HC Deb 09 March 1944 vol 397 cc2192-4
59. Mr. Tinker

asked the Minister of Health, if his attention has been drawn to the reassessment of supplementary pensions; that applicants have been reassessed and notified of the increase they will receive, but told they will not receive it until two weeks after notification; and will he see to it that they are paid as from the date of reassessment.

Mr. Willink

The Assistance Board inform me that they found it necessary to adopt the practice of sending out supplementary pension order books some time in advance of the date when the pensioner's current book expires in order to make sure that a pensioner would always have a book in his possession and to avoid risks of delay or of breakdown in communications.

Mr. Tinker

Seeing that there has been so much trouble about these payments, could the right hon. and learned Gentleman get the Department to hurry on with payment, and not delay it, as they are doing, as the delay is causing a lot of trouble?

Mr. Willink

As I have already told the hon. Gentleman—and I think it is generally accepted—the Assistance Board are doing their utmost under present conditions.

Mr. Mathers

Is it not possible for the actual increase or reassessment to apply from the date on which the reassessment was made?

Mr. Willink

I am not clear to which class of case my hon. Friend is referring. I took it that the hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) was referring to the perfectly ordinary case where there is a review which comes into operation when the current book has expired, and that the question which he was asking was whether the new book could be sent in advance of that date for the new payment to take place on that date. That would obviously be quite impossible.

60. Mr. Tinker

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of a misunderstanding on the application of a supplementary pension; that some assistance boards are placing the pensioner living in lodgings, not with relatives, on the 17s. 6d. a week basis and not on the £1 a week; and will he examine this matter.

Mr. Willink

The Assistance Board inform me that there must be something quite exceptional about a case where a pensioner living in lodgings, having no resources beyond his main pension, has his needs assessed at less than £1 a week. If my hon. Friend has any particular case in mind and cares to send me details I will ask the Board to look into it.