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Sickness Benefit

Volume 894: debated on Monday 23 June 1975

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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 sickness benefit and (a) increasing the flat rate sickness 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 low rate of benefit for married women and (d) making this rate of sickness benefit payable so long as sickness lasts thereby abolishing the distinction between sickness benefit and invalidity pension, and (ii) what would be the effect on the cost if sickness benefit were made taxable.

(i) The cost to the National Insurance Fund is estimated at about £180 million a year. A reliable estimate of the offset to this by way of supplementary benefit savings is not available.(ii) About £275 million a year would be payable by way of tax on sickness and invalidity benefits, of which about £45 million a year would relate to the changes at (i).