HC Deb 12 March 1951 vol 485 cc1052-3
25. Mr. George Thomas

asked the Minister of National Insurance the number of retired pensioners in Wales and the number in receipt of supplementary pensions.

Dr. Summerskill

There are 226,000 retirement pensioners in Wales of whom some 61,000 are receiving supplementary allowances from the National Assistance Board.

26. Mr. G. Thomas

asked the Minister of National Insurance whether she will consider making a general allowance for clothing for all retired pensioners in receipt of supplementary assistance.

Dr. Summerskill

As I informed the hon. Member for Hitchin (Mr. Fisher) in reply to a Question on 5th February, the regulations governing National Assistance only provide for payment of clothing allowances where there is exceptional need. There is, therefore, no power to make an automatic allowance for this purpose as my hon. Friend suggests.

Mr. Thomas

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether she will consider an alteration of these regulations, in view of the fact that the very circumstance of these people drawing National Assistance reveals that they are in need and that the case in general is at least made out?

Dr. Summerskill

I think my hon. Friend will agree that the officers are exercising a wide discretion when I tell him that last year there were 132,000 grants at a cost of £490,643.

Mr. Yates

Will my right hon. Friend consider especially the case of the single pensioner living alone? Is it not a tragic fact that many of them are unable to purchase any clothing, or household or bed linen? Does not my right hon. Friend think that some special consideration should be given to them?