HL Deb 08 December 1987 vol 491 c196WA
Lord O'Hagan

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What additional forms of welfare are available to recipients of old age pensions in the United Kingdom; and how this pension compares with additional benefits for old age pensioners in other member states of the EC.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Security (Lord Skelmersdale)

Depending on their circumstances, people over pension age may be entitled to a range of other social security benefits in addition to retirement pensions. The most widely received are housing benefit, supplementary pension, attendance allowance and mobility allowance. Benefits in kind are also available through local authority personal social services for those with particular needs—e.g., home helps, meals on wheels, day centres. In addition, many pensioners benefit from concessionary travel on trains and buses.

Detailed information on the full range of additional benefits and services for elderly people in other member states of the European Community is not readily available, since in many cases assistance varies according to regional or local discretion. In terms of total support for the elderly, including state and occupational pensions and other benefits and forms of assistance, the United Kingdom spent a higher share of gross domestic product than any other European Community member state except Denmark and France at the latest date (1983) for which full information is available.