§ Mr. David Atkinson
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much it would cost for all forms of fuel to be included in the heating allowance scheme; and what would be the cost of then extending that enlarged system to every State retirement pensioner.
§ Mrs. Chalker
help with heating costs mostly takes the form of cash assistance to recipients of supplementary benefit and family income supplement. They are free to spend this money on whichever type of fuel they choose. If an allowance equivalent to the £1.65 basic rate supplementary benefit heating addition were paid from next November to all pensioner households—other than supplementary pensioners already receiving a heating addition—the cost would be roughly £355 million in a full year. This cost would be in addition to the £250 million which will be spent on fuel assistance from November, and does not take into account the staff and other administrative costs of paying such an allowance.