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Social Fund and Social Fund Commissioner: Annual Reports

Volume 694: debated on Tuesday 24 July 2007

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Peter Hain) has made the following Statement.

I am pleased to announce publication of the annual report on the Social Fund 2006-07 and the Social Fund Commissioner’s annual report.

The annual report on the Social Fund for 2006-07 (Cm 7161) was published today and has been laid before Parliament. Copies are available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.

The report records that total gross expenditure in 2006-07, excluding winter fuel payments, was £997 million. This included more than 271,000 non-repayable grants and over 2.3 million interest free loans, together worth over £827 million, and funeral and cold weather payments totalling more than £49 million. In addition, around 237,000 Sure Start maternity grants worth almost £120 million were made, and 8.6 million households benefited from a winter fuel payment at a cost of around £2 billion.

The report also confirms that reforms to the Social Fund loan scheme were introduced from April 2006, with extra net funding of £210 million over the three years 2006-07 to 2008-09 to support the changes.

The Social Fund Commissioner’s report has also been published today, and copies will be available in the Libraries of both Houses.