§ Mr. Bob Russell
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when the Christmas bonus for pensioners was introduced; what was its value; and what plans he has to increase it this year. 
§ Mr. Denham
All pensioners should share fairly in rising national prosperity and we are committed to examining ways to deliver more automatic help to the poorest pensioners. We will shortly be announcing details of a review of the central areas of insecurity for older people.
The Christmas bonus was first paid in December 1972 at the rate of £10. We have no plans to increase this payment in 1997.