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Personal Social Services

Volume 972: debated on Tuesday 23 October 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many (a) one-parent families and (b) two-parent families, had incomes which were (i) below, (ii) at, (iii) 110 per cent, of, (iv) 120 per cent. of and (v) 140 per cent. of supplementary benefit level at the latest available date; and in each case what was the total number of children involved.

[pursuant to her reply, 24 July 1979, c. 210]:

Excluding supplementary benefit recipients
Numbers below supplementary benefit levelNumbers receiving supplementary benefitNumbers at or above supplementary benefit level but less than 10 per cent, aboveNumbers at or above supplementary benefit level but less than 20 per cent, aboveNumbers at or above supplementary benefit level but less than 40 per cent, above
One-parent families[40]70320590[20][50][50]12090200
Two-parent families1603501504001202603608108801,940
Notes on the table:
1. All figures are rounded to the nearest 10,000.
2. The estimates for those not receiving supplementary benefit are based on the Department of Health and Social Security analysis of incomes and other information recorded by respondents to the family expenditure survey for 1977. The estimates are subject to statistical error; those figures in square brackets are subject to very considerable proportionate statistical error. Estimates of those receiving supplementary benefit are derived from the annual statistical inquiry of supplementary benefit claimants.
3. These estimates relate only to the population living in private households. Families and persons in institutions are not sampled in the family expenditure survey.
4. The supplementary benefit level is taken as being the supplementary benefit ordinary scale rate appropriate to the family. Income refers to net income—including all benefits—less housing costs, work expenses, income tax and national insurance contributions as appropriate.
5. The comparison is based on the family's normal income in the normal employment of the family head. For example, where the head of the family had been off work due to sickness or unemployment for less than three months at the time of the survey, the family's normal income when the head was at work was used in determining the level of income.
6. The estimates of numbers of families with income below the supplementary benefit level do not indicate unclaimed entitlement to supplementary benefit. For example, those who are in full-time work or undertaking full-time further education would not normally have entitlement to supplementary benefit. For others not precluded from claiming, no regard is had in these estimates to factors such as disregarded income, treatment of capital or exceptional circumstances additions, each of which can affect payment of supplementary benefit.
7. Separate estimates of families with apparent unclaimed entitlement to supplementary benefit are now made annually. Those for 1976 were published in the annual report of the Supplementary Benefits Commission for 1977—Cmnd. 7392. Estimates for 1977 will be published in the Commission's report for 1978.