§ Mr. Denham
On 17 July, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State announced a review of the central areas of insecurity for elderly people, including all aspects of the basic pension and its value. Many of the more than 2,000 responses to the initial consultation exercise included representations on the level of the basic state pension. We will examine all the responses in the weeks and months to come. We will then publish our initial framework for change in the first half of 1998.69W
We recently announced that from next April the basic pension will rise to £103.40 a week for a couple and £64.70 for a single pensioner. This is in keeping with our manifesto commitment to uprate the basic pension at least in line with prices. It is in line with the 3.6 per cent. increase in prices in September which was higher than expected, and the cost will be greater than was included in the previous Government's spending plans.