§ Mr. Stan Crowther
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, in the light of the exceptionally cold weather recently prevailing and having regard to the high risk to which elderly people are exposed if their homes are inadequately heated, he will consider making a special grant to retirement pensioners in respect of the current quarter's fuel bills, in addition to the assistance already given.
§ Mr. Deakins
In the present economic situation, it would be inappropriate to pay a grant towards heating costs to all retirement pensioners irrespective of their financial circumstances. That is why the Government have had to limit the winter fuel scheme to those in receipt of supplementary benefit, family income supplement and rent or rate rebate. In addition, exceptional needs payments may be made to supplementary beneficiaries where fuel bills are higher than normal because of a prolonged period of severe weather.
§ Mr. Robert Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if there is any action which he can take to publicise the new rate relief for disabled persons provided under the Rating (Disabled Persons) Act 1978.
§ Mr. Alfred Morris
Yes. I have made arrangements which will enable the Department of the Environment to send advice about the provisions of the Act to all current recipients of mobility allowance. In this way, more than 100,000 disabled people throughout Great Britain will be directly informed of the new help provided by this important legislation.