Social Security Benefits (Uprating)

– in the House of Commons at 3:35 pm on 23rd June 1983.

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Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Secretary of State for Health and Social Security 3:35 pm, 23rd June 1983

With permission, I would like to make a statement about the annual uprating of social security benefits which will take effect from the week beginning 21 November. Under the Social Security and Housing Benefits Act 1983, which the House debated and approved earlier this year, I am required to review the level of various benefits each year, having regard to the movement in the general level of prices in the 12 months up to 31 May.

The retail price index figures for May were published last Friday and they showed a rise of 3·7 per cent. in the year from May 1982 to May 1983. That was the lowest annual figure for inflation for 15 years and is particularly welcome to those living on fixed incomes, including pensioners.

I therefore propose to increase most benefits, including retirement pensions, by 3·7 per cent. However, in the case of supplementary benefit, which goes to those most in need, I propose to increase all scale rates, including those for supplementary pension, by a higher amount of 4·3 per cent. This is in line with the retail price index after the exclusion of housing costs.

Details of the proposed new rates are set out in a schedule which, for the convenience of the House, I have placed in the Vote Office and will be included in the Official Report. I will shortly lay before the House for approval the draft orders and regulations which give effect to the main uprating proposals and at the same time I shall table the usual report from the Government Actuary on the estimated effects of the changes on the national insurance fund.

I should like to mention five main groups who will he given particular help this November. First, retirement pensioners. The standard basic rate of pension will go up from £32·85 to £34·05 for a single person and from £52·55 to £54·50 for a married couple. The earnings-related additions and public service pensions will also go up by 3·7 per cent. We intend to make a further substantial improvement in the pensioners' earnings rule by raising the limit by 14 per cent. from £57 to £65 a week.

In addition, as was announced in the Budget, the capital limits for supplementary benefit will be increased in November in a way which will encourage personal saving.

Secondly, there is special help for pensioners and others on low incomes. The long-term supplementary benefit scale rates will go up by 4·3 per cent., from £32·70 to £34·10 for a single householder and from £52·30 to £54·55 for a married couple. These rates now go automatically to all claimants over the age of 60. The ordinary scale rates for those under 60 go up by the same percentage.

Housing costs for those on supplementary benefit will continue to be met separately, and normally in full The housing benefit needs allowances will go up by an average of 4 per cent.

I also propose to increase supplementary benefit heating additions for those with special heating needs. These are paid to all supplementary benefit recipients over the age of 70 and to over 2 million households in total. The additions wil go up by 8·6 per cent. to reflect the rise in fuel costs in the last year. The lower rate will go up from £1·90 a week to £2·05 and the higher rate from £4.65 to £5·05 a week. These increases mean that total spending on help with special heating costs will rise to a record level of well over £350 million a year.

Thirdly, we are this year giving particular help to families. From November child benefit will increase by 11 per cent. from £5·85 to £6·50 and one-parent benefit will also go up by the same percentage from £3·65 to £4·05. Both those benefits will then be at their highest ever level in real terms. Following those substantial improvements in child support, the Government intend to bring forward legislation to abolish the child dependency additions paid with short-term national insurance benefits from November 1984. In the meantime, I propose to halve those additions from 30p to 15p. The supplementary benefit scale rates for children will go up by a full 4·3 per cent., and for families in full-time work the family income supplement limits are being raised so that the prescribed amount is increased from £82·50 to £85·50. Families receiving family income supplement will also have the advantage of the full increase in child benefit. I also propose to increase further the children's needs allowance for housing benefit from April 1984 by an extra £1 on top of the November increase of 50p. That will directly help some 700,000 low income families with children.

Fourthly, we have given priority to those who are unemployed, especially those approaching pension age. We are restoring the 5 per cent. abatement made in 1980, and that means that in November the standard rates of unemployment benefit go up by over 8 per cent. to £27·05 for a single person and to £43·75 for a married couple. As was announced at the Budget, unemployed men over 60 can now qualify for the long-term rate of supplementary benefit and, in addition, they qualify for credits to protect pension rights without having to register.

Fifthly, we are making changes to help disabled people. The invalidity trap that has previously prevented some 50,000 sick and disabled people from benefiting from the long-term rates of supplementary benefit has already been ended for those over 60. From November other disabled people under 60 can qualify for the long-term rate after one year's receipt of a long-term incapacity benefit. That will be worth up to £7·30 extra for a single householder and up to £11·05 a week for a married couple. Mobility allowance will go up from £18·30 to £19 a week and the new mobility supplement for war pensioners with special mobility needs will initially be set at a rate of £21·15 a week. There will also be a further increase in the therapeutic earnings limit, which will go up from £20 to £22·50 a week. The rates of other disability benefits go up by 3·7 per cent.

