Below is the text of Mr Major’s written Parliamentary Answer on Benefits Claimants on 1st July 1986.
Mr. Nicholls Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied with the operation of section 5(1) (a) and (b) of the Supplementary Benefits Act 1976 concerning availability of benefit claimants for work; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Major The term “available for employment” contained in section 5 of the Supplementary Benefits Act 1976 has the same meaning as for unemployment benefit purposes. It is the responsibility of Department of Employment to test the availability of unemployed claimants for both benefits when new claims are made. In addition, those drawing benefits sign a declaration regularly that they remain available for work. The present availability test has been the subject of criticism by the Public Accounts Committee and other evidence which casts doubt on its adequacy comes from the labour force survey. As a result, the Department of Employment in conjunction with the DHSS has reviewed the arrangements and a pilot exercise of a strengthened availability test started on 16 June in 12 unemployment benefit offices.