HC Deb 09 February 2001 vol 362 c783W
Mr. Field

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what the policy of the Benefits Agency is with respect to claimants of means-tested benefits who state that they are being paid less than the hourly minimum wage. [149797]

Angela Eagle

As a general principle in the case of income-related benefits such as Jobseeker's Allowance and Income Support, people doing work should receive the appropriate wage for the services they provide. When this does not happen and the burden of their financial support falls on the taxpayer it is reasonable to assume that an appropriate amount of earnings, called notional earnings, are being paid and to offset that against benefit entitlement.

The total amount of earnings taken into account would normally be at least equal to the rate of the national minimum wage applicable to the person concerned. To do otherwise would in many circumstances amount to subsidising the employer through public funds.