HC Deb 25 May 1977 vol 932 cc1399-417
The Secretary of State for Social Services (Mr. David Ennals)

I will, with permission, Mr. Speaker, make a statement about increases in social security benefits.

In accordance with Section 125 of the Social Security Act 1975, I reviewed the present level of benefits before the end of the 1976–77 financial year and formally determined that they needed to be increased. Increases will be paid from the week beginning 14th November, which is one year after the last uprating.

Under the Act, pensions and other long-term benefits must go up in line with the rise in earnings or prices, whichever is greater, and short-term benefits must rise in line with prices. During the 12 months to November 1977 prices are expected to rise faster than earnings, so the increase in prices will be the benchmark both for long and for short-term benefits.

In the Financial Statement published at the time of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor's Budget, prices were forecast to rise by 13 per cent. between the last quarter of 1976 and the last quarter of this year. Having given full consideration to all relevant matters, I am satisfied that this forecast represents the most reliable guide available to me of the likely movement of prices between last November and this November. I expect the rate of inflation to fall during the next six months well below the year-on-year rate represented by the April monthly figure that was published last week. The factors that gave rise to that rate were foreseen and fully taken into account in the forecast I have mentioned.

When this Government came to office in February 1974 pensions stood at £7.75 and £12.50. I have decided that from this November the single pension will go up to £17.50 and the married couples' pension to £28, cash increases of £2.20 and £3.50 over the present rates. This is an increase of nearly 14½ per cent.; and for married couples it equals the biggest cash rise ever—the one we made shortly after returning to power in 1974. The increases will also apply to the standard rate of widow's pensions and to invalidity pensions.

By November we shall have far more than doubled pensions compared with the rates paid by the previous Government. Even after allowing for inflation, by last November this Government had increased the real value of pensions and other benefits by 15 per cent. This November's increase should cover inflation since the last uprating and provide a further increase in real purchasing power.

Many pensioners will also be glad to know that this year, for the first time, the uprating order will change the earnings rule limit, in accordance with the recent Social Security (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act. The limit will go up from £35 to £40.

Short-term benefits for sickness and unemployment will go up by £1.80, from £12.90 to £14.70, for a single person, and for a married couple they will rise by £2.90, from £20.90 to £23.80. Maternity allowance and injury benefit will go up by the same amounts. Injury benefit will become £17.45 a week for the single person and £26.55 for the married man with a dependent wife.

War and industrial injuries disablement and widow's pensions will go up in line with long-term benefits. For example, the 100 per cent. rate of pension for war disablement or for work injury will go up from £25 to £28.60. There will be comparable increases in the additional allowances which can be paid with these pensions.

I now turn to the civilian disabled. The therapeutic earnings limit, which is applicable to all the incapacity benefits, will go up from £9 to £10 a week.

I am glad to confirm that, from the week beginning 14th November, disabled married women unable to go out to work and unable to do their housework will be eligible for the non-contributory invalidity pension. There will be more details on this later.

The House will also recall that I have already announced an increase of £2 in the mobility allowance with effect from November.

For supplementary benefit, the cash increases in the main scale rates will be the same as those in the related national insurance benefits, and they will come into force at the same time. For the present, at least, there will continue to be five separate children's supplementary benefit rates, related to age. The proposal we have had under consideration to reduce the number of these rates will be studied further as part of the review of the supplementary benefits scheme.

Also in November, the Supplementary Benefits Commission will increase the discretionary additions for extra heating from 70p to 80p, from £1.40 to £1.60, and from £2.10 to £2.40. The discretionary addition for special dietary needs will go up from 75p to 90p, and from £1.75 to £2.10.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has it in mind to make appropriate adjustments in the needs allowances for the rent and rate rebate and rent allowance schemes. He will be consulting his Advisory Committee on Rent Rebates and Rent Allowances.

The full-year cost of the whole of this uprating, including the increase in supplementary benefits and in heating and dietary additions, is just under £1,500 million. Nearly £1,250 million of this will fall on the National Insurance Fund and will be taken into account in the annual review of contributions in the autumn. Any changes in contribution rates for 1978–79 resulting from that review will of course require the approval of Parliament.

For the convenience of the House, full details of all the new rates of benefit are available in the Vote Office and will be circulated in the Official Report. I shall be laying the necessary draft uprating order, under Section 124 of the Social Security Act, after the recess. The order will be accompanied by a Government Actuary's report in the normal way.

