HC Deb 08 December 1953 vol 521 cc1795-6
37. Mr. Peter Freeman

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the average time that elapses after the ages of 60 and 65 years for women and men, respectively, before the actual payment of post-war credit is made; and whether he will arrange for applications to be made three months before they become due, that all details may be certified and actual payment be made on the day on which it becomes due.

Mr. R. A. Butler

Under the law, a post-war credit holder who reaches the required age has to make a claim to the Inland Revenue before he becomes entitled to payment. I regret I cannot give any useful estimate of the average period which elapses between the claim and the payment. Straightforward claims are frequently paid within a week, but in particular cases inquiries may be necessary which cause delays varying according to the individual circumstances. In answer to the second part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Sir E. Keeling) on 25th June, 1953.

Mr. Freeman

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the claim form is not generally accepted until the man or woman has reached this age? Is it not iniquitous that, after waiting for 10 years, they are still kept waiting a further period beyond the legal time? Would not the suggestion I made enable this payment to be made on the legal date when it is due to them?

Mr. Butler

That is a little difficult for the reasons I gave in my answer. But I will investigate, as a result of the hon. Member's Question, whether we can accelerate the procedure even more, although the normal procedure usually entails a delay of only a week.

44. Mr. M. Lindsay

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the approximate cost of paying widows their late husbands' post-war credits.

Mr. R. A. Butler

About £41 million in the first year and £4 million a year thereafter.

Mr. Shurmer

Has the Chancellor considered the suggestion put to him of paying these widows on the day the husband would have become 65 years old had he lived?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. We have examined that possibility but in this close season I can make no statement.

56. Brigadier Clarke

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give consideration to the question of the repayment of post-war credits to next of kin where the owner of these credits reached the required age of 65 years but died before the Regulations for repayment were made.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I will consider this and other suggestions for payment of post-war credits when I am framing my Budget proposals, but I cannot, of course, give any undertaking.

Brigadier Clarke

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether, in cases where people reached the age of 65 and died before the existing Regulations were made, he will now in fairness consider paying their next of kin?

Mr. Butler

I can give no undertaking about that. The point brought to my attention by the hon. and gallant Gentleman is a strong one, and one which I have already considered.