HC Deb 20 December 1999 vol 341 c331W
Mr. Webb

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the cost of doubling the rate of child benefit(a) for each child aged under five years and (b) for the youngest child aged under five years, assuming (i) corresponding increases in child rates of means-tested benefits and (ii) no corresponding changes in means-tested benefit rates. [103147]

Angela Eagle

The information requested is in the table.

Estimated annual cost (£ billion)
Age of child Corresponding increase in means-tested benefits No corresponding change in means-tested benefits
All children under 5 2.1 1.6
All subsequent children under 5 1.0 0.7


1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest £100 million and are in 2000–01 prices.

2. Assumes an April 2000 start date.

3. Estimates of the child benefit cost have been based on figures taken on the August 1999 5 per cent scan of the child benefit computer system.

4. Estimates of the Income Support (IS) and Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) offset have been calculated from the August 1999 5 per cent. scans of the IS and JSA computer systems.

5. Estimates of the Housing Benefit (HB) and Council Tax Benefit (CTB) offsets have been calculated from the May 1998 1 per cent. sample of all live HB and CTB claims.

6. The costs have been calibrated to the forecasts of the 2000–01 benefit caseload forecasts, which underpin the 1999 pre-budget report.

7. For lone parents still in receipt of the lone parent rate of child benefit the answer assumes that their new rate will be set equal to the couple's rate of benefit after doubling.

8. The answer assumes that the increases no longer apply once a child reaches the age of 5.

9. The answer assumes for (b) that the reference to youngest child means all subsequent children under 5.