§ Mr. Hannam
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his estimate of the number of people receiving 332W the additional supplementary benefit needs allowance for blind persons in 1976–77; what is the cost of the extra allowance; and what would have been the cost of this allowance in 1976–77 if it had retained in real terms its value when it was introduced.
§ Mr. Alfred Morris
, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 17th March 1977; Vol. 928, c. 265], gave the following information:
A more firmly based estimate of the numbers for 1976 will not be available until later in the year, but about 40,000 persons are believed at present to be receiving supplementary benefit on the basis of the special scale rates for the blind. The cost of the extra provision for the blind cannot be estimated because information is not available on the proportion of blind people who are householders and non-householders. The additional cost of restoring the real value of the margin over the normal householder scale rates would be at least £5 million in a year.