§ Baroness Hayman
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What proportion of those under the age of 18 who die each year are members of families dependent on income-related social security benefits. [HL2170]
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham)
This question cannot be answered directly. However, an approximate answer can be given using data on social fund funeral payments.
In 2002–03, someone was entitled to a funeral payment if he or she had good reason for organising a funeral and was in receipt of income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, housing benefit, council tax benefit, working families' tax credit or disabled person's tax credit.
In 2002–03, in Great Britain, the number of funeral payment claims where the claimant was eligible and the deceased was aged under 16 was 1,642. Data where the deceased was aged under 18 are not available. Data are also not available on the split between qualifying benefits and tax credits.
For a stillborn baby, any funeral is often free of charge. However, if charges are made or moneys have been spent on flowers, obituary notices, etc, then a funeral payment can be claimed and considered for payment.
In calendar year 2002, in Great Britain, there were 5,064 deaths of children under the age of 16, excluding stillborn babies. Of those children who died under the age of 16, 67 per cent were aged under one.
Of those under the age of 16 who die each year the proportion who are members of families where a funeral payment is claimed and the claimant is eligible is therefore approximately 32 per cent.
Funeral payment data: DWP social fund policy, budget and management information system
Deaths of children under the age of 16: Office for National Statistics