Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Elderly Persons (Nottingham)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:37 pm on 25th March 1988.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Michael Portillo Mr Michael Portillo , Enfield, Southgate 2:37 pm, 25th March 1988

I do not dispute that a small minority will lose, but I advise the hon. Gentleman that the vast majority will either remain the same or gain. Many of those people have been stirred up to anxiety or worry, and even though those anxieties will prove groundless, I am concerned that they are being put through such distress at the moment.

As for capital, apart from housing benefit, there has always been a capital rule for other income-related benefits. What discourages thrift in the first place is having a benefit system. One must recognise that as soon as there is a benefit system there is less reason to provide for one's future than there was before. That is a problem in itself. If one is to direct benefits to the people who need them most, there must be some sort of rule about the level of income at which they cease to qualify and at what amount of capital they cease to qualify. We think that we have got that about right with the important advantage that now, in all three income-related benefits, the same rule on capital will apply. That will be less confusing and lead to fewer perverse results than we have sometimes had in the past.