HC Deb 17 March 1955 vol 538 c1433
3. Mrs. White

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what provision is made in Basutoland for old-age pensions, blind persons' pensions and grants to disabled persons.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

The care and maintenance of persons who have become destitute from whatever cause is traditionally a matter for relatives in Basutoland, as in other African societies. No special provision is, therefore, made for the payment of pensions to the old, the blind, or the disabled as such, but where no relatives are available to maintain them, relief is given by the Basuto National Treasury.

Mrs. White

Am I right in assuming that the Minister is no doubt aware that provision is made in the Union of South Africa, on certain conditions, for payments to the persons in the categories which are mentioned in the Question? Does he not think it very disadvantageous that in the neighbouring territory of Basutoland there is no statutory provision for such payments? Will he reconsider the matter?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

I will look at what the hon. Lady has said, but this is essentially a matter for the local authorities to handle, and they must take some account of the current finances at their disposal. That is why we are busily building up the economic development of this territory.