HC Deb 05 May 1955 vol 540 cc1896-8
47. Mr. Driberg

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will investigate, as a matter of urgency, the difficulties of a married couple, aged 81 and 82 years, of whose name and address he has been informed, in view of the fact that their retirement pension has been increased by 11s. and their National Assistance grant reduced by 14s., so that they are 3s. a week worse off than they recently were; and if he will make a statement.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (Mr. Ernest Marples)

The National Assistance Board informs me that an adjustment in respect of 11s. of the old couple's National Assistance grant was made on 25th April to take account of an increase of that amount in their retirement pensions. Over and above the scale rate and rent allowance, the Board has been making them a discretionary addition of 15s. a week to meet special circumstances, including 3s. which the couple were told at the end of January would be added temporarily for a particular purpose. That 3s. is no longer needed and will cease being paid from 9th May. The total income of the couple, including the scale rate increase of 4s. last February, will then be £4 12s. a week.

Mr. Driberg

Does that answer mean that there has been a net decrease, as they are firmly of the opinion that there has been—and after all, they should know?

Mr. Marples

No, the net result is that before my right hon. Friend's proposals the couple were receiving an income of £4 8s. a week. Now, in May, 1955, they are receiving an income of £4 12s. a week, which is a permanent addition of 4s. a week. In addition to that, from the end of January to 9th May, for special purposes, the couple received an additional 3s. a week. Those special circumstances now having changed, the additional 3s. has been taken away.

48. Lieut-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance in how many cases the war service disability pension has been cut as the result of increased old age pensions for disabled men of the 1914–18 war.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (Brigadier J. G. Smyth)

None, Sir.

Lieut-Colonel Lipton

Is the Minister aware that there has been a cut of 2s. a week in the war disablement pension of a constituent of mine, Mr. A. Hyde, 2, Cottage Grove, S.W.9, a blind disabled ex-Service man of the 1914–18 war? Does the Minister not recall that I have written to him and spoken to him about this matter, and is it not a fact that it reaches a new low depth of calculating meanness when war disablement pensions are cut, irrespective of what other alterations are made in other pensions? Is it not a monstrous state of affairs that a disabled ex-Service man's war disablement pension should be cut by this paltry amount?

Brigadier Smyth

War disablement pensions are not affected by increases in other pensions. I do not think the hon. and gallant Gentleman realises that the case he sent to me was a very complicated matrimonial case in which a wife's allowance had been cut, but that had absolutely nothing to do with the increase in retirement pensions. However, I am looking very carefully into this difficult case and will write to the hon. and gallant Gentleman about it. I can assure him that it has nothing to do with the point that he mentioned.