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Means-Tested Benefits

Volume 990: debated on Thursday 7 August 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will update the reply given to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North, Official Report, 16 June 1977 c. 270, showing all the different means-tested benefits now in operation.

[pursuant to her reply, 21 July 1980, c. 88]: The following meanstested benefits, including benefits which are the responsibility of other Departments, are administered centrally or on a statutory basis by local authorities:

  • Supplementary benefit.
  • Family Income Supplement.
  • Free milk and vitamins.
  • Help with National Health Service charges for:
    • Dental treatment, dentures and glasses, prescriptions,
    • Wigs and fabric supports.
  • Patients' hospital travelling expenses.
  • Legal aid (civil).
  • Legal advice and assistance.
  • Legal aid (criminal).
  • Professional training scheme for disabled people.
  • Awards for students taking certain postgraduate courses.
  • Rent rebates and allowances.
  • Rate rebates.
  • Awards for students on first degree or comparable courses, on teacher training courses and courses leading to the Diploma of Higher Education or Higher National Diploma.
  • Awards for students at long term residential adult colleges.
  • Remission of direct grant school tuition fees.*
  • Accommodation under Part III of the National Assistance Act 1948.

* So far as grammar schools are concerned the direct grant scheme is being phased out. It will be replaced and modified by the Assisted Places scheme.

Free school meals are available to children in families receiving supplementary benefit or family income supplement. Children in other families can qualify for free or reduced price school meals where the local authority considers it appropriate.

The following benefits and services are administered by local authorities on a discretionary basis, but this list should be taken only as a general guide and not as a complete and authoritative statement.

  • Awards for students on courses of further education other than those mentioned above.
  • Provision of clothing.
  • Grant towards the cost of distinctive clothing.
  • Educational maintenance allowances (higher school bursaries in Scotland).
  • Assistance with boarding education (in Scotland the central bursaries scheme).
  • Independent day school fees.
  • Remission of further and adult education course fees.
  • Services for children in care.
  • Residential accommodation for mothers and babies.
  • Day care facilities for children.
  • Residential accommodation for mentally disordered adults.
  • Meals in centres for the mentally disordered, elderly or handicapped.
  • Meals on wheels.
  • Recreational and day care facilities and occupational centres for the elderly or handicapped.
  • Personal aids and equipment for the elderly and handicapped.
  • Adaptation of houses for the elderly and handicapped.
  • Telephones for the elderly and handicapped.
  • Televisions for the elderly and handicapped.
  • Home help and laundry facilities.
  • Holidays.
  • Aids for daily living.


  • Assistance in kind to prevent children being taken into care.
  • Assistance in cash to prevent children being taken into care.


  • Local authority social work assistance in kind where greater expense would otherwise be incurred.
  • Local authority social work assistance in cash where greater expense would otherwise be incurred.