§ 33. Mr. Stan Thorne
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in the light of the increasing number of disconnections of gas and electricity supplies, he is satisfied with present provisions for assistance with fuel costs.
§ Mrs. Chalker
In the current economic circumstances, we are concentrating our effort on helping the poorest fuel consumers to meet their fuel bills and on preventing disconnections. In November 1980 the basic rate of heating addition in the supplementary benefit scheme was increased by 47 per cent. to £1.40 per week, whereas fuel, prices had risen by 28 per cent. since November 1979. The Department is in regular contact with the fuel industries to discuss the problem of those who nevertheless are, or may be, disconnected.