§ Mr. Field
asked the Prime Minister, pursuant to her reply to the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot) Official Report, 17 March, c. 346, if she will break down under each of the main headings her estimate of the cost of implementing the pensioners' charter.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
I have been asked to reply.
I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the declaration of intent, published by the National Pensioners' Convention. Some of the proposals are insufficiently specific for any costings to be made, but the following table sets out the proposals in summary form and the costings that can be done.385W
Proposal Comment Additional annual cost to public expenditure £million 2. Six monthly uprating Each 1 per cent, increase in pension and other long-term benefits brought forward to May would cost £100 million in 1983–84 so for 2½ per cent, say— 250 3. Adequate heating allowance covering all fuel Examples: (a) Extending supplementary benefit lower rate of heating addition to all pensionerhouseholds—minimum estimate 500 (b) Extending heating additions on present basis to estimated 2 million pensioners on rent and rate rebates OR 250 3. Index-linked Christmas bonus of £20 Each additional £1 on the bonus costs £10½ million 106 5. Reducing pension age to 60 and abolition of earnings rule Cost of lowering male pension age rises in longer terms with new pension scheme and lower levels of unemployment: net cost to central Government at least *2,500 Estimate on earnings rule in respect of present pension age. Net cost to central Government funds—*£55 million 140 6. Adequate death grant for everyone Estimate for restoring death grant to original value, in respect of all deaths—£200 120 7. Free health care on demand Unquantifiable — 8. Availability of community and personal social services Unquantifiable — 9. Appropriate accommodation including choice Unquantifiable — 9. National scheme of travel concessions Estimate is the minimum 100 10. Access to education and leisure facilities Unquantifiable — Total †17,500 * Net cost to central Government funds. † Absolute minimum.