HC Deb 23 February 1970 vol 796 cc240-1W
Mr. Conlan

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the average cost per bed, at the most recently available date, in hospitals within each of the respective regional board areas.

Dr. Dunwoody

The costs of running hospitals are influenced by such factors as the type of hospital and the range of services and treatment provided. Examples of the average costs per inpatient week for the year ended 31 March 1969 in Regional Hospital Board hospitals of different types are as follows: Exchequer in the present proportions about £150 million a year would come from contributions and about £30 million from taxation through the Exchequer supplement. Corresponding increases in supplementary pensions would cost about £5 million a year. Consequential alterations in social security benefits for people under pensionable age would increase all these costs considerably.

Mr. Marks

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what he estimates to be the cost of bringing the existing standard rate of retirement pension to £7 per week for a single person and £10 for a couple; and what increases in contributions he estimates to be required on the same basis as the 1969 increases.

Mr. Ennals

The cost of increasing in isolation the standard flat-rate retirement pension for a single person to £7 a week and leaving the wife's retirement pension at the existing rate, producing £10 2s. a week for a married couple, would be nearly £600 million a year. If this extra cost were to be met by increasing flat-rate contributions, graduated contributions and the Exchequer supplement on a similar basis to that used in the National Insurance Act 1969, the weekly contribution of a man earning average wages, and of his employer, would each go up by about 6s. 6d. For a man earning £30 a week or more it would mean an increase of about 10 shillings a week in his contribution and in his employer's contribution. Consequential alterations in other social security benefits would increase the costs substantially.