asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will undertake not to introduce more stringent criteria for exemption from prescription charges in order to reduce the number of individuals who benefit.
My right hon. Friend has no plans to change the exemption categories or reduce the number of patients entitled to exemption from prescription charges. From 1 April, when the charge increases to 70p, there will also be an increase in the level at which low-income exemption may be claimed, thus extending exemption from charges to more people.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will undertake that a reasonable period will go by, after 1 April, before the next but one increase in cost per prescription item from the present 45p.
I regret that I cannot give any undertaking since it is not possible to anticipate the outcome of the current review of public expenditure.