HC Deb 12 May 1977 vol 931 cc601-2W
Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would have been the increase of pensions and benefits in November 1976 if the historical method of uprating had been used; how this compares with the increases actually given, what would be the reference period for the calculation of the movement of prices and earnings for the purposes of the November 1977 uprating if the historical method were to be used; and what percentage increase in pensions this would yield.

Mr. Ennals

Had the Government not decided to alter their practice of basing benefit increases solely on a historical calculation, upratings in November 1976 and November 1977 would each have been determined by the movement of earnings and prices in a 12-month period ending in the previous March. In the year ending March 1976 prices rose by 21.2 per cent., and in the year ending March 1977 by 16.7 per cent.: in each case this exceeded the rise in earnings, and would therefore have governed the increase in both long-term and short-term benefits. In practice, pensions and other long-term benefits were raised in November 1976 by 15.0 per cent. and short-term benefits by 16.2 per cent.; these increases were sufficient to restore the loss of value which price inflation had caused since the previous uprating.