§ 19. Major Sir ARCHIBALD SINCLAIR
asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that the need pensions of smallholders in the Highlands are partly 1953 based upon an estimate of income from the holding, and that, owing to the failure of the harvest last year, there will, in many cases, be no income at all from these holdings; and whether he will make special arrangements for the immediate consideration of those cases in which a review of these need pensions is claimed, so that decisions can be accelerated and adjustments made during the existing period of hardship?
Need pensions are open to reconsideration at any time, on application by the pensioner through the local office of the Ministry, and should the circumstances be found to have materially changed for the worse during the currency of an award, the pension would be increased. I am taking steps to ensure that applications from these pensioners are dealt with promptly and sympathetically.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
Will the right hon. Gentleman see that information is given to those concerned that they can have their pensions reviewed, in view of the fact that there is so much distress in the Highlands?
I believe intimation has already gone to the officer affected to take such steps as are necessary.
§ Mr. F. MARTIN
Will the Minister consider the issue of instructions that in the assessment of the incomes of dependants, who are occupants of crofts and small holdings, the incomes shall not be reckoned at more than the rents of the holdings, as in the case of Parliamentary assessments?
I regret I cannot give an answer on that point to-day. If the hon. Member will place the question on the Paper, I will get him the information required.