I am sure the whole House will welcome these further measures to protect the position of pensioners and other beneficiaries in these difficult times.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

I am sure the right hon. Gentleman is right to say that the whole House will give a general welcome to his announcement, with its prospect of much-needed help for the most hard-pressed in the community because of the present dreadful rate of inflation.

Is the Secretary of State aware that most people will compare his 14p in the pound pension increase with the 17½p in the pound price increase that has taken place since a year ago? Is he further aware that in the last five months since the last uprating took place, the increase in prices has been almost 9p in the pound? Is he seriously expecting a rise of only just over 5p in the pound between now and next November? Does he realise that, if that is achieved, it will mean an annual rate of inflation over that period of almost exactly 8.4 per cent.? Does he not recognise that the country will view that figure with some scepticism?

Perhaps the key question is what he will do if it turns out that the rate of inflation is higher than that and if the amount which he has just announced is not enough to comply with the statutory requirement in Section 125 of the Social Security Act. Will he bring forward legislation to change the statutory obligation or is he advised that the Act does not impose on him an obligation to keep the pension in line with prices or earnings?

Mr. Ennals

I appreciate the right hon. Gentleman's opening words of welcome. I shall try to deal carefully with his questions.

I forecast a 13 per cent. figure November-on-November. The right hon. Gentleman asked how this related to 17.5 per cent., the April-on-April figure. The up-rating of benefits is related to inflation from November to November, not from April to April. The April-on-April figure is no guide to the inflation which we can expect in the second half of this year. It included the price rises due to the Budget—cigarettes, petrol, vehicle excise duty—and increases in rates. Thirdly, the April year-on-year figure is not out of line with our expectations.

The inflation figures are expected to fall sharply later in the year. By November the effect of last year's drought and the falling exchange rate will have completely worked themselves through. The turnabout in the balance of payments means that we have a stable exchange rate. The money supply is firmly under crontrol, and there are other good signs as well. Interest rates are coming down, which has already led to a 1 per cent. fall in mortgage rates, and a further fall is in prospect. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has agreed to withhold the increase in petrol duty.

For all these reasons, I believe that a figure of 13 per cent. is a realistic forecast, and the House will have noted that the present Government have set out to better the position of pensioners and not simply to tie it to an assessment of the rate of inflation.

Judging by the right hon. Gentleman's remarks, may I ask whether the Opposition think that we have done too much or too little? If they believe that we have done too much, pensioners will know where they stand in regard to the Opposition. If the Opposition think that we have done too little, how do they square this with their desire for swingeing cuts in public expenditure? Our record on pensions and other benefits is very much better than that of preceding Conservative Governments, and the Opposition know it.

Mrs. Castle

Is not my right hon. Friend gambling on reductions in the rate of inflation in the next seven months of next year compared with the first five months? Does not the difficulty and danger of doing this show how much wiser it would have been for the Government to revert to the original method of uprating—the historical method which, in this uprating, would have given an increase of 16.7 per cent.?

Will my right hon. Friend please answer the question: what will the Government do if the rate of inflation is not halved and if there is a short-fall on his statutory obligations?

Mr. Ennals

I have confidence in the figures I have given and believe that it will not be necessary to make any such adjustment. Therefore, I do not believe that this is a gamble. There have been a number of forecasts of the likely annual inflation rate in November. Several of them have been below the figure which I gave. The general forecast is that the figure which I have given, with all the expectations we have of strengthening the economy, is likely to be the right one.

I ask the House to recognise what one newspaper refers to today as a spectacular turn-round in the nation's financial health in the past six months. The pound is stable, there is a new confidence in industry and commerce, unemployment is down, the balance of payments is steadily improving, reserves are at a record height, and interest rates are down. In this situation I believe that I am entitled to be optimistic about future price movements.

Mr. McCrindle

I, too, welcome the increase in cash benefits, but if the Government are wrong in estimating the rate of inflation year-on-year as no more than 14.5 per cent., what the right hon. Gentleman has announced this afternoon is a reduction in the standard of living of pensioners and other beneficiaries. Has any advance been made on the age-old problem of announcing an increase in May and not being able to pay it before November?

