HC Deb 17 June 1952 vol 502 cc969-70
20. Miss Ward

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he proposes to take to recompense, for the withdrawal of the food subsidies, those living above the National Assistance scale but with incomes not subject to Income Tax assessment.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer which the Financial Secretary gave to the hon. Member for Coventry, South (Miss Burton) on 8th May.

Miss Ward

In view of the fact that it is the policy of the Conservative Party to protect the weak and that the answer which the right hon. Gentleman gave previously was far from satisfactory, will he bear in mind that this section of the community has suffered more than any other under six years of Socialism? Will he therefore take steps to reconsider whether it would not be wise to appoint a committee, so that every aspect of these people's position might be looked at with a view to its amelioration?

Mr. Butler

I am very glad that the hon. Lady has had a crack at the other side. In all seriousness, I would say that it is very difficult for the State or the Government of the day to reach every case. For example, if persons or families do not pay Income Tax it is impossible to relieve them by Income Tax relief, and it is difficult to reach every section. I would remind the hon. Lady that the benefits of the Budget, taken as a whole, and with the aid of family allowances and other things, do good among all sections of the community.

Mr. Jay

As, judging by an answer given to me yesterday by the Minister of Food, the Government have not yet decided what they mean to spend on food subsidies this year, will the Chancellor reconsider the whole question in the light of the views of the T.U.C., among others?

Mr. Butler

The Government adhere to the policy I announced in the Budget. At the same time, I feel that all statements made by the Minister of Food are crystal clear.

Miss Ward

Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the answer I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter at the earliest possible moment on the Adjournment. My right hon. Friend has not dealt with the party's policy in this matter.