§ 54. Dame Irene Ward
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now make arrangements for an additional heating allowance to be paid to those living on small fixed incomes and the disabled, in view of the increases in the prices of gas, electricity and coal; and what investigations are being made into special heating both in the short- and long-term.
§ Mr. Dean
As my hon. Friend knows, the Government have undertaken to review retirement pensions and other social security benefits every year, and rises in fuel and other prices will be taken into account at each review. The Supplementary Benefits Commission makes special additions to benefit to meet exceptional needs for extra heating, and the levels of these additions will also be increased when movements in fuel prices make this appropriate. I cannot anticipate the contents of this year's uprating of benefits.
§ Mr. Meacher
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what allowance is made for fuel in calculating the weekly supplementary allowance and supplementary pension.
§ Mr. Dean
The supplementary benefit scale rates are intended to cover all normal living expenses. No specific sum is allocated to fuel within the total, or within the long-term addition where that is payable. Those with exceptional needs for heating may receive special additions for the purpose to the extent that the expense is not already met by the long-term addition. The amounts of the special additions depend upon the circumstances in each case.