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Social Security Benefits (Uprat1ng)

Volume 981: debated on Thursday 27 March 1980

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

I will, with permission, Mr. Speaker, make a statement about next November's increases in social security benefits, and about the other changes foreshadowed in the Chancellor's statement yesterday.

The retirement pension for a single person will go up by £3·85, from £23·30 to £27·15, and the rate for a married couple by £6·15, from £37·30 to £43·45. These increases match the full 161½ per cent. expected movement in prices between the last uprating and the next, which, under clause 1 of the Social Security Bill passed by this House and now in another place, has been fixed for 24 November.

Other benefits which will be similarly price protected include widows' pensions, war and industrial disablement pensions, non-contributory invalidity pension, new scheme additional pensions and graduated pensions, attendance allowance and invalid care allowance. There will be a special improvement in mobility allowance—from £12 to £14·50 a week—an increase of 21 per cent.

Supplementary pensions will be increased and aligned with the new basic retirement pension.

As announced yesterday, child benefit will be increased by 75p to £4·75 a week for each child. The premium for one-parent families will go up by 50p to £3 a week. Thus, a single parent with two children will get £12·50 for the children, compared with £10·50 at present.

Family income supplement for lower paid workers will be raised in November by an average of one-third, thus considerably improving the real value of this benefit. This includes an extra amount for fuel costs—to which I shall return later.

Most of the long-term contributory benefits that I have mentioned so far are taxable. In contrast, the short-term benefits and invalidity benefit have hitherto not been treated as part of taxable income, although it has been common ground on both sides of the House that they should, in principle, be taxed. As my right hon. and learned Friend said yesterday, proposals to achieve that will be put before the House in due course, so that these benefits will be treated as part of taxable income from April 1982, or as soon as possible thereafter. This is necessary to restore a fairer balance between incomes in work and out of work.

As an interim step, these untaxed benefits will be increased next November by 11½ per cent.—5 per cent. less than the increase in the taxed long-term benefits. Accordingly, sickness and unemployment benefit will go up by £2·15 a week for a single person, and by £3·45 a week for a married couple, to £20·65 and £33·40 respectively. Invalidity pension will be increased by £2·70 to £26·00 for a single person, and by £4·30 to £41·60 for a married couple. The dependency increases for children paid with these benefits will be increased by 16½ per cent., offset by the 75p increase in child benefit.

The Government are determined to maintain the safety net for the poorest people and accordingly the scale rates of short-term supplementary benefit will be fully price protected by increasing them in line with the 16½ per cent. forecast.

The cost of this uprating will be about £3 billion in a full year. About two-thirds of that will be met out of the national insurance fund, and I shall review contribution rates as usual in the autumn. Any necessary changes will take effect from April 1981.

For the convenience of the House, I am circulating details of the new rates of benefit in the Official Report, and copies will be available in the Vote Office.

The social security programme costs about £20 billion a year. It accounts for about one quarter of all public expenditure. It has grown, in real terms, by £7,000 million over the last 10 years, and now costs the equivalent of £1,000 for every household in the land. Continuing growth at this rate cannot be sustained, particularly at a time of nil or falling economic growth. Even after making the savings announced by the Chancellor yesterday, this programme will still rise next year by about 2½ per cent. in real terms. Moreover, given the need to contain the size of the public sector borrowing requirement, it is inescapable that this programme must bear some share of the necessary economies.

The savings that we have identified affect primarily those on short-term benefit, above the supplementary benefit level. Though I cannot pretend that they will be welcome, I must stress again that the "safety-net"—the short-term supplementary benefit level below which none shall fall—retains its real value.

The changes affect the earnings-related supplement, the linking rules for sickness and unemployment benefit, eligibility of occupational pensioners for unemployment benefit and the limit for the retirement pensioners earnings rule.

First, earnings-related supplement: I propose that from January 1981, the 15 per cent. rate of supplement on earnings over £30 a week, paid with short-term incapacity, unemployment and widowhood benefits, should be reduced to 10 per cent. and that, a year later, in January 1982, the supplement as a whole should come to an end.

