asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the latest figure of the number of pensioners in receipt of supplementary pension and the numbers who are entitled to receive it but are not claiming it.
About 1·7 million pensioners were in receipt of supplementary pension in August 1982. Data from the 1981 family expenditure survey are not yet available, so I cannot add to my reply to the hon. Member on 5 April 1982—[Vol. 21, c. 248]—about the number not claiming.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why the single person's supplementary pension needs allowance has been increased by only £3·10 per week to £32·70, when the basic retirement pension for a single pensioner has been increased by £3·25 per week to £32·85.
The increase in retirement pensions was decided on the basis of a forecast of the rise in the retail prices index, while the increase in the supplementary benefit rates was based on a forecast of the rise in the retail prices index excluding housing costs, which was half a percentage point less. This method of uprating was adopted because supplementary benefit scale rates are intended to cover expenses other than housing costs, which are provided for separately.