HC Deb 23 November 1987 vol 123 cc79-80W
Dr. Moonie

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list all the changes which have taken place since 1982 in board and lodging allowances for all categories of(a) resident and (b) accommodation.

Mr. Portillo

Supplementary benefit payments for board and lodging include amounts for accommodation charges and any meals not included in the charge. The total is subject to a limit. Prior to 1985, limits were set locally in each DHSS office. Separate limits for nursing

Residential Care and Nursing Home Limits—April 1985 to April 1987
April 1985 £ November 1985 £ July 1986 £ April 1987 £ April 1988 £
Elderly 110.00 120 125 130 130
Very Dependent or Blind Elderly 140 145 155
Mentally Ill 120.00 130 130 130 130
Drug/Alcohol 120.00 130 130 130 130
Mentally Handicapped 140.00 150 150 150 160
Physically Disabled under Pension Age 170.00 180 180 190 190
Other 110.00 120 125 130 130
Elderly 138.60 170 170 175 185
Mentally Ill 148.60 180 180 180 185
Drug/Alcohol 148.60 180 180 180 185
Mentally Handicapped 168.60 200 200 200 200
Physically Disabled under Pension Age 198.60 230 230 230 230
Terminally Ill 198.60 230 230 230 230

Note: The limits for all homes in the Greater London area could be extended by up to £17.50 from July 1986.

Dr. Moonie

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) why there is a difference in board and lodging allowance rates for persons with mental illness and mental handicap, in residential care; and if he will make a statement;

(2) why new rates for board and lodging allowance show a further differential between persons with a mental illness and persons with mental handicap.

Mr. Portillo

The present structure of supplementary benefit limits for people in residential care homes was introduced in 1985 at the same time that the registration requirements for these homes were being revised. The Residential Care Homes Regulations 1984 specify that registers of homes kept by registration authorities must distinguish between categories of residents, reflecting the fact that different client groups have different needs. There are separate registration categories for mental handicap and for other forms of mental disorder past or present. Supplementary benefit limits were linked to these categories.

The limits were originally set in April 1985 on the basis of the best available information on costs and charges in residential care homes of different kinds. The limit in residential care homes for mentally disordered people homes, residential care homes and ordinary board and lodging were introduced from November 1983. These were reviewed locally. A full list of the limits that applied at September 1984 is included in a DHSS document "Supplementary Benefit Board and Lodging Allowances, Results of a special statistical exercise (29 July-29 April 1985)." A revised system of centrally determined limits was introduced from April 1985 with a new hostel category attracting a national limit of £70 a week. Limits for ordinary board and lodging were set in the range from £45 to £70 according to the area — details are available in Her Majesty's Stationery Office publication "Supplementary Benefit Maximum Amounts, Initial Periods and Board and Lodging Areas." Copies of both documents referred to here are available in the Library. The table sets out limits for all categories of residential care and nursing home since April 1985 to date, and gives details of increases to take effect from April 1988.

other than mentally handicapped people was set at £120 and that for mentally handicapped people at £140. Since then we have monitored the levels of the limits making adjustments where necessary. The limits now stand at £130 and £150, respectively.

We have recently completed a full review of all the supplementary benefit limits and concluded that the limit for mentally handicapped people should be increased by £10 to £160 from April 1988. We gave very careful consideration as to whether an increase in the limit for people with other forms of mental disorder was also warranted. However, whilst costs in homes for such people have increased, the review indicated that most charges were still covered by the limit. On balance, therefore, we decided that an increase was not appropriate.