HC Deb 13 July 1971 vol 821 c194
7. Mr. Ashley

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his latest estimate of the proportion of those entitled to invalidity benefit who will be no better off because of an equivalent reduction in their supplementary benefit.

Mr. Dean

It is not possible to give a precise estimate, but it is thought that the proportion who will not benefit from the invalidity allowance because their supplementary benefit will be reduced by an equivalent amount will probably be about one-third.

Mr. Ashley

Is the Minister aware that he is saving six lousy million pounds at the expense of 100,000 people who are not only sick and disabled but actually living on the poverty line? Is his right hon. Friend aware, not only that he should have answered this Question, but that £6 million, which is almost chicken feed to surtax payers, is vitally needed by sick and disabled people ; and is he prepared to reconsider his priorities?

Mr. Dean

The hon. Gentleman is being a little unfair. I think the whole House recognises that a substantial step forward is being taken to help the chronic sick and the disabled this Session. My right hon. Friend has given an assurance that the next step is now being considered, and one of the aspects of that is to consider in what way the arrangements for those on supplementary benefit can be improved.