HC Deb 16 July 1997 vol 298 cc198-9W
Mr. Pond

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would be the current value of the earnings disregards which apply for housing benefit, income support and income-related benefit for the unemployed if they had been uprated in line with these benefits since 1988. [5443]

Mr. Keith Bradley

Our objective is to reduce poverty and welfare dependency and to promote work incentives. We will develop a system that supports work, savings and honesty.

The information requested is in the table.

Benefit Rate at introduction Date of introduction Current rate Value if increased in line with benefit since date introduced
Housing benefit £5 April 1988 £5 £7.35
£10 April 1988 £10 £14.75
£15 April 1988 £15 £22.05
£15 April 1988 £25 £22.05
Housing benefit Child Care disregard £40 October 1994 £60 £43.05

1. The Retail Price Index (all items) less rent, local taxes and Mortgage Interest payments as published by the Office of National Statistics, has been used in this table.

2. Jobseeker's allowance replaced income support and unemployment benefit as the main benefit for the unemployed in October 1996.

3. The standard disregard is £5 a week, but a higher £15 disregard is available to the following groups:—lone parents entitled to the lone parent premium; disabled people entitled to the disability premium; certain people aged over 60; carers entitled to the carer premium; members of certain specialist groups eg: part-time firefighters and reservists.

4. Couples have the first £10 of their earnings disregarded.

5. The £15 disregard in housing benefit was increased for lone parents to £25 in October 1990.

6. The £40 child care disregard in housing benefit was increased to £60 in April 1996. From April 1998 it will be increased further to a maximum of £100 a week where there are two or more children in the family.