HC Deb 02 March 1954 vol 524 cc1000-1
48. Mr. Driberg

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the annual cost of extending the tobacco duty relief scheme to the various classes of old people who do not at present benefit by it; and if he will reconsider sympathetically the possibility of extending it at least to all those drawing National Assistance.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The extra cost of giving tobacco duty relief to all smokers of pensionable age would probably be about £10 million a year. The second, part of the Question was answered in my reply to the hon. Member for Norwich, North (Mr. J. Paton) on 26th November last.

Mr. Driberg

Would the Chancellor reconsider this sympathetically, even if he cannot make a definite statement today? It does to some extent defeat the primary purpose of the scheme if some of the people who are worst off and draw National Assistance cannot benefit by it.

Mr. Butler

One trouble is that, apart from the cost, tobacco duty relief has to be confined to pensioners paid by weekly orders through the Post Office. There are administrative as well as financial difficulties in extending this relief, but all matters affecting the old are worthy of very close consideration.