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

Below is the text of Mr Major's written Parliamentary Answer on Benefit Claimants on 3rd November 1986.


Ms. Clare Short Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish information showing the number of claimants who have had their benefit (a) reduced or (b) withdrawn in connection with the restart scheme, the average duration of benefit withdrawal or reduction and the average loss and the numbers resulting from (i) failure to attend an interview, (ii) lack of interest in restart options and (iii) other reasons.

Mr. Major Up to 9 October 1986, the latest date for which figures are available for the national restart scheme and by which time 522,668 people had been invited to interview, 10,842 decisions to disallow benefit or credits had been made. Of these, 9,757 were as a result of a failure to attend an interview without good cause 1,029 were on the grounds of non-availability for work and 56 resulted from a refusal of suitable employment. No information is available on the duration of benefit withdrawal or the average loss of benefit but where disallowance is the result of failure to attend for interview benefit is reinstated as soon as the person does attend or makes acceptable arrangements to be interviewed.

Only the disqualifications resulting from a refusal of suitable employment would lead to a reduction in benefit by the imposition of a voluntary unemployment deduction, under regulation 8 of the Supplementary Benefit (Requirement) Regulations 1983. No information on this small number of cases is available. In the other circumstances benefit is withdrawn, though some claimants may then become entitled to payments under the Supplementary Benefit (Urgent Cases) Regulations. No information is available about payments made in these cases under these urgency provisions.