The improvements we are making will increase the cost of the social security budget by £1·5 billion a year and will mean that in 1983–84 the total social security budget will be £35 billion. That increase is within the Government's expenditure plans as announced in the last budget.

That range of measures gives particular help to families with children and those on the lowest incomes, including the elderly. It also gives encouragement to those who are trying to make personal provision beyond the help which the state can provide. Taken together with the Government's achievements on inflation, they demonstrate our commitment to protect the standard of living of the most vulnerable groups in this country.

Photo of Mr Brynmor John Mr Brynmor John , Pontypridd

Although we refer to percentages, we are inevitably talking about the money on which millions of people—the sick, retired. disabled and unemployed—have to live. Is it not quite clear from the statement that those people face a year of rising inflation without any adequate protection against it? Will they not have greater hardship in both their household and shopping budgets? Are they not the first casualties of the recent Tory manifesto?

Does the Secretary of State accept the Chancellor's Budget estimate that the inflation rate in November, when the upratings will take place, will be 6 per cent.? If so, does not that mean that all social security beneficiaries will suffer a clawback— however well disguised—of 2·3 per cent.? Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that that will mean a loss of £1·20 a week for a retired or invalid married couple and 75p a week for a single person? Will not women receiving maternity benefit lose 55p a week? That shortfall will mean, especially for retirement pensioners, the confiscation next year of the equivalent of one week's pension. Will the right hon. Gentleman do nothing to protect pensioners against that irrevocable and unnecessary hardship?

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm the exact rise in what we all now call the Rossi price index— without speaking ill of the almost dead? Does not that show a rise of 4·5 per cent., whereas the right hon. Gentleman proposes to raise supplementary and housing benefits by 4·3 per cent.? Is that not a mean gesture towards the poorest in the land?

Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that total child support for short and long-term beneficiaries has been heavily cut during the past four years, and that the statement will do nothing to remedy that? Will not the statement result in long-term support for children falling this year, even on the 3·7 per cent. basis, by a further 20p a week? Although the right hon. Gentleman boasts about child benefit, is it not true that, because of the Government's failure to retain the real value of child benefit during the past four years, every couple has lost £80 for each child? Will not the right hon. Gentleman say frankly to the House that those 2 million children, the head of whose household is in receipt of supplementary benefit, will not receive the 11 per cent. rise in child benefit, but only 4·3 per cent.?

Has not the right hon. Gentleman departed from the conventions that have hitherto governed the mobility allowance? It was previously taken as part of the vehicle section of the RPI. For the disabled who are in need of mobility allowance, it means that, rather than the 70p rise that they will receive from the Government, they should have had £1·25 a week because petrol and oil prices have risen by 10 per cent. during the past year.

While we are all glad that the House forced the right hon. Gentleman— he must never forget that fact—to restore the 5 per cent. cut in unemployment benefit, is it not true that invalidity pension is still cut by 5 per cent. and that there is no proposal yet on the table for a scheme of taxation of that benefit? Has not the right hon. Gentleman reached the position where he must either produce such a scheme or restore the 5 per cent. cut?

The Government are deliberately widening the gulf between those in work and those millions who, through no fault of their own, cannot work and the other millions whose working life is over. Does not that treatment not only underline that there are two nations in this country, but that the Government care only for the richer of the two?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Secretary of State for Health and Social Security

The hon. Gentleman's last point is quite untrue. My statement shows the Government's concern, despite the world recession, to increase social security benefits and benefits for those most in need in our society.

I shall try to deal with all the hon. Gentleman's points. His first point referred to the new system, and he will know that we debated it at great length before the election. He must remember that if there is an increase in inflation between June and November, that will automatically be made good in the next uprating. That is dramatically different from the system that the Labour Government introduced in 1976, which was a once-and-for-all saving of £500 million in the social security budget.

With regard to inflation, the November forecast is still for around 6 per cent. and perhaps below 6 per cent. Even if we assume 6 per cent., between November 1978 and November 1983 prices will have increased by 70·7 per cent. and pensions by 74·6 per cent, which means that the Government have maintained their pledge to pensioners.

With regard to the hon. Gentleman's third point about the so-called clawback, the fact is that pensioners will keep everything that they were paid last November. This uprating will compensate fully for price increases between May 1982 and May 1983, and any increase in inflation between May and November will be picked up again in the next uprating.