The supplement was introduced in 1966, since when circumstances have considerably changed. Redundancy payments are now more generous and the rapid development of employers' sick pay schemes means that the supplement—which has been allowed by successive Governments to decline in real value—is much less significant than formerly.

Next, the linking rules: the changes we propose will tighten the rules in relation to very short spells of incapacity, or repeated spells off work. We propose to shorten the linking period from the present 13 weeks to six weeks. In addition, we propose that benefits should not be paid for spells lasting three days or less. Both rules have, in the past, given scope for abuse. In particular, the operation of the 13-week rule has led to people getting the higher invalidity benefit after a succession of widely spaced but short spells of minor illness—a circumstance for which it was never intended.

Thirdly, unemployment benefit for occupational pensioners: these are, by definition, people who have retired and taken a pension. The proposal we make is that from April 1981 unemployment benefit will be reduced, pound for pound, for those whose pensions exceed £35 a week. The House has, on no fewer than three occasions, rejected this change, and I myself have spoken and voted against it. Yet, when economies in the social security budget must be made, it is not now reasonable to protect entitlement to a year's unemployment benefit for people who have retired and are in receipt of significant occupational pensions.

Finally, in the context of the economic situation as a whole, it is difficult to justify further increases in the earnings limit at this stage. At a time when other groups are having to make sacrifices, we believe that it is right to hold the earnings limit at its present level of £52 a week for the time being. However we remain firmly committed to ending the earnings rule as soon as circumstances allow.

The overall effect of this group of changes, including the 5 per cent. abatement, will be to save at current prices £270 million in 1981–82 and £480 million in 1982–83, less than 2 per cent. of the social security budget as a whole. But, I repeat, this programme will still be growing at a time of falling output.

Legislation will be needed to implement these changes. A Bill will be published tomorrow, which will also cover the changes in supplementary benefits for strikers' families, outlined by my right hon. and learned Friend yesterday.

I come now to help with fuel costs for consumers who are hardest hit. The supplementary benefit heating additions usually go up in line with fuel costs and, of course, the main scale rates of benefit take account of fuel costs with other living expenses. But this year we recognise that this would not be enough, and I am therefore proposing a special package.

First, the basic rate heating addition will be nearly half as much again, increasing from 95p a week to £1·40—that is, to £72·80 a year. Secondly, the middle and upper rates will be not only increased but merged into a combined rate of £3·40 a week, worth £176·80 a year. This will simplify the scheme and will mean an increase of almost 80 per cent. for some 350,000 people, largely the sick, the disabled and the old.

In addition to these substantial increases, the basic rate heating addition of £1·40 a week will be paid automatically to supplementary pensioner households above the age of 70—this winter's scheme was confined to the over 75s—and to supplementary benefit families with children under 5. Although most severely disabled people on supplementary benefit already qualify for a heating addition, there will be a "fail-safe" arrangement to pick up any who do not. Furthermore, in order to help low income families in work, a special addition of £1 per week will go to FIS families, on top of the £1 already added for fuel this winter.

We are taking other measures outside the social security schemes. Needy pensioners will be helped to save fuel by raising the grant under the home insulation scheme from 66 per cent. to 90 per cent. of the cost. Ministers are also launching an urgent study into ways of helping the old and disabled to save fuel, by insulating their homes, by draught proofing and by making better use of heating appliances. Such a scheme could involve the voluntary bodies and could use younger unemployed people under existing Manpower Services Commission powers. The fuel industries, too, are being encouraged to play their part by sensitive handling of the problems of poor consumers and by developing and extending their easier payment arrangements.

This is, by any standards, a substantial package of extra help. Expenditure on supplementary benefit heating additions, apart from the special measures we announced for this last winter, is running at about £100 million a year. The continuation of this winter's measures adds about £20 million the measures I have just announced add a further £85 million. We shall thus be spending in total over £200 million a year on special help for those least able to cope with rising fuel costs.

