§ 55. Sir Charles Edwards
asked the Minister of Health what complaints he has received from old age pensioners or their associations protesting against the minute investigations made when application is made for clothes, boots or any household requisites; and will he take steps to raise the basic rate to an amount that will enable old people to purchase these things for themselves.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Miss Horsbrugh)
A few such representations have been received, but they do not involve any complaints of substance regarding the manner in which the Assistance Board's investigations are carried out. They appear to be based on a misunderstanding of the purpose of the investigations, as explained to my hon. Friend the Member for Abertillery (Mr. Daggar) on 2nd July. With regard to the second part of the Question, I would remind by hon. Friend that the scale rates laid down in the Supplementary Pensions Regulations are intended in ordinary circumstances to provide for all the pensioner's needs, other than medical needs, including the replacement of clothing. My hon. Friend will not expect me to anticipate the result of the examination of the present position as now accentuated by wartime conditions which has been undertaken by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ Mr. Sorensen
Is the hon. Lady taking any steps to allay the undoubted irritation and, indeed, indignation that exist in certain quarters?
§ Miss Horsbrugh
There has been a misunderstanding. These investigations have been made—and many have welcomed them—in order to find out what the expenses of old age pensioners were. There has been a good deal of misunderstanding about some Press announcement, but I hope that the answer will help to clear it up.