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Heating Allowances

Volume 893: debated on Tuesday 17 June 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether she will place in the Library the calculations on which she bases the statement in her Written Reply of Tuesday 10th June 1975 to the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East that there is no evidence to suggest that the numbers of those eligible for but not receiving supplementary heating additions are large.

As my hon. Friend explained in his reply to my hon. Friend on 10th June—[Vol. 893, c. 164–5.]—there is no way of knowing how many beneficiaries at any one time might be entitled to an extra heating addition but do not receive it. As at February 1975, 744,000 beneficiaries, including 644,000 supplementary pensioners, were receiving such additions compared with 503,000–445,000 pensioners—in November 1973. The increase has been the result of easements in the qualifying criteria, increased publicity and continuing efforts by local officers of the Department. Given that such additions can only be awarded where there are exceptional circumstances the Supplementary Benefits Commission considers that the scope for further improvement in these figures is limited and has no evidence to suggest that the potential is large.