HC Deb 24 March 1983 vol 39 c481W
Mr. Gordon Wilson

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services to what extent social security payments, state pensions and other benefits have kept in line with price rises since 1979; and if he will publish figures.

Mr. Newton

I refer the hon. Member to tables 5.1 to 5.10 of the Department's "Abstract of Statistics for Index of Retail Prices, Average Earnings, Social Security Benefits and Contributions", a copy of which is in the Library. These show for each uprating date to November 1982 the equivalent value of the principal benefit rates at November 1982 prices.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the extra number of people who will become eligible for supplementary benefit as a result of increasing pensions in line with the retail price index and supplementary benefit in line with the retail prices index, minus the housing element; and what will be the extra cost of administration.

Mr. Newton

It is not possible to make such an estimate until the new benefit rates are known.

Mr. Field

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the latest cost of allowing all unemployed supplementary benefit claimants who have been on benefit for 12 months or more to claim the long-term rate of benefit.

Mr. Newton

Unemployed men aged 60 or over already receive the long-term scale rate after they have been in receipt of supplementary benefit at the ordinary rate for one year. If this provision were extended to all unemployed claimants the estimated additional cost in 1983–84 would be £395 million—at November 1982 benefit rates, on the basis of the assumptions in "The Government's Expenditure Plans 1983–84 to 1985–86", Cmnd. 8789.

Mr. Stallard

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will update, in the light of decisions announced in the Budget statement, the figures given in his answer to the hon. Member for St. Pancras, North on 18 November 1982, Official Report, c. 289–90. concerning savings on benefits and pensions.

Mr. Rossi

The figures to which the hon. Member has referred cannot be updated. Moreover, since they were given, the circumstances have changed following the announcement of the Government's intention to restore the historic, or actual method of uprating social security benefits using, as the basis, the acutal movement in prices between May of one year and May of the next year. The 1983 uprating will not be determined until the increase in prices in the year to May 1983 is known in mid-June.