HC Deb 02 April 1990 vol 170 c881
7. Mr. Rowe

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what has been the average increase in incomes since 1979 for those pensioners who receive all of their income from state benefits.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard

The latest available figures show that between 1979 and 1987 pensioners who received all their income from state benefits had experienced a real terms increase of over 27 per cent. At the same time the proportion of pensioners in this position fell from 22.5 per cent. in 1979 to 15.9 per cent. in 1987.

Mr. Rowe

I thank my hon. Friend for that encouraging reply. Given that the Conservatives will be in charge of this country for the next decade as well, will she assure hon. Members that the group of people who were long-term unemployed at the end of the 1970s will receive the same consideration as old-age pensioners who depend on state benefits at the moment?

Mrs. Shephard

I assure my hon. Friend that the Government will continue to apply successful social security policies which in turn depend on a successful economy. When they are re-elected, the Government will do just that.

Mr. Eastham

Are not the figures that the Minister presented rather misleading when one considers that VAT, gas bills, and electricity bills have nearly doubled and that people will have to pay a minimum of 20 per cent. of the poll tax?

Mrs. Shephard

No, Sir. I assure the hon. Gentleman that the figures that I have given represent a real terms increase.