§ Mr. Meacher
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the number of people who have and will become dependent on(a) income support, (b) family credit and (c) housing benefit as a result of the decisions not to uprate child benefit fully in line with inflation in each of the appropriate years.
§ Mrs. Gillian Shephard
[holding answer 15 December 1989]: It is impossible to give any meaningful estimate to the number of people who have or will become dependent on income-related benefits as a direct consequence of not uprating child benefit in April 1988, 1989 and 1990 because the effects cannot be viewed in isolation. It is important to remember that eligible populations and their constituents for all the income-related benefits change constantly as family incomes and circumstances change. Gross earnings have risen, and our policies to reduce tax and national insurance contributions have succeeded in enabling 547W families with children to keep more of their earnings. In addition, we have channelled extra help to families with children through the income-related benefits.