In a very difficult year we are protecting benefits for the elderly, preserving intact the safety net below which none shall fall, providing worthwhile help for lone parents and low income families with children and giving substantial new help with fuel costs to the needy.

The Government came into office committed to help those in the greatest need, and that is what we are doing. By next November, lone parents will have benefited by a 50 per cent. increase in the child benefit addition, by entitlement to the higher long-term rate of supplementary benefit after one year instead of two, and by a more generous sliding scale of disregard for earnings. Low income earners with children, including single-parent earners, will have been helped by doubling the family income supplement.

The disabled will have been helped by a 45 per cent. increase in mobility allowance, as well as by getting the longterm supplementary benefit rate after one year instead of two. The married pension will have gone up by £12.25 per week. No fewer than 2 million needy people will receive help with their fuel bills. That means £20 million more, in real terms, than in the last year of the previous Government. These are not the actions of a Government who do not care. But caring is not just: coping with the present; it is safeguarding the future. If we do not make this country more prosperous, the people we want to help the most will be the very people who will suffer most—the old, the sick, the disabled and the poor. It is on their behalf that I commend this package to the House.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is there any device whereby it is possible to avoid a Minister having to make to the House a statement lasting a quarter of an hour which is difficult for right hon. and hon. Members not in possession of the text to absorb and still enable the facts to be dealt with in debate by this House?

The content of the Minister's statement is, of course, a matter for his judgment. I cannot help the right hon. Gentleman.

The closing remarks of the Secretary of State cannot hide the fact that the Budget and the statement he has made today are a fundamental attack upon millions of working people and the unemployed. The last time that unemployment benefit was reduced in real terms was in 1928. The present reduction, along with the proposed reduction in invalidity and sick benefit, will mean a five-point reduction—or one-third—of their entitlement. What will the Secretary of State do to protect the people he will now put below the poverty level? How many more people now will be forced to go on supplementary benefit, a benefit that we want to see phased out and reduced?

I think that the House should note that invalidity benefit was introduced by a previous Conservative Government and has now been changed from a long-term benefit to a short-term benefit. Along with the invalidity payment, will the noncontributory invalidity pension, invalid care allowance and the housewives' noncontributory invalidity pension have to take account of the five-point reduction that the right hon. Gentleman is proposing? Perhaps he would inform the House about that.

Let us consider the effect on the low paid workers of the removal of the lowest rate tax band. By abolishing the reduced rate band of tax and failing to increase child benefit in line with inflation, the Secretary of State has actually helped to reduce incentives for the low paid and has widened the poverty gap. Perhaps he would answer that point. The House should also note that by fixing the date of payment as 24 November he has actually taken £34 million in benefit away from people which would have been paid to them if the date had been 17 November, and he ought to account for that. That is a lot of money for people on benefit.

I now turn to the removal or deeming of £12 in relation to strikers' families. We see this as a direct attack upon the trade union movement. Law-abiding families are being treated on a different basis from families of convicted people. It is right to treat families of convicted people decently, but this Government are making an example of the families of those who are on strike.

I turn now to the health charges. I am glad to see that the right hon. Lady the Prime Minister is present. On 18 April 1979 she said:
"Let me make this clear: the Conservative Party has no plans for new National Health Service charges."
What is the charge for the eye test other than a new charge under the National Health Service? Where does the Prime Minister stand in regard to that statement?

The new prescription charge is a direct tax on health. Surely it is outrageous that, before it has been increased to 70p, the increase to £1 has already been announced. I ask the Secretary of State whether he will make any further exemptions to assist those who will feel the weight of this new charge. It is no good Conservative Members laughing because—

We did not increase it to £1.[ Interruption. ] It is the working poor who will feel the effect of this increase to £1 and I hope Conservative Members take note of that.

I assume that the Secretary of State wants to act legally but why has he not given the uprating, based both on earnings and prices, in line with the 1975 Act? The Social Security Bill is not yet law and he has no right to give the uprating based on prices only. The Bill has not even gone to another place and we are entitled to know why the 1975 Act has not been implemented. We have had difficulty with the Secretary of State on previous issues.

