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Transitional Benefit

Volume 167: debated on Monday 12 February 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people are still in receipt of transitional benefit payments (a) in west Yorkshire and (b) throughout the United Kingdom.

[holding answer 8 February 1990]: It is estimated that immediately before the annual benefits uprating this April, the number of claimants in Great Britain receiving income support transitional protection will have reduced to under 500,000. A breakdown of this figure by individual regions or parts of regions is not available.At the end of January, 99,897 applicants in Great Britain were receiving housing benefit transitional protection. This figure included 9,457 applicants in west Yorkshire.Information for Northern Ireland is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish the amount in transitional payment benefit paid per person since its introduction; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 8 February 1990]: Just over £58 million has been paid out to 202,797 recipients of housing benefit transitional payments since July 1988, averaging £4·19 a week.Income support statutory transitional protection paid to former supplementary benefit recipients is estimated to amount to some £340 million from April 1988 to the end of this financial year. Further information on these payments is not available in the form requested. However, during the period protection has been paid to just over 1·5 million claimants. The average weekly amount per claimant immediately after the April 1989 uprating is estimated at £3·30.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he expects the transitional benefit payments to end; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 8 February 1990]: The length of time for which individuals will need protection cannot be predicted.Income support normal transitional protection reduces as the claimant's total benefit income under the new scheme catches up with that under the former supplementary benefit scheme either at annual upratings or through changes in circumstances. Special transitional protection does not normally erode at all; it is uprated annually.Special arrangements for protecting ordinary boarders through their income support will have ceased by March 1990 in the majority of cases. However, longer-term arrangements exist for people living in supported lodgings while they remain in the support environment and for hostel dwellers who were eligible for special transitional payments from October 1989 until they leave the hostel. In both cases payments cease if income support entitlement ceases or if the claimant's normal benefit entitlement reaches the protected level.We have made it clear from the beginning that housing benefit transitional payments will be reduced as increases in other benefits make them less necessary. We have decided on a flat rate reduction of £2·00 in these payments from April. This is the same level of reduction as the one applied in 1989 and, because of this occasion social security benefits are being increased by larger amounts, will ensure that the vast majority of recipients gain overall in cash terms from the uprating.