asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the average weekly unemployment benefit of a married man with two children earning average industrial wages in May 1979, including earnings-related supplement; what is the corresponding figure for the present, assuming no earnings-related supplement; and if he will express both figures in current prices.
In May 1979 an unemployed married man with two children who had been earning average industrial wages* would have received £47·07 in unemployment benefit, including earnings-related supplement, and child benefit. The present corresponding figure, assuming no earnings-related supplement, has been £48·50 since November 1981. Those figures are equivalent to £67·72 and £49·08 respectively in terms of January 1982 prices, on the basis of the index of retail prices.This comparison does not, however, take account of the fact that the great majority of people claiming unemployment benefit formerly had earnings below the average; nor of the fact that, in the absence of earnings-related supplement, supplementary benefit is more likely to be payable in addition to unemployment benefit.
* Average gross earnings of full-time male manual workers, aged 21 and over, in manufacturing and some of the principal non-manufacturing industries, based on the October inquiry estimates.