HC Deb 09 March 1982 vol 19 cc392-3W
37. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in order to prevent pensioners with means of more than £2,000 from losing the whole of their social security benefit, he will estimate approximately the cost of reducing social security by one quarter between £2,000 and £3,000, by one half between £3,000 and £4,000 and by three quarters between £4,000 and £5.000; and if he will consider introducing such a scheme.

63. Mr. Winnick

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what further consideration has been given to the present £2,000 ceiling on receiving supplementary benefit.

Mr. Ron Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in view of the representations made to him, and its effect of discouraging thrift, he will review his policy of excluding from the supplementary benefit scheme people whose capital is marginally above £2,000.

Mr. Rossi

The numbers of holders of capital who would become eligible for benefit cannot be calculated precisely, but on reasonable assumptions the estimated benefit cost of introducing a scheme such as the hon. Member proposes for people of pension age and over is of the order of £7 million to £10 million a year. Such a change would also require up to 150 additional staff. To introduce such a scheme for all supplementary beneficiaries would cost around £12 million to £15 million a year and would also require up to 250 additional staff.

As the hon. Members will know, we shall be announcing very shortly the Government's conclusions on our review of the supplementary benefit capital rule. We have noted the hon. Member's suggestion.