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

Below is the text of Mr Major's written Parliamentary Answer on Income Support on 23rd March 1987.


Mr. McCrindle Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received concerning the identification of an element equal to a person's rates payment within income support; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Major We have received a number of representations on the effect on income support recipients of the proposal that people should pay a proportion of their general rates. Final decisions about the level of income support have not yet been taken.

Mr. McCrindle Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what discussions he has had with local authority associations concerning the calculation of net income of people on income support; to what effect; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Major The housing benefit standing committee, which consists of representatives of the local authority associations and officials of the Department meets regularly. The committee commissioned a sub-group of its members to examine approaches to the calculation of net income for people receiving housing benefit under the reformed scheme. The sub-group met five times and produced a report setting out options for the treatment of net income. Draft regulations for the reformed scheme taking into account the majority preference for an actual net income approach, were issued to the local authority associations for formal consultation at the beginning of the year. The associations' responses are being considered at present.

Mr. McCrindle Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many representations he has received from local authorities seeking 100 per cent, assistance with rates for those who will receive income support, where the authorities meet spending targets set by the Government; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Major I am not aware of any representations specifically making this point. People whose local authorities keep spending down will benefit from having to make a lower contribution towards rates. An arrangement such as that set out in my hon. Friend's question would not be in keeping with our objectives of greater accountability of local authorities to their electorates, equity between people on and off income support or living in different parts of the country, and operational simplicity.