asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, pursuant to the answer to the hon.- Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr on 30 November, Official Report, c. 38, he will explain the reasons for the difference between the estimate of extra numbers expected to claim supplementary benefit as a result of the abolition of earnings-related supplements and the estimate that was given in the explanatory memorandum to the Social Security (No. 2) Bill 1980.
The estimate given in the explanatory memorandum to the Bill covered the effects of the abatement in the increase of short-term benefits in November 1980 and the reduction in earnings-related supplement from January 1981, as well as the abolition of earnings-related supplement from January 1982. It is therefore not directly comparable with the answer I gave to the hon. Member on 30 November 1981—[Vol. 14, c. 38].The effect of changes in national insurance benefits on the numbers of supplementary benefit claimants naturally varies when the general level of unemployment alters, among other things. The latest estimate of the number of additional claimants getting supplementary in 1982 as a result of the abolition of earnings-related supplement is 135,000. This is a new estimate made since I answered the hon. Member's previous question, and takes account of the most recent unemployment assumption for 1982–83. I should make it clear that this and the previous 125,000 estimate relate to the effect of the abolition of earnings-related supplement only, compared with the position if the supplement had continued on the basis of calculation which currently applies. I regret that my previous reply did not cover this point adequately.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many council house tenants in England have their rents paid (a) in whole and (b) in part by supplementary benefits; and what percentage each number is of the total number of council house tenants in England.
I shall let the right hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.