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Family Income Supplement

Volume 932: debated on Monday 16 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what he estimates to be the cost of allowing family income supplement to be paid to married women whose husbands have been out of work continuously for over a year.

I regret that an estimate cannot be made in the form requested. However, it is estimated from a DHSS analysis of the Family Expenditure Survey that, at the end of 1975, there were in Great Britain about 10,000 families in which the wife was normally in full-time work or was self-employed, the husband was not working and the family income was less than the appropriate prescribed amount for family income supplement (FIS). It is not known how many of the

first admissions to mental illness hospitals and units with a primary or secondary diagnosis of alcoholism or alcoholic psychosis in the Mersey Region and in England in 1974 and 1975. Figures for 1976 are not yet available.

husbands had been out of work continuously for over a year or how many of the wives in self-employment worked at least 30 hours a week; and in any event, the estimate is subject to considerable sampling error. If, however, FIS were payable to all these families the estimated cost would be about £2½ million excluding the cost of administration.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what estimate he has made of the number of persons who will be in receipt of family income supplement after, respectively, July 1977 and November 1977 who are also paying income tax; and what is the number at the latest available date.

I regret that the information is not available in the form requested. It is estimated, however, that, of the 80,000 families receiving family income supplement (FIS) at the end of February 1977, about two-thirds had incomes above the tax threshold when they claimed FIS, which could have been at any time up to 12 months earlier. It is not known whether they remained taxpayers or how many families with incomes below the tax threshold when they claimed FIS subsequently became taxpayers. Moreover, the estimate takes account of personal and child tax allowances only and assumes that all income taken into account for FIS was taxable. There is no available information on which later estimates could be based.