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Social Security (Expenditure)

Volume 114: debated on Monday 6 April 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will provide a breakdown of the rise in real expenditure on social security between 1978–79 and 1986–87 in the same form as the table in the Government's "Expenditure Plans 1987–88 to 1989–90" II, Cm. 56, page 248, paragraph 39.

Over the period 1978–79 to 1986–87 the social security programme increased by £12½ billion (at 1986–87 prices) or by 39 per cent. in real terms. The main reasons for the increase were:

  • (i) £4¾ billion due to real increases in the average amounts of benefit paid (whether due to changes in the basic rate of benefit or other factors);
  • (ii) £2 billion due to increased numbers of retirement pensioners:
  • (iii) £1¾ billion due to increased numbers receiving disability benefits;
  • (iv) £4¼ billion due to increased numbers of unemployed people receiving benefit;
  • (v) £1 billion due to increased numbers of single parents receiving benefit:
  • (vi) £ ½ billion reflecting the increased costs of administering a larger number of claims for benefits;
  • offset by reductions of:
  • (vii) £1¼ billion reflecting the introduction of statutory sick pay and a decrease in the incidence of short term sickness;
  • (viii) £½ billion from reductions in the numbers of widows and children.