HC Deb 16 December 1980 vol 996 c74W
27. Mr. Field

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about the breakdown in the "fuel direct" arrangement between his Department and the fuel authorities.

46. Mr. Cartwright

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress he has made on securing an agreement with the fuel boards to replace the joint statement of intent aimed at ensuring that supplementary benefit recipients do not lose their gas or electricity supplies.

Mrs. Chalker

There has been no breakdown; the arrangements to which the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) refers were, until last month, operated under the joint statement of intent on direct payment for fuel agreed between the Supplementary Benefits Commission and the fuel industries. That agreement lapsed with the end of the commission.

A new joint statement has been agreed between the Department and the fuel industries and came into operation on 24 November. This version reflects the new supplementary benefit regulations, which continue the arrangements on much the same basis as before.