Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Assisted Area Status, Scotland

The Earl of Mar and Kellie asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: Careful consideration has been given to the Assisted Area map for the whole of Scotland and the Government have listened carefully to all representations that have been made. The European Commission raised a number of concerns that required changes to the original proposal. The most recent proposal, published on 10 April 2000, gives Scotland a population coverage of 48 per cent, down by only 1 per cent from the original proposal. I am sure that the final outcome will be good for Scotland.

House Prices

Lord Jacobs asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter to Lord Jacobs from the National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics, Mr Len Cook, dated 28 June 2000.

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent parliamentary Questions HL2899 and HL2900. HL2899 asks for the current underlying rate of inflation if the depreciation component had not been introduced in 1995. HL2900 asks by what annual rate the average price of owner occupied homes has depreciated or appreciated since 1995.

In response to Question HL2899, the underlying rate of inflation is taken to mean the Retail Price Index excluding mortgage interest payments (RPIX). If the depreciation component of RPIX were removed, the percentage change over the latest 12-month period (to May 2000) would be 1.6 per cent. This figure is published every month in Table 2 of the Consumer Price Indices First Release and can be downloaded for free from timezone on the National Statistics website at

In response to Question HL2900, a table has been attached showing the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) house price index for the UK. The rise in house prices demonstrated by this index should not be confused with the depreciation calculation used in the RPI. The

28 Jun 2000 : Column WA89

depreciation component of the RPI represents the notional amount needed to be put aside to keep a property in a constant state of repair and at a constant level of quality. It covers large infrequent renovations required to make good deterioration and obsolescence to owner-occupied housing. It does not include routine repairs and maintenance, as these are already covered elsewhere in the index.

DETR house price index for the UK (1993=100)

YearIndexPercentage change over one year

Pensions: Over-eighties Addition

Baroness Jeger asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the age addition of 25 pence which was awarded to the over-eighties in 1971 remains at 25 pence; and what is now the comparative purchasing power of that 25 pence. [HL2962]

28 Jun 2000 : Column WA90

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): Since it was introduced, no government have increased age addition on the basic state pension that is paid to those aged 80 or over.

Our priority is to help the poorest pensioners and to help all pensioner households. That is why we have introduced a comprehensive strategy to tackle pensioner poverty. We have introduced the minimum income guarantee, winter fuel payments, reduced VAT on fuel, restored free eye test, allocated extra money to improve cataract services and cardiac care, and reduced income tax. We have also introduced the home energy efficiency scheme and will be providing free TV licences for the over 75s, concessionary bus fares, pensioner credit and doubling the capital limits in minimum income guarantee.

We are spending an extra £6.5 billion on pensioner incomes in this Parliament.

The comparative purchasing power of £0.25p in May 1971 is £0.029p in May 2000. Notes: (1) The Retail Prices Index (all items) has been used, as published by the Office for National Statistics. (2) Figures are unrounded.

28 Jun 2000 : Column WA89

   Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page