HC Deb 04 December 1967 vol 755 cc942-3
45. Mr. Dean

asked the Minister of Social Security what action she proposes to take to ensure that pensioners do not lose part of the value of the increase in pension through reductions in rate rebates.

Mr. Loughlin

None, Sir. Increases in National Insurance retirement pensions form part of a pensioner's income and, as such, are liable to be taken into account by those responsible for any assessment based on income, whether for tax, rate rebate or any other purpose. Those receiving supplementary pensions normally receive an allowance to cover their rent and rates in full, and are not eligible for a rate rebate in addition.

Mr. Dean

I am not talking about those who are getting this supplementary benefit. Does not the Minister realise that the effect of the pension increase will be partly nullified unless changes are made in the rate rebate schemes? Will he speak to his right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government and ensure that that Minister seeks from Parliament powers to operate the provisions which already exist in the Rating Act, to ensure that the income limits in the rate rebate scheme are increased, so that the pension is not diminished for these pensioners?

Mr. Loughlin

We will have to be a little careful about this. If a rate rebate scheme is introduced, as a consequence of the upgrading of pensions some people are bound to come outside the minimum level for rate rebates. I think that this applied in the old scheme under which the previous Government, the Conservative Government, gave £200,000 in rate rebate. It applied there, but it applies more to us, because of the increases we have made in pensions.