§ Mr. Ashley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will bring forward proposals to protect disabled people 746W from the effects of the 40 per cent. rise in gas prices.
§ Mrs. Chalker
Increases in all fuel prices are reflected in the general index of retail prices, movements in which are taken into account in determining the annual uprating of benefits including those for disabled people. So far as supplementary benefit heating additions are concerned—the criteria for the award of which take special account of the health of beneficiaries—the right hon. Member will see from appendix G of the annual report of the Supplementary Benefits Commission for 1978, Cmnd. 7725, that they are automatically increased to take account of increases in fuel prices. The right hon. Member must direct any questions about gas price rises to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy.