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Social Security Review

Volume 81: debated on Monday 17 June 1985

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if the presence test he proposes in paragraph 2.87 chapter 2 volume 2 of the Green Paper on the reform of social security is to cover one year, or more; and if he will make a statement on its relationship to immigration rules.

The form of the presence test will be decided in the light of comments received on the Green Paper "Reform of Social Security" (Cmnd. 9517–19).

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether his proposals for the income support scheme include an increase in overall expenditure on the supplementary benefit scale rates for children.

Decisions on the rates of income support will be taken nearer the date of implementation. The Green Paper makes clear that we shall be seeking to give greater recognition to the needs of families with children, and proposes the introduction of a new family premium for all families with children on top of the scale rates for individual children. Lone parents would have an additional premium, and families with a child receiving a disability benefit would have a double family premium.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why administrative costs on death grants have risen from the sum of £8 million referred to in paragraph 6 of the 1982 consultative document "The Death Grant" to the sum of £12 million referred to in paragraph 5.30 of volume II of the Green Paper on "Reform of Social Security" (Cmnd. 9578).

The revised estimate in the Green Paper was based on new information and takes account of, for example, increases in the cost of salaries, accommodation, postage and post office encashment charges.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will discuss with members of the inquiry into provision for retirement his policy towards publication of the report of the inquiry, in the light of observations made by some members about the proposals on this matter set out in the Green Paper; and if he will make a statement.

The Government's proposals for pensions policy are set out in the Green paper on Reform of Social Security. This took account of the work undertaken during the inquiry into provision for retirement. It was on this basis that outside advisers took part in the inquiry. They are, of course, free to express their personal views on the conclusions which the Government have reached.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if it is his intention that the social fund proposed in the review of social security will replace existing payments under (a) section 1 of the Child Care Act and (b) Regulation 9 of the regulation governing payment for board and lodgings; and if he will make a statement.

The Green Paper indicates our hope that, when established, the social fund will provide opportunities for greater flexibility in promoting "Care in the Community" objectives through closer co-operation between the social security system and other statutory and voluntary agencies. We have, however, no plans at present for the fund to replace payments under the provisions mentioned; and we do not in general see it as a replacement for the existing powers of local authorities.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much he expects the production of (a) video material and (b) publicity and explanatory material in support of his Green Paper on the future of the welfare state to cost.

[pursuant to his reply, 22 May 1985, c. 470]: The video which is being prepared as part of our arrangements to inform DHSS staff of the Green Paper proposals is expected to incur costs of about £5,000, excluding the staff time devoted to preparing the video which is not separately identified; it is not yet possible to give firm estimates of the cost of other explanatory material which is under consideration. We intend that all such expenditure should be contained within existing budgets.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what he estimates to be the total cost of the social security reviews.

[pursuant to his reply, 22 May 1985, c. 470]: The main element of the cost of the social security review is the staff costs of officials working wholly or part-time on the review. No special record was kept of the proportion of staff time devoted to work connected with the review and no accurate estimate of the total cost of the review is therefore possible. The separate report of the independent housing benefit review (Cmnd. 9520) gives the estimated cost of that review as £148,577.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the assessment unit for income support will in all cases be the same as the assessment unit for supplementary benefit.

[pursuant to his reply, 13 June 1985, c. 559–60]: The resources and needs of partners and their children will continue to be aggregated.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether all those receiving income support or family credit will be automatically eligible for help with funeral expenses from the social fund.

[pursuant to his reply, 13 June 1985, c. 559–60]: Yes, subject to further consideration during the consultative period of the extent to which capital should be taken into account for this purpose.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether the loss to supplementary benefit claimants of a proportion of their housing benefit in respect of rates will be balanced by a compensating adjustment in the levels of income support;(2) whether a couple claiming income support (i) with children or (ii) without children will receive less than the rate for a couple over 25 when

(a) the income support claimant is under 25, (b) the claimant's partner is under 25 or (c) both are under 25, and whether, where this is the case, the differential will in each instance be the same;

(3) if he will list in order of magnitude all the premium rates to which persons claiming income support may be entitled.

[pursuant to his reply, 13 June 1985, c. 559–60]: Decisions on the rates of income support will be taken nearer the date of implementation.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the transitional protection to be introduced at the time of change from supplementary benefit to income support will preserve the real value or the cash value of benefit.

[pursuant to his reply, 13 June 1985, c. 560]: Our aim will be to ensure that no one should experience a reduction in weekly benefit as a result of the change from supplementary benefit to income support.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether a disabled person claiming income support who is also a lone parent will receive a premium in respect of each of these conditions.

[pursuant to his reply, 13 June 1985 c. 560]: An income support claimant with dependent children will be able to receive both the family premium and a client grow premium where eligible. Our general intention is that a claimant with underlying entitlement to more than one client group premium would receive whichever of those premia is the higher.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether a premium rate of income support will be paid to those caring for elderly or disabled persons;(2) whether he proposes to make changes in benefit payable to those caring for elderly and disabled people.

[pursuant to his reply, 13 June 1985, c. 560]: We have no plans to change the circumstances in which invalid care allowance is payable. We will be giving further consideration to the position of income support claimants who are caring for a severely disabled person.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how the sum in the proposed family credit allowance to cover the cost of school meals will be calculated.

[pursuant to his reply, 13 June 1985, c. 560]: No decision has yet been taken about the precise calculation of this element in the proposed family credit.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will amplify the meaning of accrued pension rights under the state earnings related pension scheme as the term is used in the Green Paper of 3 June.

[pursuant to his reply, 13 June 1985, c. 560]: The Green Paper on Reform of Social Security makes clear the Government's commitment to honour all pension entitlements earned under the state earnings-related scheme. The detailed arrangements for securing this are among the matters for further examination during consultation on the Green Paper proposals.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether attendance allowance and mobility allowance will be disregarded in the means test for income support.

[pursuant to his reply, 13 June 1985, c. 560]: The Green Paper contains no proposals for changes in the present rules on the treatment of attendance allowance and mobility allowance for the purposes of the new income support scheme, but attendance allowance is of course already taken into account in supplementary benefit board and lodging cases.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether deductions from benefit made to recover loans made as part of the budgeting element of the social fund will be offset against the cash limit for that fund;(2) whether each of his local offices will have its own cash limit in respect of the social fund;(3) whether separate cash limits will be applied to the four elements of the social fund.

[pursuant to his reply, 12 June 1985, c. 487]: Final decisions about how the budget for the social fund is to be administered will only be taken when the results of the consultation on the Social Security Green Paper are known. The Green Paper sets out the principles that a clear limit to the social fund's role should be defined by means of a fixed annual budget and that judgments about expenditure from the fund are best taken locally. Our provisional view is that the budget should relate to net expenditure in the year.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the lump sum to be paid to widows on bereavement will be disregarded in the means test for help with funeral costs.