In regard to pensioners, if a shortfall is forecast, will the Secretary of State make it good and not act as he did on the previous shortfall? [ Interruption. ] I think I am entitled to ask these questions. If the Government make these changes, we are entitled to ask searching questions.

The abolition of the earnings-related benefit is absolute robbery, because people have contributed to the earnings-related benefit since 1966. What percentage of people actually receive redundancy payments, and what percentage of their contribution based on their average earnings goes towards earnings-related benefit? Will contributions now be reduced to take account of the benefit that the right hon. Gentleman is removing?

Finally, I come to a subject that will interest Conservative Members—child benefit. Will the Secretary of State confirm that £1.20 is the correct amount to meet the rate of inflation by November this year? Is he aware that by not raising child benefit by £1.20 he is hitting the families of this country, cer- tainly those on lower incomes, and is devaluing child benefit? The right hon. Gentleman has paid lip service to child benefit time and again. Twice in their manifesto the Conservatives stated their adherence to the principle of child benefit, yet it is being reduced. What will the Secretary of State do to protect the family during a period of inflation and rising unemployment?

I believe that we are entitled to an answer to the questions that I have put to the Secretary of State.

At the beginning of his questions the right hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) engaged in what can only be described as a piece of political hysteria. To describe the package that I announced to the House as a fundamental attack on millions of working people is sheer rubbish. The right hon. Gentleman linked that with the 5 per cent. abatement of the short-term national insurance benefits. He will know that he was fully committed in principle to the taxation of short-term national insurance benefits. He wrote me a letter in 1976, and I was so impressed with it that I had it put into Hansard. He wrote that there was little doubt that in principle all such benefits should be taxed.

The right hon. Gentleman went on to refer to administrative difficulties. I am happy to tell him that we are coping with the administrative difficulties.

The right hon. Gentleman asked me how many people would be added to the supplementary benefit list. In 1981–82, the first full year during which all the measures that I have announced will take effect if the abatement of earnings-related supplement is included, the addition is about 30,000.

NCIP, attendance allowance and invalid care allowance are not subject to abatement.

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned the reduced rates of tax and incentives. The Budget as a whole improves the "Why work?" position for those in receipt of national insurance benefits. As we are maintaining the safety net for the poorest in the land through supplementary benefit, there is a marginal reduction in incentive for those at that level. That position is being helped by the large additions that we have made to the family income supplement.

The right hon. Gentleman queried the date of payment. My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer said yesterday that 16½ per cent. is the anticipated rate of inflation between the previous uprating and the next. Therefore, inflation has been taken fully into account.

It is suggested that the measures concerning strikers' families represent an attack on the trade union movement. The amount of supplementary benefit which has been paid to the steel strikers to date is over £8 million. The Iron and Steel Trades Confederation has not—[ Interruption. ] £8 million—and the unions at the centre of that strike have paid not a penny piece in strike pay to their members. If our proposals had been in force, the supplementary benefit payments would have been about half those that have been paid.

I shall deal with health charges and prescription charges on another occasion as we are now discussing social security. I stress that 66 per cent. of prescription charges go to those who are exempt. That includes all those who would be hard hit by the increase. There is the annual £12 "season ticket" arrangement from 1 December.

The right hon. Gentleman had his fun about legality when talking about earnings and prices. The order effecting the uprating that I have proposed cannot be brought before the House until the Social Security Bill is enacted. The whole thing will be lawful.

We have given a categorical undertaking that pensioners will be protected against rises in prices. The right hon. Gentleman knows that entitlement to the earnings-related supplement in any calendar year rests on the applicant having a contribution record in the preceding fiscal year ending 31 March. The entitlement rule is being fully observed in the abolition of the earnings-related supplement in 1982.

The reduction and the ending of the earnings-related supplement will be one of the factors that the Government Actuary will have to take into account when considering the con- tribution rate. As the hon. Gentleman knows, it is a pay-as-you-go scheme.

