HC Deb 17 October 1972 vol 843 cc10-1W
46. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will appoint an appropriate committee to make immediate recommendations as to the best means of ensuring that an adequate heating allowance is automatically payable this winter to the elderly, the disabled and the sick, with a view to ensuring that the present inflation does not deprive those unable to meet the cost of warmth of health and home comfort.

Sir K. Joseph

Supplementary benefits improvements which came into effect this month provide extra help for these groups. In addition to the increases in the basic scale rates, which more than match the increase in prices since the last increase, and in the long-term addition, the Supplementary Benefits Commission has increased by 20 per cent. the special additions to benefit payable under their discretionary powers to meet exceptional needs for extra heating. I have also reminded local authorities of the need to take action to ensure that vulnerable old people are assisted to deal with any winter heating problems with which they may be faced. I do not consider that any useful purpose would at present be served by the appointment of a committee.

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