Mr. Ennals

It would be easier for me to answer the first part of the hon. Gentleman's question if the Opposition would say whether they are suggesting that I should have given a higher figure and therefore caused higher public expenditure. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer the question."] I have answered the question. I have said that I have confidence, and I am required by statute to satisfy myself, that the figure I have prophesied is at least adequate to cover prices. If unforeseen circumstances arise, it will be for the Government to decide whether any further measures need to be taken. Nobody can ever foresee these things, least of all my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle), who was my predecessor in this office. She knows, as does the rest of the House, that this Government have never let down the pensioners, the sick, the disabled or the unemployed.

Mr. Prentice

My right hon. Friend announced increases in unemployment benefits and sickness benefits which were lower than those for longer-term benefits. Will he express those figures in percentage terms? Will he say whether the Government's objective is to see that those short-term benefits do not increase more than the Government's prices and incomes objective—namely, as I understand it, a maximum rise of 10 per cent.? Are the Government anticipating a growth or a reduction in the number of people who after November will be better off on benefits than if they are at work?

Mr. Ennals

I have no reason to believe that there will be any such increase. As my right hon. Friend knows, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has recently given substantial tax reliefs to those in work and, on top of that, they will receive pay increases in the coming year. Furthermore, there will be increases in family income supplement for low earners.

If my right hon. Friend is concerned about whether my announcement is likely to increase the very small number of people who could be better off receiving benefits than if they were in work, it is most unlikely—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer the question."] I am answering the question. The part of the question which I have not yet answered is that 14 per cent. is the figure for short-term benefits and 14.4 per cent. is the figure for long-term benefits. There is a small gap between the two, which is a slight reversal of the situation announced a year ago.

Mr. Boscawen

Since the right hon. Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) was able to increase the purchasing power of the pensioner in July 1974 by some 30 per cent. is it not the case that since the right hon. Gentleman took office the increase in real terms has fallen to 15 per cent.? Is that not the reason why pensioners feel that they are falling behind in their standard of living?

Mr. Ennals

That is simply not true. When we look back over the years we can see that pensioners are not falling back in their standard of living. Up to November last year, at the time of the last increase, pensioners were 16 per cent. better off in real terms since we came into office compared with the situation which we inherited from our predecessors. I believe that the announcement which has been made today will be a further step in the improvement, in real terms, of the position of pensioners in this country.

Mr. John Mendelson

May I ask my right hon. Friend a question about the timing of the measures that he has just announced? While he is obviously entitled to point to the positive factors developing in the economy, and to the good record of the Government in looking after pensioners and other people entitled to such social payments, he has nonetheless an obligation to the House and to pensioners to answer this question. If his calculations on inflation prove to be wrong, the effect will be seen as early as July or the beginning of August. Will he give an undertaking that if that unfortunately proves to be so, he will bring forward the increase, otherwise there will be a long gap during which pensioners and other beneficiaries will suffer if the pensions increase is delayed until November?

Mr. Ennals

I do not share my hon. Friend's pessimism. I assure him that it is not possible, as Conservative Members who have been in Government know, to bring forward the uprating. The minimum period that is required for an uprating—we are, after all, dealing with a total of 80 million beneficiaries—is 20 weeks. In any case my hon. Friend's assessment does not stand up because the Government's assessment is that in the next two or three months we shall see a higher rate of inflation—considerably higher than that which I have prophesied for November—but that from the summer we shall see a sharp decrease.

Of course, if the time comes and we find that this assessment has been wrong, the Government—as any previous Government would have to do, or as my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn would have done—will have to look at this situation. But I have confidence both in the assessment that I have made and in the fact that pensioners will have a real increase when November comes.

Mr. Costain

Was the Secretary of State's attention drawn to the fact that people who were born before 1895 get only half the burial grant of those born since? That is now a miserable figure of £15. Why have the Labour Government not increased this grant, which was introduced by a Conservative Government?

Mr. Ennals

I wonder whether the hon. Gentleman asked himself why his own Government never increased the death grant. It is a very small figure. As the hon. Gentleman—I was about to say "knows" but it is possible that he does not know, but as most hon. Members would know, the Supplementary Benefits Commission can give a great deal of assistance to those in difficulty at the time of death. It is certainly not the intention of this Government, any more than it was the intention of the previous Government, to increase the death grant. We believe it much more important to ensure that a proper increase for pensioners is paid across the board, and this the Government are doing.