On the hon. Gentleman's fourth point about low inflation, he must recognise a point that he consistently refused to recognise in the last Parliament—that the attainment of low inflation in this country is a tremendous achievement for pensioners and for all those living on fixed incomes.

The hon. Gentleman asked about children. Our achievement on child benefit shows that the amount now stands or will stand at an all-time record.

The Government inherited a mobility allowance of £10 a week. That will now increase to £19 a week. That shows a 90 per cent. increase in cash and a real increase of about 9 per cent.

On abatements, I must ask the hon. Gentleman to wait, but on invalidity pension we stand by what we said—namely, to restore the abatement when it is in tax.

Photo of Dr Brian Mawhinney Dr Brian Mawhinney , Peterborough

Does my right hon. Friend accept that the House will welcome and pensioners will note his confirmation that the proposed pension increases will give pensioners a higher pension in real terms than they had in the last year of the Labour Government? Does he further accept that the House will welcome the increase in the earnings rule for pensioners and will want to push him to extend that limit as far and as fast as possible?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Secretary of State for Health and Social Security

My hon. Friend's first point is entirely correct. Our aim is to abolish the earrings rule. I should point out, however, that in the last two upratings we have increased the earnings limit from £52 to £65, which, I believe, shows the earnest of our intentions.

Photo of Mr Clement Freud Mr Clement Freud , North East Cambridgeshire

What are the problems involved in bringing in twice-yearly upratings of benefits, which the Liberal party has urged for so long? We welcome the raising of the earnings limit, but does the right hon. Gentleman accept that the abolition of the pensioners' earnings rule has been Conservative Government policy for even longer than the abolition of rates?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Secretary of State for Health and Social Security

As I have said, we will work towards the abolition of the earnings rule. The twice-yearly upratings which the hon. Gentleman wants may be appropriate at a time of high inflation, but one of the advantages of bringing inflation down is that the case for twice-yearly upratings is very much reduced. What Liberal party policy, if I can call it that, ignores is that, as opposed to other countries in western Europe, people in this country are paid by weekly books rather than by the monthly automatic transfers which take place in most Common Market countries. As long as we stick to weekly books. it will take between five and six months to carry out the uprating. If that is the wish of the vast majority of pensioners, it will be difficult practically to move to the position that the hon. Gentleman wants.

Photo of Sir Brandon Rhys Williams Sir Brandon Rhys Williams , Kensington

May we particularly welcome my right hon. Friend's announcement of the increase in child benefit? In future upratings, will he always bear in mind that in order to restore the incentive to re-enter work for those out of work and to increase their earnings for those on low pay, much the most effective instrument he has is to increase the rate of child benefit for the children of those in work?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Secretary of State for Health and Social Security

I note what my hon. Friend says. As he has made clear, he recognises that this is a record amount for child benefit. I think that most of the country will support what he said about that.

Photo of Sir John Morris Sir John Morris Shadow Attorney General

Will the Minister confirm that the loss to a pensioner married couple on his proposals will be roughly equivalent to £1·20 a week, which, as my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd (Mr. John) put it, is roughly equivalent to the loss of one week's pension a year? Will the right hon. Gentleman explain what he meant when he said that if there is an increase in inflation between now and November, it will be made good? Will that be in November 1984 and will it be made retrospective to November 1983?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Secretary of State for Health and Social Security

I do not confirm that. We had this debate for several weeks before the general election. We have changed the system for uprating benefits because the system introduced by the Labour Government was wrong in five years out of seven. We have introduced a system which gives us certainty of measurement. There is now within it automatic adjustment, which means that, if there is an increase in inflation between May and November, that increase will be automatically picked up at the next uprating on the May to May measure. That is the system. It is fairer and more logical.

Photo of Mr Hugh Rossi Mr Hugh Rossi , Hornsey and Wood Green

May I express personal gratification at the increase of £1 in the needs allowance for families with children? That is a corollary of the increased need allowance that was given to pensioners when the scheme was first introduced. It is a discharge of undertakings given that savings within the scheme would be used to help beneficiaries most in need. As a derisory remark was made about the so-called 'Rossi formula", which was hotly disputed by the Opposition when it was introduced, will my right hon. Friend confirm that it was directly as a result of that formula that those in greatest need — those on supplementary benefit and supplementary pensions — are now getting a higher uprating than anyone else?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Secretary of State for Health and Social Security

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, and I say in public that he has made a tremendous contribution to social security.

