Below is the text of Mr Major's written Parliamentary Answer on Government Achievements (Pensioners) on 14th May 1987.
Mr. Peter Bruinvels Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the Government's achievements in respect of pensioners.
Mr. Major The Government's main achievement for pensioners has been the creation of a stable and improving economy, with low inflation. This has enabled pensioners at all income levels to improve their living standards, both absolutely and in relation to the population as a whole. Building on a secure foundation of a retirement pension fully protected against price increases, pensioners have, on average, increased their total net incomes in real terms by 18 per cent. over the period 1979-
In respect of social security benefits, the basic pension has more than kept pace with prices, and now stands at £63.25 for a married couple and £39.50 for a single person. The development of the earnings-
In respect of health and social services, provision for the increasing number of elderly people has been maintained and improved. The development of health services for elderly people has been one of the Government's highest priorities for the National Health Service. Our main objective has been to provide services which enable elderly people to live at home for as long as possible. To this end, the community health services have been expanded considerably. For example, between 1978 and 1985 the number of elderly people treated by district nurses rose by 28 per cent. and the number of elderly people treated by chiropodists rose by 25 per cent.
The specialty of geriatrician medicine has continued to expand. Between 1978 and 1985, the number of consultant geriatricians increased by 45 per cent. Between 1978 and 1985, the numbers of elderly in-
Since 1979 age allowances in the tax system have been increased significantly in real terms and this year a new higher age allowance was introduced for people aged 80 and over. About 400,000 elderly single people and married couples will benefit; up to 25,000 will be taken out of tax completely by the new allowance.