy measures on benefit expenditure in 2000–01 are estimated as follows:
- (a) Incapacity benefit: Saving £2.3 billion
- (b) Child care effect on family credit: adding £60 million
- (c) Back to work bonus for lone parents: adding £10 million
- (d) Child Support Agency: saving £0.6 billion
- (e) Housing benefit limits: saving £190 million
- (f) Changed rules for income support mortgage interest: saving £150 million
All these figures are the estimated costs and savings in the year 2000–01 in 1994–95 prices—rounded to the nearest £10 million. They represent the best estimate available of the effect of the policy measures, but detailed forecasts over that time span are subject to a wide margin of error. In particular, there may be behavioral effects from the policy measures not allowed for in the forecasts.458W
§ Mr. Callaghan
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to review the benefit entitlement of 16 to 18-year-olds. 
§ Mr. Roger Evans
We will be issuing expanded guidance to Benefits Agency offices in respect of claims under the severe hardship provision. Our concern is to ensure that decisions taken with the authority of the Secretary of State are made taking account of all the available evidence.
§ Mr. Battle
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would be the cost of reducing(a) housing benefit taper by 15 per cent. to 50 per cent., (b) family credit taper by 20 per cent. to 50 per cent., (c) council tax taper by 15 per cent. to 50 per cent. and (d) all benefit tapers to 50 per cent. 
§ Mr. Evans
The information requested is set out in the table. The council tax benefit taper is currently set at 20 per cent. Separate estimates have therefore been provided assuming a reduction of council tax benefit taper of 15 per cent. to 5 per cent. and an increase to 50 per cent.
Estimated cost (+)/saving(-) £ million per annum Housing Benefit taper at 50 per cent. +585 Family Credit taper at 50 per cent. +555 Council Tax Benefit taper at 50 per cent. -330 Council Tax Benefit taper at 5 per cent. +965 All Tapers at 50 per cent. +805
1. Estimates are based on 1990–91 to 1992 family expenditure surveys uprated to 1995–96 prices and benefit levels.
2. Figures are rounded to the nearest £5 million.