My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Kitty Ussher) has made the following Statement.
The Secretary of State’s annual report on the Social Fund for 2007-08 (Cm 7483) was published today and has been laid before Parliament.
The report records that total gross expenditure in 2007-08, excluding winter fuel payments, was £944 million. This included over 247,000 non-repayable community care grants and over 2.6 million interest-free loans together worth over £771 million, funeral and cold-weather payments totalling almost £50 million and more than 243,000 Sure Start maternity grants worth more than £123 million. In addition 8.8 million households benefited from a winter fuel payment at a cost of around £2.1 billion.