§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in the light of increases in the costs of rents, rates, gas, water, electricity, coal, food, clothing, post, telephones, and dining out, and proposed increases in eggs, butter, cheese, and milk, to what extent retirement pensions and other social welfare benefits have decreased in value to date since they were last increased; and whether she proposes any immediate increase in such payments.
§ Mr. O'Malley
The General Index of Retail Prices includes the items listed in my hon. Friend's Question, and, on the basis of the movement of that index up to January 1976, the latest months for428W which a figure is available, the real value of social security benefits had diminished by 2½ per cent. since the last general increase in November 1975. My hon. Friend will be aware of the statutory provisions for the review and uprating of benefits.