HC Deb 20 April 1943 vol 388 cc1538-9
54. Mr. Hannah

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will consider making any concession to the old age pensioners in the matter of the proposed higher duties on tobacco?

Sir K. Wood

I dealt with this question in a general way in the Debate on the Budget Resolutions. Further, as I have pointed out on a previous occasion, any scheme specifically directed to the supply of tobacco to old age pensioners at cheaper prices would present very serious difficult- ties. I have endeavoured to help old age pensioners and other classes living on small incomes in other ways.

Mr. Hannah

Is it realised how very keen old age pensioners are on this matter, and is it intended to ask the old age pensioners for any contribution towards this Budget?

Sir K. Wood

I have already explained that.

55. Mr. Leslie

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Government have yet decided to increase allowances to old age pensioners; and, if so, when will the report be presented to the House?

Sir K. Wood

I would refer my hon. Friend to the statements made on behalf of the Government in the course of the recent Debate on the Beveridge Report.

Mr. Leslie

May I ask whether this will be brought forward early after Easter, in view of the long period since the promise was given and the fact that the Budget has added to the burdens of old age pensioners?

Sir K. Wood

The hon. Gentleman is now referring to another matter, the Bill that is being prepared and which I hope will be ready very shortly.

Mr. Shinwell

Is the right hon. Gentleman suggesting that there is to be no further relief for old age pensioners in existing circumstances until the whole of the Beveridge Report has been considered and implemented?

Sir K. Wood

No, Sir, the Bill to which I have referred is to carry out the undertaking which the Government gave and which, I think, was mentioned in the King's Speech.