§ Mr. Butterfill
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what factors are responsible for the fall in the number of persons receiving the £1.25 blindness addition to supplementary benefit, from 41,000 in December 1982 to 36,000 in December 1983, as revealed by the Department of Health and Social Security's annual statistical inquiry.
§ Mr. Newton
The number of claimants receiving the blindness addition in December 1983 quoted by my hon. Friend is a provisional estimate and has yet to be confirmed. The largest variation between the figures for the two years is amongst pensioners. The figures relating to pensioners' claims are based on a sample of one case in 200 and because the total number of cases involved is quite small the figures for both years are subject to fairly large sampling errors: the apparent fall may therefore simply be caused by chance in the selection of the sample.