§ Mr. Steinberg
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if Her Majesty's Government will raise substantially the amount of earnings allowable without loss of benefit from part-time employment for those in receipt of supplementary benefit.
§ Mr. Scott
We have no plans to increase the amount of earnings that can be disregarded for supplementary benefit purposes. However, in the Income Support (General) Regulations 1987, which were laid before the House on 10 November, we have proposed that in the income support scheme, which replaces supplementary benefit in April 1988, the basic level of disregarded earnings be increased from £4 a week to £5. We have also proposed that the higher level of disregard, of up to £12 a week, for lone parents be replaced by a flat-rate £15 a week, and be extended to the disabled and to couples who have been unemployed and receiving supplementary benefit or income support for two years or more. In order to simplify the new scheme there will be no separate disregard of work expenses.