Below is the text of Mr Major’s written Parliamentary Answer on the Community Programme on 6th March 1987.
Ms. Clare Short Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will provide full details of how he arrived at the estimate that allowing participants on the community programme to claim unemployment benefit would cost £2 million per week.
Mr. Major It is impossible to be precise about the benefit cost of allowing people working part time in the community programme to receive unemployment benefit for the days on which they do not work and in my statement on 3 March I referred to expenditure of “around £2 million a week”. The actual cost would depend upon the numbers of part timers who had underlying title to UB, had exhausted entitlement, were able to requalify by virtue of the CP work, would in fact be available for work on the days in question and indeed on whether people would choose to claim for these days, bearing in mind that in most cases part-time earnings would be considerably higher than benefit entitlement before joining the scheme. Information is not available on many of these points. £2 million is an approximate mid-point between best and worst assumptions.