HC Deb 27 January 1969 vol 776 cc211-3W
72. Mr. Pardoe

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now increase the scale allowances for supplementary pensioners to take account of their disproportionate heating costs.

Mr. Swingler

The supplementary benefit scale rates, which were increased only last October, are intended to cover all normal expenditure on heating. Where a person necessarily incurs additional expenditure on heating which cannot be met out of the long-term addition of 10s. which is payable to all supplementary pensioners to meet extra needs of this kind, the Supplementary Benefits Commission will consider making additional payments.

73. Mr. Eadie

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is yet in a position to publish the results of the official inquiry into heating costs of old people carried out last year.

11. Mr. Pardoe

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now publish the results of the survey into disproportionate heating costs incurred by supplementary pensioners which was promised by the then Minister of Social Security in 1968.

Mr. Swingler

My right hon. Friend the then Minister of Social Security arranged with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Power for an enquiry to be made into the comparative costs of heating a room of given size to 70 degrees Fahrenheit for 14 hours daily during a heating season of 33 weeks.

The principal findings are set out in the following memorandum by the Ministry of Power.

Comparative costs of space heating for elderly people

1. The Ministry of Power were asked to assess the relative costs of heating for an immobile, but not bedridden, elderly person, assuming the warming of one room only, comparing various types of appliances together with electric under-floor heating.

2. In order to cover the wide range of conditions likely to be encountered, two cases have been considered, first a room in a single-storey dwelling having a heat loss through both floor and roof and having one outside wall; secondly, a similar room in a multistorey block having heated rooms above and below. In some very high buildings the choice of fuel may however be restricted by the character of the building.

3. The basic room has been taken as being 14 ft. X 12 ft., built to "Building Regulations" standard and having, as agreed, an internal temperature of 70°F. It has been assumed that the room will be maintained "comfortable" 14 hours a day for a heating season of 33 weeks. In calculating fuel consumptions appropriate allowance has been made for incidental heat gains such as solar heat.

4. The appliances and fuels which have been considered are set out in the Table and the fuel costs are based on calculated weighted national average prices. All prices are those current this winter. Solid fuel prices are for 1 cwt. deliveries. The cheapest domestic tariffs for gas and electricity have been taken throughout and no allowance has been made for the additional cost if prepayment or landlords' check meters are used. The costs of lighting and cooking have not been taken into account but it has been thought fair to assume that the first 52 units of electricity per quarter, usually at a more expensive rate, will be used for lighting and the first 20 therms of gas per quarter for cooking. Coalite has been included to cover those districts where gas coke is not available and it is necessary to use a premium fuel. It has been assumed that solid fuel appliances will be re-ignited daily but no allowance has been included for any cost of ignition materials.

5. The amount of heat that can be stored in the floor when using "off-peak" electric under-floor heating is limited by the maximum acceptable temperature of the floor surface; above this temperature foot troubles are likely

Type of appliance Type of fuel Efficiency Single storey Consumption dwelling Cost Multi-storey Consumption dwelling Cost
£ s. £ s.
Stool-bottom grate Coal (Group III) 25 46 cwt. 29 10 28 cwt. 17 19
Improved open fire Gas coke 35 35 cwt. 28 15 21½ cwt. 17 13
Improved open fire Coalite 35 35 cwt. 29 19 20½ cwt. 18 12
Room heater Hard coke 50 24½ cwt. 19 18 15 cwt. 12 4
Gas fire Gas 70 234 therms 22 3 140 therms 14 7
Electric fire Electricity (direct) 100 4,740 units 36 6 2,900 units 22 13
Electric under floor Electricity:
Off peak 90 4,750 units 25 17 3,200 units 15 2
Direct 100 470 units Nil
Electric block storage heaters. Electricity:
Off peak 90 4,750 units 23 6
Direct 100 470 units