I move on to child benefit. In a difficult year, when it has not been possible to maintain the full value of the effect of the tax allowances, the combined effect of the measures that my right hon. and learned Friend announced yesterday was an overall 11 per cent. increase on an annual basis of personal allowances. That is exactly equivalent to the annual rate of increase of child benefit of 18¾ per cent. over 19 months as equivalent to 11 per cent. over 12 months. The figures are closely in line. Therefore, we are entitled to call this a family Budget.

Order. I understand that it is the intention to debate these matters on Monday next, when they will be the main burden of the debate. To be fair to those who are to participate in today's debate, I propose to call four hon. Members from each side of the Chamber before moving on to other matters.

My right hon. Friend has announced a package that means a substantial increase in real terms for the social security budget. Does he agree that the extravagant language from the Opposition Front Bench is wholly irresponsible and unrealistic?

Order. We must restrain ourselves. This is a time not for debate but for elucidation of the statement. The debate will come later.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, in view of the package, the line drawn between short-term benefits and long-term benefits will be of great importance, especially for those who have been out of work and sick for a long period?

I accept what my hon. Friend says. I am grateful to him for his remarks about the whole package. Many right hon. and hon. Members will know that many invalidity beneficiaries choose not to move to the pension because the pension is taxed and long-term invalidity benefit is not. That makes a nonsense of the failure to tax benefits, including the invalidity benefit. As the figures that I announced indicated, it is a much higher rate. Equally, it is right that it should be treated as part of taxable income.

Does the right hon. Gentleman recognise that, apart from the decisions that he and his right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer have taken on prescription charges, his decision to cut back in real terms on unemployment benefit, invalidity benefit and child benefit means that he is no longer able to fulfil the proper responsibilities of the Secretary of State for Social Services, which are to protect those who are least able to protect themselves? In view of all that he said before the election, especially on child benefit, does he believe that he should continue to hold his present post?

My right hon. Friend kindly said "Yes". That is the answer to the right hon. Gentleman's question. I am grateful to my right hon. Friend. The package that I have announced goes the whole way to protect those in the greatest need. As the right hon. Gentleman was equally committed with his right hon. Friends to tax short-term benefits, he has no right to quarrel with the 5 per cent. abatement.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the proposal on strike pay and the deemed £12 a week is widely welcomed in the country because it has been considered extremely unfair that those who are on strike should benefit from the taxpayer? Does he agree that the deemed £12 a week will mean that the taxpayer is picking up some of the cost of this social payment? Does he accept that it is high time that the Opposition realised that union funds and the contributions that ordinary trade unionists make to those funds should be used when members are called out on strike by their leaders?

I am happy to agree with my hon. Friend. I have no doubt whatever that this change will be widely welcomed in the country, not least by many trade union members who believe that it will make their unions act more responsibly.

Does not the Minister realise that to deem that people have had money when they have not received it is unprecedented and must in some cases be outrageously unfair? Would it not be better for the Government to take powers so that they can work out the total sum involved and then send the bill to the trade union involved—or is the Minister afraid of the trade unions?

I suggest that the hon. Gentleman waits for the Bill tomorrow. Neither my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor nor I said anything about deeming. We are simply saying that the amount of supplementary benefit to which a striker should be entitled for his family will be reduced by £12. It will not he deemed. It will be reduced by £12. It will apply to all strikers. It is reasonable to assume that they will have made, either through their unions or individually, provision to cover themselves in the event of a strike.

I welcome the generous fuel assistance package announced by my right hon. Friend. First, will he confirm that it is intended that this should be paid not only to those on supplementary benefit but to those in work who are low paid and who therefore receive FIS? Secondly, will be confirm that, unlike past fuel assistance schemes, it does not depend on a particular fuel being used, but will be payable whether gas, electricity or solid fuel is used?

One of the great advantages of the more limited scheme this winter and the greatly expanded scheme of next winter is that they cover all fuels. It is a help to those in the greatest need with their fuel costs, whatever fuel they use. My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The help going to those in work—that is, families with children who are entitled to family income supplement—as with all FIS payments that continue, once awarded, for a year, operates as a considerable incentive for those who return to, or remain at, work.

