§ Mr. Dean
The pay provisions in the Price and Pay Code for stage 2 of the counter-inflation programme are designed to improve the relative position of the lower-paid and to effect a real improvement in their incomes. Improvements have been made or will shortly be made in the provisions for family income supplements, rent rebates and allowances, rate rebates, free school meals and free welfare milk; as regards social security benefits in general, the Government have already announced their plans for increasing the benefits in the autumn without increasing the contributions of the lower paid. In the longer term, the success of the counter-inflation policy will be the best safeguard for the living standards of all families.
§ 48. Mr. Norman Lamont
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what plans he has for altering income and capital disregards applied to social security benefits.
§ 55. Mr. Fidler
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the cost of amending the scales detailed in the Supplementary Benefits Leaflet SP1 (September 1971) of his Department if, for capital in excess of £325, the assumed income was amended to (a) 2½p instead of the present 5p for each extra £25 between £325 and £800 and (b) 2½p instead of the present 12½p for each extra £25 above £800; and what is the estimated number of persons in each of these two groups who would benefit from such amendments.
§ 57. Mr. Woodhouse
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will introduce legislation to enable a deserted husband, who is forced to remain at home to look after children, to claim social security benefits without being obliged to be registered for employment.
§ Sir K. Joseph
I have no plans to do so. In appropriate circumstances, supplementary benefit may be payable until satisfactory alternative arrangements can be made for care of the children. If my hon. Friend is concerned about a particular case, I shall be glad to consider it.
§ 59. Mr. Evelyn King
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what gross sum was paid out in social security payments in that region which contains Weymouth and Portland in February and August 1971 and 1972, respectively; and what is the population of the region.
§ Mr. Dean
I regret that monthly expenditure figures are not available but it is estimated that the annual expenditure on social security benefits in the Department's South-West region in the years 1970–71 and 1971–72 was about £250 million and £290 million respectively. The population of the region is about 3,792,000.