Mr. Urwin

While appreciating my right hon. Friend's announcement today and understanding the real benefits which will accrue to retirement pensioners generally, may I ask my right hon. Friend to give an indication of how soon he considers that it will be possible to move retirement pensions closer to average wages? When will it be possible to have pensions which are 50 per cent. of average wages in industry and which are index protected thereafter? Despite the carping criticism from Conservative Members about the 15½per cent. increase, does my right hon. Friend accept that in the present phase 3 negotiations on incomes policy there are many trade unionists who would be happy to settle within a ceiling of 15½ per cent.?

Mr. Ennals

I believe that on the whole trade unionists will welcome this decision because they not only believe in the general strength of the economy but have shown a deep concern for the welfare of pensioners. I think they will recognise this Government to be as concerned about pensioners. With regard to relating pensions to average earnings, we are already in a situation where the single pensioner is getting about one-third of average net earnings and a couple is getting about half of average net earnings. The only other point I would add is that in 1978 we shall move to the new pensions scheme, which is of tremendous importance for all of us who will be retiring after 1978. That scheme guarantees a very much higher level of benefit than now.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

I propose to call the three hon. Members on either side who have been standing up.

Mr. George Cunningham

Can my right hon. Friend give a figure for the surplus that there is likely to be in the National Insurance Fund at the end of the present fiscal year? Does he agree that the increases in short-term benefits that he has announced make it all the more necessary, urgently but very calmly, to consider the question of the relationship between tax and short-term social security benefits?

Mr. Ennals

I am grateful for my hon. Friend's support for the decision that I have announced today. With regard to the National Insurance Fund, in December 1976 the Government Actuary estimated that the fund would show an operational surplus of £880 million in 1977–78. The effect of the uprating alone will be to reduce the expected surplus to about£680 million, but a further report from the Government Actuary will be available when the uprating order has been laid.

As has been said on previous occasions, tax and short-term benefits is a matter which is under review. There are some very serious administrative problems, which both Governments have recognised, but the matter is being considered at present.

Mr. Newton

Can the Secretary of State confirm that for the second year running this percentage increase is substantially larger than the percentage increase in the tax allowances for retired people? Therefore, a large number of pensioners will lose a lot of this increase in extra tax. Can the right hon. Gentleman give a figure to compare with the £100 million which was clawed back from retired people and widows last year?

Mr. Ennals

No, I cannot give a figure. The hon. Gentleman might ask my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He seems to have failed to recognise the considerable number of pensioners and other people with very small incomes who will be taken out of the tax bracket. The measures announced by the Chancellor in his Budget are of benefit not only to pensioners but also to those on low incomes.

Mr. Skinner

Does my right hon. Friend understand that all these thousands, indeed millions of people who are taken out of the tax bracket every year, will be clawed back into it the following year? It is the same people coming in and out all the time. Does he not accept that this is a poor response to the call made by the TUC last October for £35 a week for a married couple? In view of the massive price increases emanating from the Common Market and the two transitions which will have to take place this year and with the price of tea now at 32p a quarter and coffee at £1.70 a jar, percentages may sound OK but the £2.20 increase will not go far set against the massive price increases that are taking place. My right hon. Friend ought to be considering taking charge of this administrative muddle and bringing the increase forward to July.

Mr. Ennals

I believe that pensioner couples—I agree that they look at cash more than at percentages—

Mr. Skinner

Yes, they do.

Mr. Ennals

—will see the £3.50 increase, bringing them to a total of £28, as the largest cash increase there has ever been. I believe that they will recognise this as a very fair measure undertaken by the Government at a time of economic difficulties. All of us, of course, out of the warmth of our hearts, would like to add an extra £1, but I have to tell my hon. Friend that each extra £1 which we add on the pension adds £500 million to total public expenditure. If I were to accept the sort of package which my hon. Friend has put forward, it would multiply by two or three times the total cost to public expenditure of what I have announced.

Mr. Skinner

I should pay my share.

Mr. Ennals

Perhaps my hon. Friend would pay his share, but I very much doubt whether across the country people would want to pay for that in increased taxes instead of having the reduced taxes which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has introduced.

Mr. Burden

If pensioners are so much better off under this Labour Government, how does the Secretary of State explain the fact that so many of them have recently been threatened with having their electricity cut off because they were unable to pay for it, and the Government had to intervene with the Central Electricity Generating Board in order to make special arrangements so that that should not happen?

Mr. Urwin

The Tories cut the electricity off for them in the three-day working week.

