HC Deb 21 July 1938 vol 338 cc2417-9
57. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Health under what circumstances and for what reasons old age pensioners who are admitted into public assistance institutions are deprived of their pension; how many of them suffered this loss in the last recorded year; and the amount of saving to the Exchequer effected thereby?

Mr. Elliot

Under Section 23 of the Contributory Pensions Act, 1936, a pensioner who enters a public asisstance institution otherwise than for the purpose of receiving medical or surgical treatment, is disqualified for receiving pension so long as he remains in the institution. I regret that the information asked for in the second and third parts of the question is not available.

Mr. Lipson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his answer discloses that a burden is at present imposed upon local authorities for the maintenance of these old age pensioners, and that if this discrimination were not made between two classes of old age pensioners entering a public institution, there would be available for the relief of the rates quite a considerable sum of money, besides the sum of pocket money given to old age pensioners?

Mr. Elliot

The House has decided in this way.

Mr. Messer

Does this apply to contributory old age pensions?

61. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the New Zealand Government provides pensions of £3 a week for a married couple and that the Isle of Man Government has set up a committee to consider the question of increasing old age pensions so as to allow 30s. per week for a married couple; and will he consider setting up a committee to go into the demand of the Old Age Pensioners Association for £1 per week for each person and 35s. per week for a married couple?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir John Simon)

The hon. Member is apparently referring to a proposal which is under consideration in New Zealand and not to existing provision. I understand that the scheme differs widely in its proposed method of finance and in other ways from that in force in this country. A committee such as the hon. Member mentions has, I am informed, been set up in the Isle of Man. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.

Mr. Gallacher

In view of the progress made in New Zealand under a Labour Government and the work done in the Isle of Man, will the right hon. Gentleman be prepared to receive a deputation on behalf of old age pensioners in order to state their case, or are we to take it that he is completely devoid of the bowels of compassion?

Lieut.-Commander Agnew

Are there any pensioners at all under a Communist Government?

Mr. Tinker

In view of the fact that there is undoubtedly great hardship amongst these old age pensioners, will the right hon. Gentleman consider whether it is worth while mentioning them in the next King's Speech.

Sir J. Simon

The question mentioned in the supplementary question has very often been put in this House, and I think the answers given from this bench must stand.