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Family Income Supplement

Volume 21: debated on Wednesday 7 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many persons in Devon are in each of the 16 occupational categories into which family income supplement recipients are divided.

I regret that the information requested is not available. My hon. Friend may, however, find it helpful to know that, at 29 December 1981, the latest date for which figures are available, there were about 132,000 recipients of family income supplement in Great Britain. The following table shows the breakdown by occupational category. About 11,000 of the 132,000 were in the former DHSS South West region, but I am unable to say how many in the region were in each category.

Occupational CategoryNumber
1 Agricultural11,000
2 Industry (heavy)3,000
3 Industry (light)10,000
4 Craftsmen3,000
5 Textile and clothing4,000
6 Food and drink trades3,000
7 Construction and building4,000
8 General unskilled, warehousemen and packers17,000
9 Drivers, transport and communication11,000
10 Clerical and office15,000
11 Shop assistants and sales12,000
12 Catering, domestic and cleaners22,000
13 Service, sport and recreation5,000
14 Nurses1,000
15 Administrators, social, professional and technical9,000
16 Others2,000

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of those eligible for family income supplement are estimated not to claim their entitlement; and how much family income supplement, in money terms, is not claimed as a result.

The latest official estimate and an analysis of the take-up of family income supplement, including an estimate of the amount thought to be unclaimed, were published by the Department in "The Take-up of Family Income Supplement: Note on the estimate derived from the Family Finances Survey" on 6 July 1981. Copies of this note were placed in the Library of the House.The family finances survey was conducted over the period of 12 months from October 1978 to September 1979. In the succeeding periods of 12 months, the numbers of awards rose substantially, as the following table shows:

PeriodNumber of FIS awardsPercentage increase in second and third periods compared with the first
1. October 1978 to September 197973,520
2. October 1979 to September 198089,44021·6
3. October 1980 to September 1981123,54068
Some increase in the third of these periods—October 1980 to September 1981—was to be expected, because extra resources were allocated to FIS in the November 1980 uprating. It was estimated that there would have been about 10,000 extra awards attributable to that. The hon. Member will be glad to know, however, that the number of FIS awards in the benefit year following the November 1980 uprating was not 10,000 but about 35,000 higher than the number in the preceding benefit year. I hope that this, and the continuing higher number of awards since October 1981—a weekly average of about 3,500 compared with an equivalent of about 2,800 over the same period in the previous year—are indicative of an improvement in the level of FIS take-up.