§ Mr. Chris Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what amounts, in cash terms, have been spent on the administration of the social fund for each year since its inception; and what percentage of the total fund this represented in each year. 
§ Mr. Roger Evans
Social fund administration costs are met separately from expenditure from the regulated and discretionary fund. The figures requested are set out in the table; 1993–94 is the latest year for which figures on administration costs are available.
Year Administration cost (£ million) Percentage of gross expenditure Percentage of total gross expenditure plus recoveries 1988–89 61 30.3 24.5 1989–90 77 32.1 22.1 1990–91 132 48.5 33.3 1991–92 163 48.2 33.5 1992–93 208 51.9 35.3 1993–94 270 61.1 41.4
The table compares administration costs in each year since 1988–89 to the fund's gross expenditure—that is, the money paid out. However, the fund's business involves paying money out and recovering the amounts awarded as loans. A more accurate reflection of the work needed to operate the fund would therefore be a comparison between administration costs and gross expenditure plus recoveries, and this information is also given in the table.
In 1990–91 the basis of the calculation of administration costs changed, and so direct comparisons with previous years are not possible.
In both 1992–93 and 1993–94 the rise in administration costs is largely attributable to expenditure on the new social fund computer system, which was purchased and put in place during those years.