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Child Benefit

Volume 982: debated on Wednesday 2 April 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is the value of child benefit in 1983–84 on the basis of an expenditure of £2·3 billion at 1979 survey prices;(2) what would be the cost in 1983–84 of a child benefit of £4·75 at 1979 survey prices;(3) if he will detail the numbers of children he estimates will be drawing child benefit in 1983–84.(4) what would be the cost of child benefit at the level of £1 in 1981–82, 1982–83 and 1983–84, at 1979 survey prices.

I assume the hon. Member to be referring to heating additions paid with supplemetary benefit, since the last Administration's discount scheme covered only electricity. Disconnection does not affect the payment of these additions.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many claimants in Scotland on direct payments defaulted on such arrangements for each quarter since January 1976; and what this represents as a percentage of all direct payments for (a) gas and (b) electricity.

The fuel direct scheme provides for deduction to be made from a claimant's benefit before he receives it in order to prevent any defaulting on the agreement.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many direct payments for gas and electricity charges in respect of claimants in Scotland were made in each quarter from May 1979; and what was the average payment in each quarter for each fuel.

The information is given below. The figures for average payments include the amount deducted against arrears—currently 95p a week.

On the basis of the social security programme in the White Paper "The Government's Expenditure Plans 1980–81 to 1983–84" (Cmnd. 7841), which assumes that child benefit continues at the November 1980 rate throughout the period, the information requested is as follows:

  • i. £4·75 a week.
  • ii. £2·3 billion.
  • iii. 12·66 million.
  • iv. of the order of £550 million, £500 million and £475 million gross at 1979 survey prices.