§ Dr. McDonald
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will update to 1979–80 benefit rates the estimated cost provided by the Supplementary Benefits Commission in its response to social assistance (a) of replacing the likely average supplementary pension payment by a pension credit as an increase in the retirement pension, and what this amount would be and its effect on the numbers claiming supplementary pension and (b) of paying sufficient credit in pension to lift all but a few pensioners off supplementary pension.
§ Mr. Prentice
It is not possible at this stage to update the estimates to the period requested; but the likely costs must be expected to be substantially higher at 1979–80 rates of benefit and rent levels, as the average weekly supplementary pension in payment rose by nearly 9 per cent. even between November 1977 and November 1978.