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1979-1987 : Mr Major’s Written Parliamentary Answer on Benefits

Below is the text of Mr Major's written Parliamentary Answer on Benefits on 16th March 1987.


Mr. O'Brien Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what will be the total income allowed for a 15-year-old child after 6 April 1987 to a family dependent on supplementary benefit.

Mr. Major Normally £15.60.

Mr. O'Brien Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what will be the total supplementary benefit paid to a 16-year-old child after 6 April 1987.

Mr. Major The requirements of a supplementary benefit claimant depend on his or her individual circumstances; the amount of benefit payable is the amount by which those requirements exceed the claimant's income, subject to certain disregards. The majority of 16-year-old claimants will get benefit as follows:


Circumstances and normal weekly requirements

(a) A member of someone else's household. £18.75.

(b) As (a) but with a dependent child. £24.35 plus £10.40 for the child.

(c) A householder. £30.40 plus appropriate housing costs.

(d) A boarder. For limited periods which are subject to certain exceptions, an amount for the board and lodging charge plus any meals not included in the charge (subject to certain limits) and £10 for personal expenses. Claimants remaining in the same board and lodging accommodation after the limited period has run out would be paid as in (a).

In certain circumstances, additional benefit can be paid to meet extra needs such as a special diet.

Mr. Frank Field asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will make a statement on changes to regulations in the position of young people leaving school at Easter who claim supplementary benefit;

(2) when he will publish new regulations governing the position of young people leaving school this Easter who wish to claim supplementary benefit.

Mr. Major [pursuant to his reply, 12 March 1987, c. 297]: We have today laid before the House the report of the Social Security Advisory Committee, and our response, together with regulations giving effect to our proposals. The main purpose of the regulations is to treat local authority custodianship allowances equally favourably with adoption allowances for supplementary benefit purposes; to restore the Government's policy that supplementary benefit should not be paid to school leavers entered for examinations; to ensure that supplementary benefit is not paid to children who have left school before they may legally do so; and to add to the group of young people who may receive supplementary benefit while they remain at school.

The regulations also make a number of other changes which the SSAC either made no comment on or agreed need not be referred to them. We welcome the SSAC's endorsement of all the proposals we put to them. The changes we are making are designed to be consistent with the Government's policies for young people. We have always believed that they should be encouraged to finish their studies and take their examinations and should remain dependent on their parents while they do so. Benefit arrangements should not be such as to induce them to leave school early and become unemployed. Where they are disadvantaged, we see it as the Government's duty to help them complete their schooling. And we want to facilitate as much as possible the absorption into normal family life of children who do not have parents caring for them.