Below is the text of Mr Major's written Parliamentary Answer on Unemployment Benefit and Pensions on 17th March 1986.
Mr. Gordon Brown Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the latest information available on the percentage of gross average earnings, unemployment benefit and the basic state pension each represents in the United Kingdom; and how this compares to each of the other members of the European Economic Community and the Scandinavian countries.
Mr. Major The basic rates of retirement pension and unemployment benefit for a married couple introduced in November 1985 were at that date 36 per cent. and 29 per cent. respectively of the average weekly gross earnings of adult male manual workers in Great Britain. Information on the level of benefit in other countries is given in the Department's publications "Tables of Social Benefit Systems in the Member States of the European Communities" and "Comparative Tables of the Social Security Systems in Council of Europe member states not belonging to the European Communities", available in the Library. Information is not available for reliable comparisons with gross average earnings in the relevant countries.