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Benefits (Value)

Volume 14: debated on Thursday 3 December 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will update to 1981, assuming 12 per cent. inflation in November if the actual figure is not known, the information on the value of benefits provided in his reply of 25 March 1980 to the hon. Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Bottomley) Official Report, column 507–8.

On the assumption of a 12 per cent. movement in the retail price index in the year ended November 1981 the required information is as follows:in the cases where benefit was suspended, follow-up checks made 12 to 24 weeks later showed that 80 per cent. of the claimants had not by then made any further claim.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley, Official Report, 28 October, column 369, whether he will confirm the wording of the second paragraph of that answer which was recorded differently in the Official Report from the typed answer sent to the hon. Member.

The wording of the typed answer sent to the hon. Member was correct. The Official Report has been notified of its error.The following is the correct answer:Records were not maintained to show the nature of the irregularities brought to light in the 507 cases in question. It is known that the majority related to women who, although claiming benefit as single mothers living alone, were not in fact in this category, but were living either with legal husbands or as the wives of other men. Most, if not all, other irregularities were connected with undisclosed work.In 421 of the cases, benefit was either terminated or reduced. In the remainder, it was found that benefit had been drawn improperly, but the irregularity had terminated and the women were currently entitled to benefit.The number of prosecutions arising from these cases, if any, is not known.