Below is the text of Mr Major’s written Parliamentary Answer on Heating Additions on 28th November 1986.
Mr. Baldry Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, when calculating the level of supplementary benefit, what specific consideration is given to heating costs; and how this is calculated.
Mr. Major The supplementary benefit scale rates are uprated in line with increases in the retail price index (excluding housing costs) which, among other things, reflects changes in fuel costs. Heating additions are reviewed separately against movements in the fuel element of the price index.
Mr. Leadbitter Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to (a) simplify the qualifying requirements for fuel allowances and (b) remove the average temperature level assessment, and establish the principle of direct payments for all retirement pensioners during the winter period.
Mr. Major This Government have simplified the system of weekly heating additions for supplementary benefit claimants by introducing automatic entitlement for certain groups, including householders aged 65 or over, long-term sick or disabled people, and families who have a child under five. These additions are paid throughout the year.
For payment in periods of exceptionally cold weather I refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) on 20 November at columns 326-27.