To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many pregnant women were disallowed maternity benefit because they had only 49 contribution stamps credited for the qualifying year, in each year since 1980.
I regret the information is not available. Such disallowances could have occurred only between October 1986 and April 1937. Prior to the abolition of reduced rates of short-term benefits from October 1986, a woman with a record of 49 contributions paid or credited in the relevant tax year would have been entitled to maternity allowance at three quarters of the standard rate. Since April 1987, new tests for maternity allowance have applied.