§ Mr. Spriggs
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how the standard of living of those below the poverty line as measured by the supplementary benefit requirement level will be affected by the increased charges in rents, water rates, transpoit, house repairs, cost of 87W heating by the use of solid fuel, electricity, gas or oil, and the local authority general rate, which has recently taken place, or will take effect during spring.
§ Mrs. Chalker
We are committed to protecting the poorest members of society. Supplementary benefit is uprated annually. In November 1980 we introduced the largest financial package ever to help with rising fuel costs, giving extra help to over 2 million people. Last November the SB basic rate heating addition was increased by considerably more than the rise in fuel prices over the previous 12 months. Moreover, family income supplement was increased by £1 a week bringing the level of help with fuel for those on low incomes to £2.16 a week.
For SB recipients increases in rents and rates will normally be covered in full by a reassessment of their housing requirements. People on low incomes who are not in receipt of SB will normally be entitled to help with their housing costs through the rent rebate, rent allowance or rate rebate schemes.