§ Mr. John Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to uprate the payments to residential homes to cover the cost of the care of residents. 
§ Mr. Darling
From this April the maximum benefit paid to people in residential care and nursing homes will increase by 1.8 per cent. and by a further 1.9 per cent. later this year. This is the first above inflation increase since 1993 and gives a total increase of 3.7 per cent.
It will be implemented at the earliest possible opportunity and will benefit up to 70,000 people whose care costs are met through the preserved rights arrangements.