Below is the text of Mr Major’s written Parliamentary Answer on Social and Community Planning Research on 29th January 1987.
Mr. Madden Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when his Department commissioned Social and Community Planning Research to carry out a survey into how people manage when they are unemployed; when the survey started; how many people have been interviewed to date; when the survey is to be completed; what is to be the total sample; in what regions of the United Kingdom people are being interviewed; how long an average interview takes; how many people have been invited to participate; how many have refused, either prior to being interviewed, or when the interviewer called; how many interviewers are employed on the survey and how they are recruited; what is the total cost of the survey; and if he will place a copy of the survey questionnaire in the Library.
Mr. Major Social and Community Planning research (SCPR) was commissioned on 4 July 1986 to carry out interviews on behalf of the Department in connection with a study designed to find out about the incomes and experiences of people while employed and unemployed. The sample for the survey will be taken from people who become unemployed over a four-week period in March 1987, drawn from a representative sample of about one in 10 unemployment benefit offices in all regions in Great Britain, and interviews will take place in May. It is hoped to achieve completed interviews for about 1,800 men and 1,250 women. The study will be very similar to an earlier DHSS study which looked at a sample of men becoming unemployed in 1978. The report of that study (“For Richer for Poorer”, HMSO 1984) is available in the Library, as are several working papers.
Participation by those selected for interview will be voluntary and they will be given written assurances that whatever they say will be anonymous and that whether they take part or not will have no effect on any claim to benefit they may make. SCPR has carried out a pilot exercise to test the questionnaire and the sampling mechanisms and the questionnaire will be amended as a result. As the study is still in its formative stages, I am unable to be more specific in response to the hon. Member’s other points.