asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be (i) the net cost over and above planned expenditure for November and taking into account savings on supplementary benefit, of abolishing the earnings related supplement to unemployment benefit and (a) increasing the flat rate unemployment benefit payable from November by £6·55 for a couple and £5·60 for a single person, (b) increasing the children's rates payable from November to £4·35 for a child aged under 11 years, £5·35 for a child aged 11 to 15 years, £6·35 for a child aged 16 to 17 years and £7·35 for a child aged 18 years, (c) abolishing the special lower rate of benefit for married women and (d) making this benefit payable so long as unemployment lasts, (ii) what would he the extra net cost if unemployment were extended to cover the self employed and (iii) what would be the effect on (i) and (ii), respectively, if unemployment benefit were made taxable.
(i) The cost to the National Insurance Fund is estimated at about £350 million a year. A reliable estimate of the offset to this by way of supplementary benefit savings is not available.(ii) No estimate is available, since no reliable estimate can be made of the likely incidence among the self-employed of unemployment qualifying them for benefit.(iii) About £260 million a year would be payable by way of tax, of which about £110 million a year would relate to the changes at (i).