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Employed Persons And Benefit Recipients

Volume 958: debated on Tuesday 21 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list, for each of the past 10 years, the number of persons gainfully employed and the number of persons in receipt of State benefit whether due to age, sickness, unemployment or any other cause.

Information in the form requested is not available.The following table gives estimates of the number of people gainfully employed, together with estimates of the number of payments of State benefits in a week, for each of the 10 years to 1977. Some of these payments are made to people who are gainfully employed.Because an individual may receive more than one benefit at the same time, a count of the separate payments made will overestimate the numbers receiving benefits.

Great Britian (thousands)

Number of benefit paid in a week

Number of people gainfully employed (1)

Unemployment benefit

Family allowance or child benefit

Widows' benefit

Retirement pension

War pension

Supplementary benefit

Sickness or invalidity benefit

Disablement benefit

Noncontributory invalidity pension

Other benefits (5)

Total (2)

Month of count




Nov. (3)

Nov. (3)


Dec. (4)






(1) Employees in employment, self-employed (with or without employees) and members of Her Majesty's Forces.
(2) Because counts of the different benefits are not all made at the same time of the year, the total is shown to the nearest half million.
(3) Count was in December prior to 1972.
(4) Count was in November prior to 1975.
(5) Other benefits comprise maternity allowance, injury benefit, guardian's allowance (with effect from 1977), child's special allowance, family income supplement (with effect from 1971), industrial death benefit, workmen's compensation, pneumoconiosis and byssinosis, benefit scheme, attendance allowance (with effect from 1972), and mobility allowance (with effect from 1976). The counts for these benefits are made in different months. No estimates are available for non-contributory invalidity pension and invalid care allowance both of which were introduced in 1977.
(6) Self-employed estimates are assumed unchanged from the 1975 figure. The estimate of employees in employment for 1977 is provisional.
(7) The large increase in the figure for 1977 is due mainly to the introduction in April 1977 of child benefit, which included payment for one-child families for the first time.
(8) Estimate.
* Benefit not in existence.