§ 8 and 9. Mr. Blenkinsop
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance (1) how many retirement pensioners were in receipt of supplementary benefit from the National Assistance Board as at 15th December, 1953; and how many other old-age pensioners were also in receipt of payments from the Board at the same date;
(2) what proportion of all old-age and retirement pensioners are now in receipt of benefits from the National Assistance Board.
§ Mr. Blenkinsop
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these figures show a steady and alarming increase? Do they not emphasise the importance of having a complete review of the scale of retirement pensions in order to avoid so many of our old people—now over a quarter of them—having to apply for extra Assistance?
§ 12. Mr. Hamilton
asked the Ministerof Pensions and National Insurance what representations he has received from the Guildford Old People's Welfare Committee on the plight of retirement pensioners as revealed in a report to the committee's annual meeting in October, 1953; what reply he has made about such representations; and what action he intends to take on the matter.
§ Mr. Hamilton
Is the Minister aware that that report from Guildford, which is not predominantly Socialist-minded, refers to masses of old people who are spending a great part of the day in bed to save fuel and food, and that the Chairman of the Guildford Citizens Advice Bureau described the report as "perfectly ghastly"? In view of the deluge of evidence that the Minister is getting about the hardship of the old people, plus the authoritative speech by Lord Beveridge in another place last Wednesday, will the Minister say what he is prepared to do? Can he give any concrete facts of progress that he is making to solve these people's problems?
§ Mr. Peake
The hon. Member asked me what representations I had received. The only representation that we have received in the Ministry is a letter from my hon. Friend the Member for Guildford forwarding a copy of this resolution. In the circumstances, I do not think it would be very appropriate for me to discuss my correspondence with one Member with the House as a whole.