The scale rates laid down in the regulations are intended to cover normal expenditure on fuel and clothing. Additions, whether in cash or kind, can, however, be made where necessary to meet some special circumstance or exceptional need.
In view of the rising cost of living, which is nobody's fault particularly—[Laughter]—it is certainly not that of the Government—can my right hon. Friend tell us whether, in the case of old age pensioners and people qualified for supplementary assistance, it is proposed to extend the discretionary allowances in order to help them in their present difficulties?
It is always very difficult to satisfy my hon. Friend, but perhaps the figures which I have given—he may not have been in the House when I gave them—will go some way towards doing so. During the last year, we gave 132,000 lump sums in supplementary grants to assist pensioners, which totalled £490,643.