Is the Minister aware that most people, certainly working people, will regard these policies as sheer class policies and think that the Government are acting in a mean and callous fashion? The people will get the Government out of office at the earliest possible moment. I hope that the trade movement takes the strongest possible action to do that.

I am not sure whether the hon. Gentleman is advocating that the union should engage in political strikes against a democratically elected Government. If so, I should have thought that he, as a good Member of the House of Commons, would be unwise to pursue that course. The constituents of the hon. Gentleman, as much as those of any other Member of Parliament, are thoroughly fed up with the sight of people being better off out of work. The Budget and the changes I announced make a start on dealing with that.

Referring to the contribution that may be expected from the unions towards the strike pay, is not ours the only country in Europe in which hitherto the whole of the support for those on strike has been extracted from the taxpayer? Does not this change enable us to look to the unions for a reasonable contribution and, as a result, a much greater measure of responsibility?

My hon. and learned Friend is right when he says that ours is the only country to do this. This is one of the measures which the Government are taking in fulfilment of their pledge to even up the balance between employers and unions.

Does the Secretary of State recoil last week's debate on the Social Security Bill, and especially that on child benefit? Was not he pressed strongly by his own Back Benchers? Did not he seem to agree that child benefit was the best way to reduce the poverty trap? Did he make any attempt in the Cabinet to get more than 75p this time?

The hon. Gentleman would not expect me to answer that question. Perhaps I could say that the 75p is the equivalent of an increase in child tax allowance of £130. I suspect that if my right hon. and learned Friend had announced an increase in the child tax allowance of £130, he would have been applauded by hon. Members on both sides of the House. When we come to convert this into weekly payment, it is made to look much smaller.

The advantage of the child benefit is that it goes to people who are below the tax threshold and who would not be able to obtain the advantage of a child tax allowance. Therefore, it is a great improvement on that. If we increased the child benefit by the figure of £1.20, the subject of the amendment on the Report stage of the Social Security Bill, it would have cost £90 million more in the current year and £250 million more in a full year. Anybody who advocates that course must be prepared to say where that money should come from.

I thought that you were about to call another member of the Opposition, Mr. Speaker.

Order. I called four hon. Members from either side, as I said I would. I always conclude with a Front Bench Member.

When the Secretary of State refers to the reduction in unemployment benefit in real terms, that has nothing to do with the principle of taxation, which would be on a fair basis and which would enable the threshold to be raised. What are the Government doing? As I stated, the Secretary of State is making a reduction in real terms. Is it not the first reduction of that kind since 1928?

As the right hon. Gentleman would know if he studied the public expenditure White Paper and table 5.13, at the back, the yield from taxing these short-term national insurance benefits would have been £430 million. The yield from the 5 per cent. abatement that we suggest is about £133 million, which is about one-third as much. As he was committed in principle to taxation, he cannot complain about a 5 per cent. abatement yielding one-third of the revenue.

Following is the information:


Existing weekly rate

Proposed weekly rate

Child benefit:
Each child4·004·75
Child benefit increase:
First or only child of certain lone persons2·503·00
Standard rate of retirement* and widows' pensions, and widowed mothers' allowance:
Single person23·3027·15
Wife or other adult dependant14·0016·30
Standard rate of invalidity pension:
Single person23·3026·00
Wife or other adult dependant14·0015·60
Invalidity allowance payable with retirement pension:
Higher rate4·905·70
Middle rate3·103·60
Lower rate1·551·80
Invalidity allowance payable with invalidity pension:
Higher rate4·905·45
Middle rate3·103·45
Lower rate1·551·75
Standard rate of unemployment and sickness benefits:

Beneficiary under pension age:

Single person18·5020·65
Wife or other adult dependant11·4512·75

Beneficiary over pension age:

