§ Mr. Derek Page
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated cost to the Exchequer of raising social security benefit to cover the increased cost of food indicated in the White Paper, on the basis of the United Kingdom joining the European Economic Community.
§ Mr. Taverne
The White Paper "Britain and the European Communities 293W —An Economic Assessment", Cmnd. 4289, indicates a range of possible increases in food costs, which would be spread over a transitional period, the length of which cannot be forecast. A precise estimate of the cost to the Exchequer of raising social security benefit to cover the increased cost of food is therefore impossible. But, for illustrative purposes, to compensate for a 1 per cent. increase in the retail price index increases on current rates of benefit of the following annual order of cost would be required.
£ Supplementary Benefits 2.3 War Pensions 1.1 National Insurance and Industrial Injuries Benefits 25.0 Total 28.4
Of the total cost of £28.4 million approximately £8 million would be the cost to the Exchequer.