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Supplementary Benefit

Volume 22: debated on Monday 19 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many visits to recipients or claimants of supplementary benefit were undertaken by the staff of each of the 11 county offices of his Department in Birmingham during the most recent four-week period for which the information is available; and how many such visits were outstanding at each office at the end of this period.

The information for the four week period ending 16 March 1982 is as follows:

DHSS Local OfficeNumber of visits undertaken in the four week period ending 16 March 1982Number of visits outstanding at 16 March 1982
Bradford St1099970
Perry Barr575760
South Yardley1152953
Washwood Heath856881

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will ensure that copies of the yellow book, "The Guide to the Law Relating to Supplementary Benefit", are made available to branches of the Claimants' Union.

Copies of the Yellow Book are available for consultation at the local offices of the Department.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of single payments to those on supplementary benefit, in the most recent convenient period, have been paid in respect of maternity needs; and what the total sum paid out in single payments for maternity needs has been in the same period.

Existing statistical records do not allow maternity needs to be separately identified. Payments made under regulation 7 of the Supplementary Benefits (Single Payments) Regulations are now being recorded separately, and the information relating to 1981 should be available later in the year.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he intends to increase the various supplementary benefit income disregards in November; and if he will make a statement.

As my right hon. Friend announced to the House on 10 March, we propose to increase from November from £20 to £100 the amount of occasional payments by way of a gift, for example at Christmas or for a birthday, which can be disregarded in the week in which it is received. We have no plans to increase any of the other income disregards at that time. Successive Governments have taken the broad view that in a means-tested scheme of last resort the first call on additional resources should be to improve the scale rates which benefit everyone rather than to raise the disregards which benefit only those people who already have other resources. Nevertheless, we shall continue to keep the disregards under regular review.