My hon. Friend was characteristically right on the points that he made about housing benefit and the fact that we are recycling the savings. My hon. Friend's point on the housing element in supplementary benefit allows me to reply to what was said by the hon. Member for Pontypridd (Mr. John). The 4·3 per cent. is a full measurement, and it is that to which we are keeping.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Denton and Reddish

Will the Minister confirm that changing the system of uprating in the Budget actually involved a considerable cut in public expenditure and in the benefits paid out? the statement today represents a further cut on the estimates in the Budget of how much would have to be spent. if the right hon. Gentleman has already made these cuts, why is it necessary to cut the child dependency addition? Why cannot some of this money be used to help long-term unemployed by increasing the numbers entitled to longterm supplementary benefit, particularly when we remember that 1·3 million children are now living in households dependent on supplementay benefit?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Secretary of State for Health and Social Security

I have debated at great length —certainly with the hon. Gentleman—the advantages of the new system. I do not think that either of us is likely to convince the other of our relative positions. With regard to the child dependency addition, the aim has been for child support to be even-handed for those who are in and out of work. We have given priority to child benefit and to one-parent benefit, with which the hon. Gentleman would probably agree. I must point out to the hon. Gentleman that the long-term child dependency addition is still a substantial payment of £7·60 per child. In addition to that, a widow who receives long-term child dependency addition also receives child benefit.

Photo of Mr James Craigen Mr James Craigen , Glasgow Maryhill

If the Government are unwilling to raise the upratings to 6 per cent., will the Secretary of State consider reducing the time lag between the announcement and that uprating of benefit? The time lag appears to be outrageously long.

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Secretary of State for Health and Social Security

We will seek to do anything that we can to reduce further that time lag. We have reduced it on this occasion to a five-month period — admittedly a five-month period—but I am making the uprating statement much later in the year than has been the practice over the past few years. If we can make further progress, no one would be more pleased than I.

Photo of Mr Allen McKay Mr Allen McKay , Barnsley West and Penistone

As the Secretary of State said, we have debated this issue at length, but the difference between the uprating and the likely outturn of the Chancellor's statement on inflation means that people will have lost out. Despite the Minister's waffling, that is a fact. Will the right hon. Gentleman consider giving the amount lost in an increased Christmas bonus so that people do not lose out? If he wants to look after pensioners, why does he not consider increasing the cut-off limit for supplementary benefits?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Secretary of State for Health and Social Security

Even if we assume a 6 per cent. inflation rate in November, the fact remains that between November 1978 and November 1983 prices will have gone up by 70·7 per cent. and pensions by 74·6 per cent. The hon. Gentleman must recognise that pensioners are better off than when we came to power in 1979.

Several Hon. Members:


Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I will call the three hon. Members who are seeking to catch my eye, although they have had rather a good afternoon.

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes , Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. Will the Secretary of State stop his double talk and gobbledegook and come clean and confess to the House that if the Government had not changed from the prediction method to the historic method, he would be announcing at least a 6 per cent. rise for pensioners, and therefore they are losing out? Will he also confess that by November 1984, when the right hon. Gentleman said that he will try to redress the position, 500,000 pensioners will have died? It will not be much good for them, will it?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Secretary of State for Health and Social Security

If we had stayed on the forecast system and had the 2·7 per cent. adjustment that would have gone with it, pensioners would have been worse off, not better off.

Photo of Mr Max Madden Mr Max Madden , Bradford West

Bearing in mind the inflation forecast and the bumper tax handouts that the Government have given to the very rich, does the Secretary of State accept that millions of pensioners and unemployed people will see his statement as exceptionally mean and shabby treatment of people suffering very great hardship? Will the right hon. Gentleman say by how much pensions would be increased in November if they were still linked with earnings, as was the practice under the Labour Government? Will he also tell us whether his statement is an expression of social justice or a return to Victorian values?

Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton , Macclesfield

The hon. Gentleman will have to do better than that.

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Secretary of State for Health and Social Security

As my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) says, the hon. Gentleman will have to do better than that. That approach is all very well in the publicity department of Labour party headquarters, but it will not do on the Floor of the House.

The public will remember that in the last Budget, tax thresholds were increased and that that was a great benefit to many people on low incomes, I believe that most people will agree that it is logical to move in the way that we have. We have never made any secret of what we were proposing. We proposed it before the election, we fought the election on it and the hon. Gentleman is in a better position than most to know the result of that election.

