Previous Section Index Home Page


Pensioners (Benefits)

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will list for each of the last 10 years for which figures are available how much (a) income support, (b) housing benefit and (c) council tax relief has been claimed by men aged between 60 and 64 years. [3845]

Mr. Bradley: Modernising the Social Security system to reduce poverty and welfare dependency and to promote work incentives is one of this Government's key priorities.

The available information is in the tables.

Income support

£ million
YearIncome support
1987-88n/a
1988-89n/a
1989-90435.9
1990-91442.7
1991-92504.5
1992-93559.9
1993-94618.3
1994-95646.3
1995-96649.4
1996-97661.6

Source:

Income Support Annual Statistical Enquiries May 1989-May 1992.

Income Support Quarterly Statistical Enquiries May 1993-May 1996.


Housing benefit and council tax benefit

£ million
YearHousing BenefitCouncil Tax Benefit
1994-9522364
1995-9621859

Source:

Housing Benefit Management Information System and Departmental Report.

Notes:

1. Figures are estimated.

2. Figures are not available for years prior to 1994 because no data were held which identified recipients by gender.


Mortgage Interest Payments

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans she has to review the period between claims for payment of mortgage interest by recipients of income support and the first payments; and if she will make a statement. [3841]

25 Jun 1997 : Column: 567

Mr. Bradley: The Government is committed to reforming and modernising the welfare state to fulfil the objectives of promoting work incentives, reducing poverty and welfare dependency, and strengthening community and family life.

This will involve considering, with lenders and insurers, a range of measures to give more security to home-owners with a mortgage. We will keep detailed benefit rules under consideration as we develop our plans.

Young People

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will list the main changes in Social Security law that have affected the entitlement of (a) 16 to 17 year-olds and (b) 17 to 25-year-olds or their parents to benefit in the last five years. [4166]

Mr. Bradley: The main changes in the last five years affecting benefit entitlement for 16 to 17-year-olds and 17 to 25-year-olds were as follows: For 16 to 25-year-olds

In Jobseeker's Allowance, which was introduced in October 1996, there is a common rule which ensures that all unemployed people aged 18 to 24 are treated the same, regardless of their contribution record. A person of this age who is entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance, whether contribution-based or income-based, will be paid at a lower rate than that for a person aged 25 years or over.

In Housing Benefit, the main change was the restriction of the amount of rent which can be used to calculate benefit entitlement. It limits the rent to the average cost of non-self-contained accommodation in the locality in which the claimant lives. This chance affects most claimants under 25 living in the private rented sector, and was introduced on 6 October 1996. For families

From April 1997 (for Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit) and October 1997 (Family Credit and Disability Working Allowance), the date from which age-related increases for children aged 11 and 16 are paid has been moved from the birthday itself to the first Monday in September following the birthday. There is no longer an increase in the rate for young dependent people on reaching age 18.

In Family Credit, from July 1996, Family Credit awards terminate when a child leaves full-time education, but only in families where the child is the last remaining child in the family.

In April 1995, rules in Severe Disablement Allowance for claiming adult dependency increases and child dependency increases were aligned with Incapacity Benefit.

Other measures have been introduced in the last five years (for example Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance) which may have affected young people or their parents, but the measures have not been targeted at these groups particularly.

This Government's intention is to modernise the Social Security system so that it supports work, savings and honesty. One of our first steps is to focus on helping people off welfare and into work.

25 Jun 1997 : Column: 568

Low Pay

Mr. Tom King: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time persons employed by her Department and its agencies are paid (i) less than £4 an hour, (ii) less than £3.50 an hour and (iii) less than £3 an hour. [4199]

Mr. Field: The information requested is in the table.

Full-timePart-time
Less than £3.00 per hourNoneNone
Less than £3.50 per hour6,4721,017
Less than £4.00 per hour(7)10,392(7)1,347

(7) Figures also include those staff paid at £3.50 per hour.

1. The information includes staff who are employed on a casual basis.

2. For the purposes of this table, the hourly rates quoted above are based on a 42 hours conditioned working week which includes payment for a lunch hour each working day (i.e., for 5 hours).

3. Figures are based on basic salary and exclude allowances.

4. All staff (excluding those employed on a casual basis) may elect to join the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme which is not based on employee contributions. Civil service pay rates have traditionally reflected the non-contributory nature of these pension arrangements.


Child Support Agency

Mr. Pearson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment she has made of the levels of accuracy currently achieved by the CSA; and if she will make a statement. [4631]

Mr. Bradley: We intend to look closely at all aspects of the Child Support Agency to ensure that it provides an efficient and effective service.

The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Mrs. Faith Boardman. She will write to the hon. Member. Letter from Mrs. Faith Boardman to Mr. Ian Pearson, dated 24 June 1997:


Mr. Pearson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the average length of time from the issue of a maintenance inquiry form by the CSA to the issuing of the maintenance assessment. [4627]

Mr. Bradley: We expect the Child Support Agency to provide an efficient and effective service to all its clients throughout the child support assessment process.

25 Jun 1997 : Column: 569

The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Mrs. Faith Boardman. She will write to the hon. Member. Letter from Mrs. Faith Boardman to Mr. Ian Pearson, dated 24 June 1997:

I am replying to your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the processing of applications for child support. I am afraid I cannot give you precise information in the format you have requested.


Mr. Pearson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many second tier reviews were conducted by the CSA in (a) 1994-95, (b) 1995-96 and (c) 1996-97; and what was the average length of time taken from receipt of request for review to notification of its outcome; [4629]

Mr. Bradley: We expect the CSA to provide an efficient and effective service to all its clients. The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Mrs. Faith Boardman. She will write to the hon. Member. Letter from Mrs. Faith Boardman to Mr. Ian Pearson, dated 24 June 1997:

I am replying to your Parliamentary Questions to the Secretary of State for Social Security concerning second tier reviews.



Next Section Index Home Page