§ Mr. Beith
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has any plans to change the provisions of the Social Security Act so that the capital cut-off for a married couple is no longer subject to the same £3,000 limit as a single person.
§ Mr. Portillo
It is a long-established principle of income-related benefits that a married couple living together are treated as a single financial unit. It would be both impractical and costly to treat all adults as individuals for benefit purposes. The capital cut-off which applies to each financial unit is to be raised to £6,000 from April when income support replaces supplementary benefit. An income of £1 a week will be assumed on capital between £3,000 and £3,250 and a further £1 a week for every band of £250 held up to £6,000. The same level will also apply to housing benefit and family credit.