Mr. Ennals

The hon. Gentleman will know that a new code of conduct has been published which was worked out between the Government and the Central Electricity Generating Board in order to prevent precisely the circumstances which he is now laughing about. Moreover, because we have fully recognised the problems which elderly people have in regard to heating, we have not only substantially increased the heating allowance available to those who need additional heat but we have also ensured that the number able to obtain it has substantially increased. In fact, it is just over 1 million people. That is one way by which this Government can help those who are in special need.

Mrs. Wise

Will my right hon. Friend accept that we recognise that the Government have taken at least some measures to try to prevent people's electricity from being cut off—which is more than the Opposition would do—and will he accept also that we recognise that pensioners are better off as a result of the Government's measures, even though we may still not be satisfied? However, may I urge my right hon. Friend to consider the question of uprating child benefit in November, since it cannot be said that people with families are better off and some of us are seriously concerned about this? Will he uprate child benefit in November and accept the principle of an annual uprating thereafter?

Mr. Ennals

I thank my hon. Friend for what she said in her first two questions. It is true that the Conservative Government took no action whatever to deal with the problems of the elderly, the sick and the disabled who might have their electricity cut off. [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."] Hon. Members who say that that is rubbish can write to me and explain what their Government did.

Of course, it is true, as my hon. Friend said, that pensioners are better off under this Government than ever before. However, although I should like to say that it would be possible to increase child benefit in November, I have to tell my hon. Friend that it would not be possible.

the following are the new rates:
Existing Weekly Rate Proposed Weekly Rate
£ £
Standard rate of invalidity, widow's and Category A retirement* pensions; Category B retirement pension at the higher rate* and widowed mother's allowance 15.30 17.50
Increase of invalidity pension and Category A retirement pension for wife or other adult dependant; Category B retirement pension at the lower rate* 9.20 10.50
Earnings limit for retirement pensioners and wives of retirement and invalidity pensioners 35.00 40.00
Standard rate of unemployment and sickness benefits:
Higher rate 12.90 14.70
Increase for wife or other adult dependant 8.00 9.10
Lower rate 9.20 10.50
Widow's allowance (first 26 weeks of widowhood) 21.40 24.50
Maternity allowance 12.90 14.70

We have to decide what the level of child benefit will be in April next year, when we come to the second phase of the transfer into the full child benefit scheme. I am under an obligation to review the effect on child benefit of any changes in the value of money. I cannot give my hon. Friend the guarantee for which she asks, but I assure her that my colleagues and I in the Government are anxious to take any measures we can to show our absolute commitment not only to the principle but to the practice of the child benefit scheme.

Mr. Adley

Cannot the Secretary of State understand that his smug satisfaction with what he calls the largest cash increases ever is nothing less than an indictment of the Government's whole economic policy, because of the fall of the value of money under this Administration? Does he not realise that it is clear to all of us here listening to him that what he appears to be promising pensioners is jam tomorrow on bread which they cannot afford today?

Mr. Ennals

I am fulfilling—indeed, more than fulfilling—an absolute obligation to ensure that pensioners are protected from rises in the cost of living, and I am doing it by November. I notice that the hon. Gentleman has not sought to answer the question which I put earlier about whether he or his right hon. and hon. Friends are suggesting that I have done too little or have done too much. He made no attempt to answer that, and I do not think that he would qualify for a place on his Front Bench.

Following is the information:

