HC Deb 08 July 1999 vol 334 cc612-3W
Mr. Berry

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will state the(a) cost of and (b) numbers affected by amending the law to ensure entitlement to Incapacity Benefit is reliant on a requisite record of past National Insurance contributions in (i) one of the last three complete tax years, (ii) one of the last four complete tax years, (iii) one of the last five complete tax years, (iv) one of the last six complete tax years and (v) one of the last seven complete tax years. [89714]

Mr. Bayley

Under current legislation entitlement to Incapacity Benefit depends on a minimum number of National Insurance contributions having been paid in only one tax year. The table shows the benefit savings and numbers affected in the first, third and tenth years of requiring the same amount of contributions to have been paid in one of the last three, four, five, six and seven years. Only about 30 per cent. of those affected would have a cash loss. In 70 per cent. of cases Income Support would fully compensate for loss of entitlement to Incapacity Benefit.

Savings Year 1 £ million Number affected Year 1 Savings Year 3 £ million Number affected Year 3 Savings Year 10 £ Number affected Year 10
Tax years over which contributions must be paid
1 in 3 20 25,000 55 55,000 115 110,000
1 in 4 15 15,000 35 40,000 80 80,000
1 in 5 10 15,000 30 30,000 60 60,000
1 in 6 10 10,000 20 20,000 45 45,000
1 in 7 5 5,000 15 15,000 35 35,000


1. Figures may not sum due to rounding.

2. All figures are in April 1998 benefit rates. Savings figures quoted are net benefit expenditure savings.