§ Mrs. Beckett
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much of the real increase in social security expenditure since 1979 is due to benefit upratings in excess of price increases; and in which years and for which benefits these occurred.
§ Mr. Peter Lloyd
[holding answer 7 November 1988]: The Government are pledged to protect pensions and linked long-term benefits against inflation. There is no commitment to uprate benefits by more than the rise in prices, but there are three instances where an uprating in excess of prices continues to affect benefit expenditure:
the extension of invalid care allowance to married women (increased expenditure of around £100 million in the 631W current year), the restructuring of the benefit system, and the maturing of the state earnings-related pension scheme. Real growth in incomes is not dependent on social security benefits alone: the control of inflation and the growth of occupational pensions, including the maturing of SERPS, are reflected in the fact that between 1979 and 1986 the total incomes of pensioners rose by 23 per cent. in real terms.