HC Deb 04 February 1943 vol 386 cc1027-8
16. Lieut.-Colonel Heneage

asked the Minister of Health whether, in his plan to improve the lot of old age pensioners, he will consider the provision of hostels and clubs?

The Minister of Health (Mr. Ernest Brown)

I hope that it wilt in due course be possible to make such provision for all old people who need it, whether pensioners or not.

Lieut.-Colonel Heneage

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind especially the position of old age pensioners in country districts, where they are often very lonely?

Mr. Brown

Certainly. As my hon. and gallant Friend knows, during the war period we have taken certain steps in that direction.

Mr. Tinker

Would not the proper thing to do be to raise the basic rate of old age pensions so as to give a decent standard of living?

Mr. Brown

That does not cover this particular issue. These are cases where old people want looking after.

20. Mr. Ness Edwards

asked the Minister of Health why he has authorised the Assistance Board to take into account, for the purpose of reducing supplementary pensions, subsistence allowances paid to old age pensioners who are members of the Home Guard, who are carrying out orders issued to them by their commanding officers?

Mr. Brown

The payments to which my hon. Friend refers are not protected by Statute, and the extent to which they are taken into account in determining supplementary pensions is a matter for the officers of the Assistance Board, subject to appeal to the Appeal Tribunals. The Board inform me, however, that the general practice is not to take any part of the payments into account unless it appears that there has been a substantial saving in the pensioner's ordinary domestic expenditure.

Mr. Edwards

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the subsistence allowance paid to old age pensioners who are in the Home Guard is taken into account to reduce their supplementary pensions, and will he prevent exploitation of their loyalty?

Mr. Brown

Circumstances vary a good deal. If the hon. Member has any particular cases, I will look into them and ask the Board to review them.

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