HC Deb 17 November 1983 vol 48 cc577-80W
Mr. Shersby

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average income from social security benefit, including board and lodging and any other allowances that can be claimed by the single homeless in London; and if he is satisfied that these benefits are being used for the purpose for which they are intended.

Dr. Boyson

[pursuant to his reply, 11 November 1983, c. 255]: Supplementary benefit is currently payable to single people with no accommodation at the non-householder rate of £20.55 per week. With effect from 21 November, entitlement will be based on the aggregate of the meals allowances payable for people in board and lodging accommodation who are required to take meals out, and will thus increase to £27.30.

Homeless people who find' board and lodging accommodation are entitled to benefit to cover the charge and any meals not provided, subject to a locally determined limit which reflects a reasonable charge for suitable accommodation in the area, and to an allowance for personal expenses.

Separate figures for payments to people who were homeless before finding accommodation are not available, but the average weekly payment to unemployed claimants in hostels and lodging houses in the greater London area in December 1982, the latest date for which figures are available, was £51.77.

If, exceptionally, a claimant is known to have misspent his benefit repeatedly, payments may be made direct to his landlord to cover his accommodation costs, which form the major component of his payment, or he may be given a voucher for food or accommodation. Although these provisions are difficult to apply to a mobile population like the single homeless, they do provide a measure of control for the most extreme cases.

Mr. Shersby

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the percentage increase in benefits to chronically sick and disabled persons since May 1979.

Mr. Newton

[pursuant to his reply, 15 November 1983, c. 442]: The percentage increase in the various benefits between November 1978 (the uprating prior to May 1979) and the November 1983 uprating is as follows:

per cent.
Attendance allowance
higher rate 74.4
lower rate 74.5
Invalid care allowance 74.8
Mobility allowance 90.0
Non-contributory invalidity pension 74.8
Invalidity pension 67.2
Supplementary benefit
Short-term rate (single householder) 72.3
Long-term rate (single householder) 71.4
Heating addition 141.2
100 per cent, industrial disablement benefit 74.3
100 per cent, war disablement pension 74.3

Mr. Shersby

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list in the Official Report in tabular form details of the improvements in various benefits to chronically sick and disabled persons since May 1979.

Mr. Newton

[pursuant to his reply, 15 November 1983, c. 442]: The information is as follows:

Attendance Allowance

1. August 1983. Allowance for children under 16 extended to cover first four weeks after admission to scheduled accommodation.

Industrial Injuries

2. May 1979—November 1983. Six extensions and additions to Schedule of prescribed diseases, including two extensions of cover for occupational deafness.

3. April 1983. Start of payment of industrial disablement benefit becomes payable on a common start date after 90 days from the accident or onset of the prescribed disease instead of at varying dates up to six months after the accident or onset of the prescribed disease.

Invalid Care Allowance

4. June 1981. Entitlement extended to non-relatives.

5. November 1982. Earnings disregard doubled, from £6 to £12 a week.

Invalidity Benefit

6. Therapeutic earnings limit increased from £11 to £20 a week between November 1978 and November 1982. In November 1983 it will rise by a further 12½ per cent. to £22.50.

Mobility Allowance

7. November 1979. 64–65 age group phased into the benefit in one stage instead of two as had been planned by the previous administration.

8. April 1982. Mobility allowance exempted from income tax.

Supplementary Benefit

9. November 1980. Long-term rate of supplementary benefit payable after one year instead of two.

10. November 1980. Introduction of disabled persons' heating addition—paid automatically to supplementary benefit claimants with mobility allowance, attendance allowance or similar benefits.

11. November 1980. 16–17 year-olds able to count periods during which they were receiving non-contributory invalidity pension towards the qualifying period for the long-term rate of supplementary benefit.

12. May 1983. Men over 60 able to qualify automatically for long-term rate of supplementary benefit.

13. November 1983. Recipients of incapacity benefits under 60 will be able to count time on those benefits towards qualifying period for long-term rate of supplementary benefit (that is ending the "invalidity trap").

War Pensions

14. November 1983. Introduction of mobility cash allowance (£21.15 a week tax free) for war pensioners with serious difficulty in walking wholly or mainly due to the effect of their pensionable disablement.