29. Mr. David Adams
asked the Minister of Health the total number of 487 old age pensioners, and the number and percentage of these in receipt of Poor Law relief?
§ Mr. Bernays
At 31st December, 1938, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 2,380,913 persons in England and Wales in receipt of old age pensions under the Old Age Pensions Act and the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act. On 1st January, 1939, the number of old age pensioners in receipt of poor relief was 250,291, or approximately 10.5 per cent. of the total number.
Does the Minister see in this situation any justification for altering the amounts granted to old age pensioners?
§ Mr. H. Morrison
Will the Minister agree that, in the light of those figures, it is clear that the old age pension is inadequate and that in respect of 250,000 persons the Treasury has to be subsidised out of the local rates; and will he take those matters into account when considering the representations made to him by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Leicester (Mr. Lyons) for the reduction of rates?
§ Mr. Bernays
I regret that the information asked for in the first part of the question is not available, as the records of old age pensioners are not kept on a territorial basis. The number of old age pensioners in Burnley to whom out-relief in money and kind was granted during the week ending nth March, 1939, was 823, and the total cost of the out-relief granted to those pensioners and their dependants during that week was £267.
§ Mr. Burke
Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that the augmentation of old age 488 pensions means an additional 6½d. on the poor rate for Burnley, while in Bournemouth the figure is only Id.; and what does he propose to do to remedy such inequalities, which press particularly hardly on the depressed areas?