§ Mr. Milburn
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish a table listing the number of severe hardship claims made and awards granted for each of the last 12 quarters in each district.
§ Mr. Burt
The administration of income support is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available and a copy will be placed in the Library.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Alan Milburn, dated 12 May 1993:
As Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency it is my responsibility to answer questions about relevant operational matters. I am therefore replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security asking if he will publish a table listing the number of severe hardship claims made and awards granted for each of the last twelve quarters in each district.
The complete range of information you have requested is not available except at a disproportionate cost. This is primarily because statistics regarding severe hardship claims are maintained clerically and not in the format requested. Additionally, the Benefits Agency district arrangements were introduced only in April 1991, and statistics prior to this relate to the former local office structure.
I have, however, appended the national figures for Severe Hardship claims and awards for the period requested. I should emphasise that these relate to claims made rather than individual customers.
I hope you find this reply helpful. Copies of this letter will be placed in the Library.
National severe hardship claims and awards Quarter ending Number of claims Number successful June 1990 6,573 4,600 September 1990 7,417 5,329 December 1990 6,558 4,952
Quarter ending Number of claims Number successful March 1991 10,699 8,050 June 1991 13,031 10,356 September 1991 16,269 13,021 December 1991 15,163 12,372 March 1992 23,539 19,646 June 1992 25,258 20,716 September 1992 28,160 23,127 December 1992 25,107 19,917 March 1993 36,937 30,839