§ Sir Irvine Patnick
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what gross budget will be set for the discretionary social fund in 1995–96. 
§ Mr. Roger Evans
The social fund gross discretionary budget for 1995–96 will be £406 million. Some £97 million will be allocated to grants and £309 million to loans. The new allocations represent an increase of £38 million over the total gross budget for 1994–95.
At a time when we need to look very carefully at every aspect of public expenditure, I am pleased that we are once again able to sustain our record in increasing the social fund budget each year since it began.
The recycling of loans means that we are able to give more help to more people. The loans system is being widely used; between 1 April 1994 and 28 February 1995 well over 1.8 million non-repayable grants and interest-free loans were made. This is 100,000 more than during the same period last year—an increase of 6 per cent. The increase from April 1995 will allow even more people to be helped.
Details of individual district budget allocations have been placed in the Library.558W
§ Mr. Donohoe
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list(a) the number of applications for budgeting loans, (b) the number of applications for crisis loans, (c) the number of successful applications for budgeting loans and the percentage success rate expressed against the total number of applications, (d) the number of successful applications for crisis loans and the percentage success rate expressed against the total number of applications, (e) the total budget allowed for (i) budgeting and (ii) crisis loans and (f) the total amounts awarded for (iii) budgeting and (iv) crisis loans for each Benefits Agency district within Scotland for each of the financial years since their introduction. 
§ Mr. Roger Evans
The administration of the social fund is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write the hon. Member with such information as is available.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Brian H. Donohoe, dated 27 March 1995:The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Social Fund in Scotland.The information you have requested is at Annex A and a copy has been placed in the Library. There is no separate budgeting and crisis loans budget, but each district has an overall loans budget. Information has therefore been provided for the total loans allocations for each district.I hope you find this reply helpful.