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Supplementary Benefits Commission (Report)

Volume 972: debated on Monday 29 October 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proposals he has to deal with all those cases which fall into the category of poverty defined by the Supplementary Benefits Commission in its annual report as a standard of living so low that it cuts people off from normal community life; and what assessment he has made to ensure that the Commission's concern that benefits should keep people warm, reasonably fed and well enough dressed to maintain self-respect is met.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps he is taking to meet the observation of the Supplementary Benefits Commission that the new heating allowances do not meet the needs of the poorest and that many will be priced out of the fuel market.

I think that the hon. Member has somewhat misread the Commission's remarks in chapter 5 of its annual report for 1978—Cmnd. 7725. As my right hon. Friend said in his statement to the House on 22 October, the Government are aware of the need to take the cost of energy into acount in developing their social policies, and will keep under review the range of help available to assist poor consumers with their fuel bills.