HC Deb 06 February 1951 vol 483 cc1533-4
55. Mr. George Jeger

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will repay post-war credits to those applicants whose needs are certified by the Assistance Board, and so save the expenditure of public money.

Mr. Gaitskell

I have nothing to add to the reply given on the 13th November last to the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Smithers).

Mr. Jeger

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a number of applicants for assistance need small sums occasionally for the renewal of clothing and household goods, and would it not be better to give them their own money in the form of the repayment of their post-war credits rather than to pay them out of the Assistance Board funds?

Mr. Gaitskell

I very much doubt whether the small numbers of persons who would be able to claim post-war credits in those circumstances would justify the expenditure of effort and administrative man-power in arranging the particular scheme which my hon. Friend suggests.

Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite

Is the Chancellor aware that there is widespread anxiety on this matter on both sides of the House, and will he bear in mind when framing his Budget the possibility of reform?

Mr. Gaitskell

If the hon. and gallant Member will study this, he will see that it is really a very narrow point.

Mr. Iain MacLeod

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that this question has the further advantage that it might encourage people to accept payments from National Assistance, which at the moment many of them, for perfectly honourable reasons, are reluctant to do?