§ Mr. Ralph Howell
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the weekly amount deducted from pensioners to offset the cost of their keep whilst in hospital; what was the total revenue from this source in 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976; and how many individual weekly payments these figures represent.201W
§ Mr. Orme,
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 27th January 1977; Vol. 924, c. 729–30], supplied the following information:
The rules for the reduction of benefits during periods in hospital apply to insurance benefits such as sickness, invalidity and injury benefits as well as to retirement and widows' pensions. Reductions are made not to offset the cost of keep in hospital but because it is considered that public funds should not be used twice to provide for a person's maintenance. The following is the general position as to deductions from the weekly rate of benefit.
Deduction Period Pensioner with a dependant Pensioner without a dependant After eight weeks in hospital £3.05 £6.10 After 52 weeks in hospital £3.05* £12.25† *Where the balance of the £15.30 personal benefit is paid with the pensioner's agreement to a dependant. Otherwise the reduction is £12.25 but a £6.15 "resettlement benefit" accumulates for 52 weeks. † A £6.15 "resettlement benefit" accumulates for 52 weeks.
There are special rules for example where both partners are in hospital or where a pensioner enters hospital from local authority accommodation.
It is estimated that the amounts of the reductions in retirement pensions on account of hospital in-patiency in the last four calendar years were of the following order:
£millions 1976 … … … … 40 1975 … … … … 34 1974 … … … … 26 1973 … … … … 21
Figures of the number of weekly deductions made are not available on a yearly basis. The following are the numbers of retirement pensions subject to reduction because of hospital in-patiency in a week in November in 1973, 1974 and 1975. Figures for 1976 are not available.
Retirement Pensions Subject to Reduction because of Hospital In-patiency 1975 … … … 88,000 1974 … … … 85,000 1973 … … … 86,000