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Wives And Mothers

Volume 888: debated on Monday 10 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is the percentage of net benefits paid to wives and mothers in receipt of supplementary benefits recovered from the liable relatives; and what is the cost of recovering it,(2) how much has been paid in supplementary benefit to wives and mothers during the last 12 months.

I regret that the information is not available in the form requested. But my hon. Friend may wish to know that, on the basis of information obtained annually of the amount of supplementary benefit paid to various categories of claimants, it is estimated that in 1973 about £140 million was paid to about 229,000 wives and mothers where it was necessary to pursue the question of liability to maintain. This sum was paid after taking into account maintenance payments of about £12 million received by the women themselves. The figures for 1974 are not yet available.During the financial year 1973–74 the Department recovered about £14½ million from persons liable to maintain. It is not known how much of this sum was in respect of wives and mothers. It is not possible to give a reliable estimate of the cost of recovery of benefit as such. About 1,000 staff deal with the various matters concerning liability of relatives.