HC Deb 01 February 1982 vol 17 cc61-2W
Mr. George Cunningham

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services by what percentage supplementary benefit long-term rates were raised in November 1981; by what percentage the amounts deemed to be spent on heating and so on as set out in paragraph 15(3) of the Supplementary Benefit (Requirements) Regulations were raised at that time; and why the latter were raised more than the former.

Mrs. Chalker

Supplementary benefit long-term scale rates were uprated by about nine per cent. in November 1981. In November 1980 rates were first recalculated to take account of the fact that the November 1980 uprating had been based on a 16½ per cent. forecast increase in prices, rather than the 15½ per cent. increase which occurred. These recalculated rates were increased by the 10 per cent. forecast increase in prices between November 1980 and 1981.

The deductions under Regulation 15(3) of the Requirements Regulations were increased by an average of about 18 per cent. in November 1981. The starting point for the calculation is the average amount spent on fuel by pensioner households in April 1978. This figure of £3.60 was increased in line with the actual increase in the fuel component of the RPI between April 1978 and January 1981 and the estimated increase between January 1981 and November 1981.

Mr. Winnick

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to complete the consideration of the application of the £300 capital rule under the Supplementary Benefits (Single Payments) Regulations, referred to by the hon. Member for Wallasey (Mrs. Chalker) on 25 January, Official Report, col. 658; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Chalker

As I said on 25 January 1982 [Vol. 16 col. 658], we are looking at the operation of the £300 capital rule for single payments, particularly as it affects the elderly. I shall inform the House of the outcome in due course. Any proposal to increase this £300 limit would, of course, involve increased spending on benefits. [Vol. 16, c. 658.]