asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many unemployed persons who have ceased to qualify for unemployment benefit would be eligible for benefit if it were to be extended to all unemployed persons irrespective of the duration of unemployment; and if he will estimate the net cost to the national insurance fund of extending (a) unemployment benefit and (b) earnings related benefit to all unemployed persons.
In 1982–83 the number of unemployed claimants who, at a point in time, will have exhausted their entitlement to unemployment benefit is estimated to be 1,040,000 taking the average over the year. To abolish the one-year limit on entitlement would cost the national insurance fund an estimated £1,470 million in 1982–83. To restore earnings-related supplement on the basis which applied before the Social Security (No. 2) Act 1980, but without the six-months duration limit, for unemployed people only, would cost the fund an estimated £770 million, in addition to the expenditure which will be incurred in that year on supplement payable under the transitional arrangements.