Existing Weekly Rate Proposed Weekly Rate
£ £
Invalidity allowance payable with invalidity pension, when incapacity began before age:
35 3.20 3.70
45 2.00 23.30
60 for men or 55 for women 1.00 1.15
Attendance allowance:
Higher rate 12.20 14.00
Lower rate 8.15 9.30
Retirement pension for persons over pensionable age on 5th July 1948 and for persons over 80†:
Higher rate 9.20 10.50
Lower rate 5.60 6.30
Non-contributory invalidity pension 9.20 10.50
Invalid care allowance 9.20 10.50
Increase of non-contributory invalidity pension and invalid care allowance for wife or other adult dependant 5.60 6.30
Mobility allowance 5.00 7.00
Guardian's allowance 6.45 7.40
Child's special allowance; increases for children of widows, invalidity, non-contributory invalidity and retirement pensioners, and invalid care allowance beneficiaries:
First child 6.45 7.40
Any other 5.95 6.90
Increases for children of all other beneficiaries:
First child 3.05 3.50
Any other 2.55 3.00
* An age addition of 25p is payable to retirement pensioners who are aged 80 or over.
† Excluding the 25p age addition.
Existing Weekly Rate Proposed Weekly Rate
£ £
Injury Benefit* 15.65 17.45
Disablement benefit (100 per cent. assessment)* 25.00 28.60
Unemployability supplement‡: 15.30 17.50
Special hardship allowance (maximum) 10.00 11.44
Constant attendance allowance (normal maximum) 10.00 11.40
Exceptionally severe disablement allowance 10.00 11.40
Industrial death benefit:
Widow's pension during first 26 weeks of widowhood 21.40 24.50
Widow's pension now payable at £15.85 rate 15.85 18.05
Widow's pension now payable at £4.59 rate 4.59 5.25
* The rates for beneficiaries not over the age of 18 will also be increased.
† Increases for adult dependants and children will be the same as those payable with unemployment and sickness benefits.
‡ Invalidity allowances and increases for adult dependants and children will be the same as those payable with invalidity pensions.
All ranks receive the same increases, officers' rates being expressed in pounds per annum.
Existing Weekly Rate Proposed weekly Rate
£ £
Disablement pension for private at 100 per cent. rate 25.00 28.60
Unemployability allowances*:
Personal allowance 16.30 18.60
Increase for wife or other adult dependant 9.20 10.50
Comforts allowance:
Higher rate 4.30 4.90
Lower rate 2.15 2.45
Allowance for lower standard of occupation (maximum) 10.00 11.44
Constant attendance allowance:
Special maximum 20.00 22.80
Special intermediate 15.00 17.10
Existing Weekly Rate Proposed Weekly Rate
£ £
Normal maximum 10.00 11.40
Half and quarter day 5.00 5.70
Age allowance with assessments of:
40 and 50 per cent. 1.80 2.00
Over 50 and not exceeding 70 per cent. 2.75 3.10
Over 70 and not exceeding 90 per cent. 3.90 4.40
Over 90 per cent. 5.50 6.20
Exceptionally severe disablement allowance 10.00 11.40
Severe disablement occupational allowance 5.00 5.70
Existing annual Rate Proposed Annual Rate
£ £
Clothing allowance:
Higher rate 36.00 40.00
Lower rate 23.00 25.00
* Invalidity allowances and increases for children will be the same as those payable with invalidity pensions.
Existing Weekly Rate Proposed Weekly Rate
£ £
Widow's pension—private's widow:
Standard rate 19.80 22.70
Childless widow under 40 4.59 5.25
Rent allowance 7.50 8.60
Age allowance for elderly widows:
Between age 65 and 70 1.95 2.20
Over age 70 3.90 4.40
Widower's pension 19.80 22.70
Adult orphans 15.30 17.50
Existing Ordinary Rate Existing Long-Term Rate* Proposed Ordinary Weekly Rate Proposed Long-Term Weekly Rate*
£ £ £ £
Ordinary scale:
Husband and wife 20.65 24.85 23.55 28.35
Person living alone 12.70 15.70 14.50 17.90
Any other person aged:
Not less than 18 10.15 12.60 11.60 14.35
Less than 18 but not less than 16 7.80 8.90
Less than 16 but not less than 13 6.50 7.40
Less than 13 but not less than 11 5.35 6.10
Less than 11 but not less than 5 4.35 4.95
Less than 5 3.60 4.10
Blind scale:
Husband and wife:
If one of them is blind 21.90 26.10 24.80 29.60
If both of them are blind 22.70 26.90 25.60 30.40
Any other blind person aged:
Not less than 18 13.95 16.95 15.75 19.15
Less than 18 but not less than 16 8.70 9.80
Less than 16 but not less than 13 6.50 7.40
Less than 13 but not less than 11 5.35 6.10
Less than 11 but not less than 5 4.35 4.95
Less than 5 3.60 4.10
Existing Weekly Rate Proposed Weekly Rate
£ £
Non-householder rent allowance 1.20 1.45
Attendance requirements:
Higher rate 12.20 14.00
Existing Weekly Rate Proposed Weekly Rate
£ £
Lower rate 8.15 9.30
Discretionary additions to supplementary benefit:
Heating additions 0.70 0.80
1.40 1.60
2.10 2.40
Central Heating additions 0.35 0.40
0.70 0.80
1.40 1.60
Dietary additions 0.75 0.90
1.75 2.1
* Where the claimant or a dependant is aged 80 or over a further 25p is added to these long-term rates.