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that millions of pensioners and disabled people will regard this handout as nothing more than a piece of Dickensian charity? Is he also aware that millions of people will be astounded to learn that in this highly technological computer age it is impossible for a Government who can get contributions from the masses almost at a stroke and can raise taxes almost overnight to find a system to pay pensions much nearer to the date when the increase is announced? In this case, they would be getting about 6 per cent. instead of 3·7 per cent. Will the right hon. Gentleman guarantee that there will be no Cabinet decision to pay hon. Members more than the Government have paid old age pensioners?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Secretary of State for Health and Social Security

The hon. Gentleman's final question does not remotely come under my responsibility. If the hon. Gentleman advocates moving from the weekly book form of payment, which would be a way of speeding up payments of pensions and other social security benefits, he is right in suggesting that we could make speedy progress. However, without that change, which the vast majority of pensioners do not want, we shall not be able to make such progress. As for the so-called meanness of what is being done, I remind the hon. Gentleman that we are spending £35 billion a year on the social security budget and that this uprating represents a further increase of £1·5 billion.

Photo of Mr Brynmor John Mr Brynmor John , Pontypridd

May I press the hon. Gentleman on two questions? First, can he tell me why he has broken the convention, adopted by Governments of both parties, of tying the rise in mobility allowance to the vehicles and transport section of the RPI? By doing SO, he is cutting the increase in the mobility allowance by 55p a week, and some very disadvantaged people want to know why he has done that.

Secondly, Will the right hon. Gentleman stop the charade of saying that any shortfall in the coming year will be made good in November 1984? He knows that it is never made good. An increase is never made retrospective. Therefore, pensioners will face next year a 6 per cent. rise in inflation with a 3·7 per cent. rise in pensions to compensate for that. Will the right hon. Gentleman go round Tesco's with a pensioner week after week and explain how to bridge the 2·3 per cent. gap?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Secretary of State for Health and Social Security

We went round the country explaining the system during the election campaign. We made no secret about it and I make no apology for the new system. The system that the Labour Government introduced was a bad system which failed to work. In his heart of hearts, the hon. Gentleman knows that that is the case.

Photo of Mr Brynmor John Mr Brynmor John , Pontypridd

The Secretary of State did not attempt to answer my question about mobility allowance. May I also ask why, if he is to change to the historic system, he does not protect the losers in the first year?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Secretary of State for Health and Social Security

We made it clear that we would increase pensions and other social security benefits. The supplementary benefit increase is morn than the 3·7 per cent. increase in the RPI. That is because of the new system that we introduced.

I apologise to the hon. Gentleman for not answering his question on mobility allowance. We reviewed mobility allowance and the increases in the RPI and in transport costs. We inherited a mobility allowance of £10 a week, and it has now gone up to £19 a week. That is a real increase of 9 per cent. and is about 5 per cent. ahead of transport costs in real terms over that period. We have also taken the mobility allowance out of tax. I believe that that is entirely fair, and I believe that the disabled will regard it as such.

Following is the schedule:

Main Increased Contributory and Non-Contributory Benefit Rates
Existing weekly rateProposed weekly rate
Child Benefit Each child5·856·50
One parent benefit First or only child of certain lone persons3·654·05
Standard rate of retirement* and widows' pensions, and widowed mothers' allowance
Single person32·8534·05
Wife or other adult dependant19·7020·45
Earnings limit for retirement pensioners57·0065·00
Standard rate of invalidity pension
Single person31·4532·60
Wife or other adult dependant18·8519·55
Invalidity allowance
Higher rate6·907·15
Middle rate4·404·60
Lower rate2·202·30
Standard rate of unemployment benefit:
Beneficiary under pension age
Single person25·0027·05
Wife or other adult dependant15·4516·70
Beneficiary over pension age
Single person31·4534·05
Wife or other adult dependant18·8520·45
Standard rate of sickness benefit:
Beneficiary under pension age
Single person25·0025·95
Wife or other adult dependant15·4516·00
Beneficiary over pension age
Single person31·4532·60
Wife or other adult dependant18·8519·55
Widows' allowance (first 26 weeks of widehood)45·9547·65
Maternity allowance25·0025·95
Attendance allowance
Higher rate26·2527·20
Lower rate17·501815
Retirement pension for persons over pensionable age on 5 July 1948 and for persons over 80*
Higher rate19·7020·45
Lower rate11·8012·25
Non-contributory invalidity pension19·7020·45
"Therapeutic" earnings20·0022·50
Invalid care allowance19·7020·45
Increase of non·contributory invalidity11·8012·25
pension and invalid care allowance
for a wife or other adult dependant
Mobility allowance18·3019·00
Guardian's allowance, child's special allowance7·957·60
Rate of benefit for children of widows, invalidity, non·contributory invalidity and retirement pensioners, invalid care beneficiaries; unemployment and sickness beneficiaries when claimant is over pension age7·957·60
Rate of benefit for children of all other beneficiaries0·300·15
* An age addition of 25p is payable to retirement pensioners who are aged 80 or over.

