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Volume 114: debated on Monday 6 April 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish the number of people estimated to be eligible for housing benefit who do not claim it in both certificated and standard cases.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he can now provide the latest estimates for the take up of family income supplement and housing benefit broken down by numbers entitled to claim, proportion receiving benefit and estimated amount of unclaimed benefit per annum and per week.

Updated estimates of the take-up of family income supplement and new estimates of the take-up of housing benefit, are expected to be published shortly.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the extent of losses affecting recipients of housing benefit as a result of changes to the scheme effective from April in the current year and the proposed change to the scheme in April 1988.

The effects of this April's changes to the housing benefit scheme were outlined during my right hon. Friend's uprating statement on 22 October 1986 at columns 1174–75, and have since been amplified in a number of written answers to hon. Members. The effects of next April's changes were extensively illustrated in the technical annex to the White Paper "Reform of Social Security", Cmnd. 9691, and also amplified in a number of subsequent written answers, but cannot be finally judged until the various benefit rates are set later this year.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many claims arc outstanding for social security benefits at the Dundee local offices of his Department; and if he will disaggregate the claims per benefit.

The table sets out the information requested about outstanding claims to social security benefits. Figures are for 10 March 1987:

Dundee East
Sickness/invalidity benefit51
Maternity allowance29
Retirement pension119
Severe disablement allowance38
Supplementary benefit119
Dundee West
Sickness/invalidity benefit89
Maternity allowance32
Retirement pension98
Severe disablement allowance25
Supplementary benefit155

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will indicate the number of people in receipt of supplementary benefit in (a) Dundee, (h) Aberdeen, (c) Glasgow and (d) Edinburgh in 1979; and what are the latest available figures.

Dundee is covered by two of the Department's offices, Aberdeen by two, Glasgow by 13 and Edinburgh by five but their boundaries are riot conterminous with those of the cities. The numbers of people receiving supplementary benefit from offices in those cities on 20 February 1979 and 10 February 1987 —the latest date for which information is available—are shown in the table.

20 February 197910 February 1987

Source: 100 per cent. count of cases in action.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will review the operation of the housing benefit system where changes in benefit take place on the death of a spouse and the difficulties which may arise; and if he will make a statement.

We are not aware of any particular difficulties which arise when a spouse dies and no alterations are planned in this area of the housing benefit scheme. If the hon. Member has a particular case in mind, perhaps he would like to put the details in a letter to me.