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Low-Income Families

Volume 33: debated on Monday 6 December 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he considers that the cost of living of low-income families is accurately reflected by the general index of retail prices.

I am satisfied that the retail prices index fairly represents the impact of prices on the households within its scope, which cover about 85 per cent. of all households in the United Kingdom. The only notable exclusions are those low income pensioner households covered by the pensioner price indices, who account for some two-fifths of all pensioners, and certain households on very high incomes. Experience to date does not suggest that there would be any advantage in moving to a more narrowly based price index for general upratings of social security benefits, since over time any differences have tended to cancel each other out.