§ Dr. Roger Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will conduct an investigation into the housing and fuel needs of the frail elderly; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Newton
The Government have taken steps to help elderly people with their housing and fuel needs. From next April, under the new housing benefit scheme, very poor pensioners receiving rent and rates rebates will benefit on average by £1 more a week. Of these, nearly a quarter of a million will gain £2, or more, a week. We have made heating additions payable automatically to all supplementary pensioners aged 70 and over. These claimants, and other supplementary pensioners, may qualify also for further help with heating if they are in poor health or live in accommodation that is difficult or expensive to heat.