§ Mr. Gordon Brown
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what precise guidelines he proposes to issue on heating allowances covered by the social fund.
§ Mr. Portillo
As my hon. Friend announced on 26 October at column184, we intend to provide for a regulated system of help towards the cost of heating in cold weather. This will be paid as a right in a similar way to the arrangements for maternity and funeral payments under the social fund. Precise guidelines will be considered in the light of this winter's experience. Heating allowances are not included in the social fund though loans may be 298W offered, in certain circumstances, for payment of fuel hills. The new income support scheme will continue to give people money to pay for heating. Extra help will be directed more effectively through the premiums to those in greatest need — pensioners, sick and disabled people and families.