Below is the text of Mr Major’s written Parliamentary Answer on Diet Costs on 23rd March 1987.
Mr. Hume Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement regarding the calculation of the additional expense of whole diet costs in “S Manual” clause 4736 from 1980 onwards, indicating from what data base within the 1979 “Family Expenditure Survey” the indications on average expenditure on food for different age groups used in the calculations was derived.
Mr. Major These figures are provided by the Chief Adjudication Officer as part of his guidance to the independent adjudication officers. I understand that the original figure of £9 quoted in 1981 as the average expenditure on food for an adult was derived from unpublished data from the 1979 “Family Expenditure Survey” in respect of single pensioners, married couple pensioners and single adults under 65 in the lowest 20 per cent, household income bracket.
The figures in respect of children were based on a percentage of the relevant scale rates similar to that for adults. The figures have been increased in subsequent guidance in line with the food element of the retail prices index. They were last increased in November 1985 and will be increased again next month to coincide with the general uprating of benefits.