asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many people were claiming and how many were dependent on supplementary benefit in December 1981.
In December 1981, 3·7 million claimants were receiving a regular weekly payment of supplementary benefit. About 6 million people in total were then estimated to be dependent on supplementary benefit. The number of claimants now is probably near to 4 million.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, in the review of regulation 7 of the Supplementary Benefit (Conditions of Entitlement) Regulations referred to in his reply to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Miss Wright) on 1 March, Official Report, c. 51, he will take into account the possibility of amending the regulation to provide for the explicit exclusion of time spent in private study at home from the 21-hour period.
We shall bear my hon. Friend's suggestion in mind, together with other possible amendments to the regulation, in the light of the general principle that supplementary benefit should not be paid to those who have withdrawn from the employment field to devote themselves primarily to study.