Single person23·3026·00
Wife or other adult dependant14·0015·60
Widows' allowance (first 26 weeks of widowhood)32·6038·00
Maternity allowance18·5020·65
Attendance allowance:
Higher rate18·6021·65
Lower rate12·4014·45
Retirement pension for persons over pensionable age on 5 July 1948 and for persons over 80*:
Higher rate14·0016·30
Lower rate8·409·80
Non-contributory invalidity pension, invalid care allowance14·0016·30
Increase of non-contributory invalidity pension and invalid care allowance for a wife or other adult dependant8·409·80
Mobility allowance12·0014·50
Guardian's allowance, child's special allowance7·107·50
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 age7·107·50
Rate of benefit for children of all other beneficiaries1·701·25
* An age addition of 25p is payable to retirement pensioners who are aged 80 or over.


Existing weekly rate

Proposed weekly rate

Injury benefit*†21·2523·40
Disablement benefit (100 per cent, assessment)*38·0044·30
Unemployability supplement‡23·3026·00
Special hardship allowance (maximum)15·2017·70
Constant attendance allowance (normal maximum), exceptionally severe disablement allowance15·2017·70
Industrial death benefit:
Widows' pension during the first 26 weeks of widowhood32·6038·00
Widows' pension now payable at £23·85 rate23·8527·70
Widows' pension now payable at £6·99 rate6·998·15

* The rates for beneficiaries not over the age of 18 will also be increased.

† Increases for adult dependants and children will be the same as those payable with unemployment and sickness benefits, where claimant is under pension age.
‡ Invalidity allowances and increases for adult dependants and children will be the same as those payable with invalidity pensions.


Existing ordinary weekly rate

Existing long-term weekly rate

Proposed ordinary weekly rate

Proposed long-term weekly rate

Supplementary benefit:
Husband and wife29·7037·6534·6043·45
Person living alone18·3023·7021·3027·15
Age 18 and over14·6518·9517·0521·70
Age 16–1711·2513·1016·65
Any other person aged
13–15 years9·3510·90
11–12 years7·70
5–10 years6·257·30
Under 5 years5·20

Existing weekly rate

Proposed weekly rate

Non-householder housing addition1·702·15
Heating additions to supplementary benefit0·951·40
Dietary additions to supplementary benefit1·051·20
Blindness addition to supplementary benefit1·25
Addition for claimant or dependant over age 800·250·25

All ranks receive the same increases, officers' rates being expressed in pounds per annum.

Existing weekly rate

Proposed weekly rate

Disablement pension for private at 100 per cent, rate38·0044·30
Unemployability allowances:
Personal allowance24·7028·80
Increase for wife or other adult dependant14·0016·30
Increase for child7·107·50
Comforts allowance:
Higher rate6·607·70
Lower rate3·303·85
Allowance for lower standard of occupation (maximum)15·2017·70
Constant attendance allowance:
Special maximum30·4035·40
Special intermediate22·8026·55
Normal maximum15·2017·70
Half and quarter day7·608·85
Age allowance with assessments of:
40 and 50 per cent.2·653·10
Over 50 and not exceeding 70 per cent4·104·80
Over 70 and not exceeding 90 per cent5·906·85
Over 90 per cent8·209·60
Exceptionally severe disablement allowance15·2017·70
Severe disablement occupational allowance7·608·85

Existing annual rate

Proposed annual rate

Clothing allowance:
Higher rate51·0059·00
Lower rate32·0037·00


Existing weekly rate

Proposed weekly rate

Widows' pension—private's widow: widowers' pension:
Standard rate30·2035·30
Childless widow under 406·998·15
Rent allowance11·5013·40
Age allowance for elderly widows:
Ages 65–692·953·45
Age 70 and over5·906·90
Adult orphans23·3027·15


Existing weekly level

Proposed weekly level

Family Income Supplement:
Prescribed amount for family with one child (income below which FIS is payable)56·0067·00
Increase in prescribed amount for each additional child4·507·00
Maximum weekly amount for a one-child family13·5017·00
Increase in maximum amount for each additional child1·001·50