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Heating Addition

Volume 87: debated on Thursday 21 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the criteria for designating properties as eligible for estate rate heating addition; and which officers within each of his Department's regions or offices are responsible for identifying properties as eligible for estate rate heating addition.

Estate rate heating additions are payable to supplementary benefit claimants who are householders where the home is part of an estate with a heating system of which my right hon. Friend has in his discretion recognised the running costs to be disproportionately high. The factors taken into account in deciding whether or not to recognise particular heating systems are set out in paragraphs 4293–4296 of the 'S' manual of staff guidance, a copy of which is in the Library.Following the introduction of the present scheme for estate rate heating additions in August 1982, all local offices were asked to identify estates with heating systems which might qualify, consulting fuel boards and landlords as necessary. We also enlisted the help of the local authority associations, which circulated their members with details of the policy, and a press release was issued. These measures have produced a large response from our own local offices, local authorities and other interested bodies. The local officers involved would vary from office to office but would be drawn from those dealing with supplementary benefit. Decisions on whether or not to recognise particular heating systems as disproportionately expensive are taken on behalf of my right hon. Friend by officials in the Department's headquarters.