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Supplementary Benefit

Volume 114: debated on Tuesday 7 April 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give the number of supplementary benefit claimants in the Leeds, West constituency for the current year and for 1979.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security
(Mr. Nicholas Lyell)

In February this year, some 27,000 claimants were receiving supplementary benefit from the two local offices which serve the Leeds, West constituency. The equivalent number for February 1979 was 20,000, but the figures are not strictly comparable because the boundaries have changed.

Does the Minister accept that the figures are also not strictly comparable because of the basis on which supplementary benefit is awarded? Is the Minister not concerned that there should be such a level of deprivation in our inner cities, which has such a debilitating effect on a small section of the population, which is forced to live at subsistence level and which appears to have been given no hope by this Government?

The hon. Gentleman ought to recognise that the real value of supplementary benefit has risen by 6 per cent. since 1979.