§ Ms Buck
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the(a) gross and (b) net costs of increasing the Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit earnings disregard by (i) £5, (ii) £10, (iii) £15 and (iv) £20 per week; and how many households would (1) benefit and (2) be taken off Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit as a result. 
§ Angela Eagle
The information is in the table.
No cases would be lifted out of Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit (CTB) as a result of these measures. In fact extra cases will become entitled to the benefits.
Estimates of the costs of increasing earnings disregards in HB/CTB and the numbers gaining Number of cases benefiting Cost in 2000–01 (£ million) HB (thousand) CTB (thousand) £5 75 390 350 £10 175 400 360 £15 250 420 380 £20 350 450 400
1. The gross and net costs of increasing the Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit earnings disregard will be identical, since Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit are not taken into account in the calculation of other benefits.
2. Estimates based on the 1997–98 Family Resources Survey and Housing Benefit Administrative data for May 1998.
3. Costs are rounded to the nearest £5 million, gainers are rounded to the nearest 10,000 cases.
4. The numbers benefiting are expressed in terms of benefit units rather than households. It is not possible to calculate the total number of households benefiting from the measures by summing the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit gainers since some cases will gain in both benefits.
5. The number of cases benefiting includes cases who float on to the benefits as a result of these measures.