Below is the text of Mr Major’s written Parliamentary Answer on Benefits (Age Limit) on 1st April 1987.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has about the age at which young people are entitled to claim social security payments on their own behalf in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) other OECD countries.
Mr. Major In all countries social security payments under contributory benefits schemes depend primarily on the individual’s contribution record, which is normally a function of length of time in covered employment. The minimum age for the payment of contributions to the United Kingdom national insurance scheme is 16.
Payment of non-contributory benefits is much more various. The age at which child allowance ceases ranges between 16 and 27 in the countries referred to, and is linked with the status – student, trainee or other – of the young person. This clearly influences the age at which social welfare payments can be made available to the young person on his own behalf. There may in any case be a gap between the end of the child allowance and entitlement (if any) to welfare payments during which a young person is still considered dependent on his parents. In some countries (for example, United States of America, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland) young people without dependants have no entitlement to social welfare payments.
In the United Kingdom child benefit continues to age 19 if the young person is in non-advanced education. Young people aged over 16 are eligible to claim supplementary benefit in their own right from fixed dates at the end of the holiday following the term in which they complete their full-time non-advanced education.