§ Sir Brandon Rhys Williams
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his estimate of the total472W number of people in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, including claimants and their dependants on the basis of the most recent data, who are currently reliant on income-related assistance, including supplementary benefits, housing benefits and family income supplement; and what would be the number if all those eligible claimed their own and their dependants' entitlements.
§ Mr. Scott
[holding answer 9 November 1987]: Precise answers to each individual part of this question cannot be provided because multiple benefit receipt implies an unknown degree of double counting. Comparable answers cannot be provided because the available information is at different dates. The latest available details for individual benefits relating to Great Britain is as follows.
In April 1986 approximately 200,000 people, some of whom may have been unemployed, and who had a half million dependants, were receiving family income supplement. In May 1986, about 4.9 million claimants with 3.3 million dependants were receiving supplementary benefit. Some of these may have also been receiving family income supplement. In the autumn of 1986, around 3.7 million claimants received standard housing benefit. An estimate of the numbers of their dependants could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
For the years 1983 and 1984, an average estimate is available of the number of people eligible for family income supplement who did not claim. They totalled about 150,000 and they had some 450,000 dependants. Similar estimates suggest that, in 1983, about 1.3 million eligible people with 600,000 dependants did not claim supplementary benefit and that, in 1984, about 1.6 million eligible people with 1.8 million dependants may not have claimed their standard housing benefit entitlements.