HC Deb 22 March 1976 vol 908 cc21-2W
Mr. Shersby

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what criteria were adopted in deciding that additional supplementary benefits are payable to help with heating costs where central heating is installed whereas no extra payment is available to those having an open coal fire.

Mr. Meacher

Extra heating additions for supplementary benefit recipients occupying centrally heated accommodation were originally introduced because many had no direct control over their heating—e.g. in high rise flats or district heating schemes—and were being obliged in consequence to spend more on heating than they would normally have done. Extra heating additions were more recently extended to all beneficiaries occupying centrally heated accommodation on the broad generalisation that it was more expensive than heating a part of one's accommodation, and as an encouragement to the elderly and infirm to use these facilities where they were available, rather than to use unsatisfactory alternative, but cheaper, methods of providing warmth.

Extra heating additions are available to other beneficiaries, regardless of the type of fuel or heating system in use, if they satisfy any of the criteria set out in the Department's leaflet OC2, a copy of which is available in the Library.