§ 30. Mr. John Evans
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied with the level of take-up of social security benefits.
§ 34. Mr. Rooker
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied with the take-up of social security benefits.85W
§ 48. Mr. Hooley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps his Department will take in the course of 1981 to publicise more information about social benefits and encourage persons to claim those benefits to which they are entitled by law.
§ Mr. William Hamilton
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what further initiatives he intends to take to increase the take-up of social security benefits.
§ Mrs. Chalker
The Government must always be concerned where the level of take-up of a benefit is less than might be expected. For example, the take-up of child benefit increase, the premium paid to one-parent families, is disappointing. In my reply to my hon. Friend, the Member for Huntingdonshire (Mr. Major) on 22 January—[Vol. 997, c.214-5.]—I announced that the name child benefit increase will be changed in April to one-parent benefit. We shall seek publicity about the name change to assist in furthering awareness. As I said then, I hope that more lone parents will realise that they may be entitled to this benefit and should make a claim for it.
With regard to benefits in general, the Department's publicity budget for 1981–82 is not yet finalised, so it is not possible to give any firm commitments. However, it is proposed to use national press and television advertising to improve the take-up of family income supplement by working familes with low earnings. Leaflets and advice about other benefits will continue to be available from our local offices throughout the country, as well as from citizens advice bureaux and elsewhere.
Also, of course, the order books held by beneficiaries have information on a wide range of benefits including supplementary benefit, rent and rate rebates and free prescriptions, glasses and dental treatment for low income families.
A new edition of the Department's booklet "Help for Handicapped People" has just been published, detailing the wide range of cash and other benefits available for disabled people. It is being publicised by posters and on radio and television.
§ Mr. Dobson
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will commission a study of the effects on the take-up of benefits in the Strathclyde region of the publicity campaign mounted by the Strathclyde regional council.
§ Mrs. Chalker
Information about the results is being asembled. As I promised the hon. Member in my reply to him on 12 January, I will write to him as soon as I can.—[Vol. 996, c.486.]