HC Deb 02 May 1975 vol 891 cc260-1W
Mr. Mike Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what, to the latest available date, is the percentage increase in the supplementary benefit scale rate since 1966, taking 1966 as 100 per cent.; what is the average percentage increase on the ordinary domestic electricity credit tariff over the same period, including the fuel cost adjustment clauses; and what is the percentage increase over the same period in the amount normally to be met from the supplementary benefit scale rates for heating costs.

Mr. O'Malley

As at April 1975 the percentage increases since November 1966 are as follows:

Single house holder Married couple
Supplementary benefit ordinary scale rate (a.) 137 135
Supplementary benefit long-term scale rate(a.) (The percentage increase in scale rates compares with one of 103.2 percent in the Retail Prices Index (excluding housing) between November 1966 and March 1975.) 167 165
Average ordinary domestic electricity credit tariff (b.) 150

There is no fixed amount to be spent on heating from the supplementary benefit scale rate; this is a matter of individual needs and preferences. A notional figure of £1.60 a week on average throughout the year is used at present in assessing the need of certain beneficiaries for extra heating additions; e.g., where a fixed amount is paid for central heating, but there was no comparable figure in 1966.

  1. (a) Long-term scale rates, payable to supplementary pensioners and certain other long-term beneficiaries, were introduced for the first time in October 1973. The equivalent rates for November 1966 are the ordinary scale rates plus the then long-term addition.
  2. (b) The percentage figure for the average ordinary domestic electricity credit tariff is not comparable with the other figures shown but is based on the average bill in England and Wales for a consumer using 3,600 killowatt hours a year on the unrestricted domestic tariff with credit metering. It includes the effect of the recent increase in basic tariff rates and the fuel costs adjustments being charged on bills sent out in the current April-June quarter.