During Business Questions in the House of Commons, Sir George pressed the Government again on the withdrawal of the council tax rebate for pensioners - see below
Sir George Young (North-West Hampshire) (Con): May we have an early debate on the Government's policy towards pensioners? We have just concluded a four-day debate on the Budget, but the Government at no time explained why a £200 rebate was appropriate last year but not this year, when the council tax is even higher. Can we have an early debate so that Ministers can explain, to the House and to the nation's pensioners, why all of next month's increase in the state retirement pension has been wiped out by the removal of the rebate?
Mr. Hoon: The right hon. Gentleman knows full well that last year's payment was a one-off provision of additional support. That was made clear at the time. He will also be aware that the Government have spent a substantial amount of extra money on pensioners, and that the very poorest pensioners in our society are £39 a week better off than in 1997. We have targeted extra resources on those pensioners who struggled up to that date, and at the same time we are looking at the question of local government funding and the arrangements for the council tax. That is a comprehensive approach, both to pensioners and the question of local government finance.
Commenting after the exchange, Sir George it was news to pensioners that this "was made clear at the time."
"I have written to Geoff Hoon asking for chapter and verse on this."