§ Mr. Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is her estimate of the average weekly post-tax income gain for a pensioner couple on the basic state pension, in 1998–99, resulting from(a) the reduction in value added tax on domestic fuel from 8 per cent. to 5 per cent. and (b) the effective downward adjustment to the pension uprating for 1998–99 resulting from the reduction in the rate of value added tax on domestic fuel from 8 per cent. to 5 per cent.; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Denham
[holding answer 18 November 1997]: We believe that all pensioners should share fairly in the increasing prosperity of the nation. Everyone will see the benefit of the reduction of VAT on fuel in their winter fuel bills. In addition, this winter and next, pensioner households in receipt of Income Support will receive an additional payment of £50 to help with fuel costs and other pensioner households will receive £20.
On average, a couple receiving the basic State Pension will be 35p a week better off at present, and 20p a week better off in real terms after the uprating, taking into account the reduction in the rate of VAT on fuel.