§ 9. Mr. Rogers
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he intends to include in the rates of income support to be proposed a sum to compensate for any rate contribution demanded from those on income support; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Major
The illustrative figures published in the technical annex to our White Paper "Reform of Social Security" (Cmnd. 9691) make no assumption about 154 increasing the income support rates to compensate specifically for an average minimum contribution. Final decisions about the level of income support rates have not yet been taken, but the hon. Gentleman may be reassured to know that the illustrative figures showed that the majority of people on income support would not experience any reduction in disposable income overall.
§ Mr. Rogers
Has the Minister noticed that the recent report of the Social Security Advisory Committee suggested that the proposal, which will make the poorest pay 20 per cent. of their rates, will cause real hardship, and that any switch to a community charge would make the scheme unworkable? Will he therefore scrap the proposition?
§ Mr. Dorrell
Will not the income support scheme, which has been the result of intensive and widespread negotiation, be designed to ensure that adequate resources are available to everyone to maintain a decent and reasonable living standard? Against that background, is it not unthinkable that a rise in costs should not be matched by a rise in means?
§ Mr. Hugh Brown
Surely that is quite wrong. During the proceedings of the Abolition of Domestic Rates (elc.) (Scotland) Bill it was admitted that those in receipt of supplementary benefit—presumably going on to income support—would still have to pay 20 per cent. of a rate bill for which they are not now liable. When will the Government make a decision on that? It is under social security legislation.
§ Mr. Ralph Powell
Does my hon. Friend think that, when the new system comes into operation, more or fewer people will receive state support?
§ Mr. Kennedy
Will the Minister clarify the point at which the interface is reached between rate contribution and income support? Is he saying that his Department and the Scottish Office are at one?
§ Mrs. Beckett
How can the Minister justify the statement that he has just made, that the illustrative figures in the White Paper show that no one will lose? Clearly, an increased rate charge of 20 per cent. is intended, and the illustrative figures for the unemployed show no increase m income. The facts do not bear out the Minister's answer.