Main Increased Industrial Injuries Benefit Rates
Existing weekly rateProposed weekly rate
Disablement benefit (100 per cent, assessment)*53·6055·60
Unemployability supplement†‡31·4532·60
Special hardship allowance (maximum)21·4422·24
Constant attendance allowance (normal maximum), exceptionally severe disablement allowance21·5022·30
Industrial death benefit Widows' pension during the first 26 weeks of widowhood45·9547·65
Higher permanent rate33·4034·60
Lower permanent rate9·8610·22
* The rates for beneficiaries not over the age of 18 will also be increased.
† Invalidity allowances and increases for adult dependents and children will be the same as those payable with invalidity pensions.
‡ The amount of earnings permitted with unemployability supplement will also be increased.
Main increased supplementary benefit rates
Existing ordinary weekly rateExisting long term weekly rateProposed ordinary weekly rateProposed long term weekly rate
Supplementary benefit Couple41·7052·3043·5054·55
Person living alone25·7032·7026·8034·10
age 18 and over20·5526·1521·4527·25
age 16–1715·8020·0516·5020·90
Any other person aged:
11–15 years13·1513·70
under 11 years8·759·15
Existing weekly rateProposed weekly rate
Boarders personal expenses
Long term—couple18·9019·70
Heating additions to supplementary benefit
Lower rate1·902·05
Higher rate4·6550·5
Central heating additions
Lower rate1·902·05
Higher rate3·804·10
Estate rate heating additions
Lower rate3·804·10
Higher rate7·608·20
Existing levelProposed level
Supplementary Benefit
—Capital cut-off2,500 300*3,000 500
—Capital limit for single payments300500
* From November the first £1,500 surrender value of life assurance policies will also be disregarded.
Main Increased Housing Benefit Rates
Existing weekly rateProposed weekly rate
Needs allowances:
Single person41·4043·05
Couple/single parent61·0063·50
Single handicapped person46·1548·00
Couple (1 handicapped) or single handicapped parent65·7568·45
Couple (both handicapped)68·0070·80
Dependent child addition*11·4011·90
* From April 1984 this addition will increase to £12·90.
Main Increased War Pension Rates
All ranks receive the same increases, officers' rates being expressed in pounds per annum
Disablement Benefits
Existing weekly rateProposed weekly rate
Disablement pension for Private at 100 per cent, rate53·6055·60
Age allowance with assessments of:
40 to 50 per cent.3·703·85
Over 50 and not exceeding 70 per cent.5·856·05
Over 70 and not exceeding 90 per cent.8·358·65
Over 90 per cent.11·7012·10
Unemployability allowances
Personal allowance34·8536·15
Increase for wife or other adult dependant19·7020·45
Increase for child7·957·60
Constant attendance allowance
Special maximum43·0044·60
Special intermediate32·2533·45
Normal maximum21·5022·30
Half and quarter day10·7511·15
Comforts allowance
Higher rate9·309·60
Lower rate4·654·80
Mobility supplement*21·15
Allowance for lowered standard of occupation (maximum)21·4422·24
Exceptionally severe disablement allowance21·5022·30
Severe disablement occupational allowance10·7511·15
Existing annual rateProposed annual rate
Clothing allowance
Higher rate72·0075·00
Lower rate46·0048·00
* A new allowance payable from November 1983.
Death Benefits
Existing weekly rateProposed weekly rate
Widow's pension—private's widow:42·7044·25
Standard rate
Childless widow under 409·8610·22
Rent allowance (Maximum)16·2516·85
Age allowance for elderly widows4·154·30
Ages 65-69
Age 70 and over8·308·60
Adult orphans32·8534·05
Family Income Supplement
Existing weekly levelProposed weekly level
Family Income Supplement
Prescribed amount for family with one child (income below which Fis is payable)82·5085·50
Increase in prescribed amount for each additional child9·009·50
Maximum weekly amount for a one·child family21·0022·00
Increase in maximum amount for each additional child2·00no change