HC Deb 03 November 1955 vol 545 cc1199-200
35. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make provision for the payment of post-war credits to those suffering hardship regardless of their age.

Mr. H. Brooke

The difficulties involved in defining hardship are so great that I am afraid this suggestion cannot be acted upon.

Mr. Johnson

Is my right hon. Friend not aware that the defining of hardship is something which the National Assistance Board does every day? Can he not consult the board and get a definition?

Mr. Brooke

I should be reluctant to put this duty on the National Assistance Board. My hon. Friend will also appreciate that there is a distinction between temporary hardship and permanent hardship which would have to be considered here.

Mr. Bence

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider raising the interest rate on post-war credits from nothing to 3½ per cent., in keeping with the rise in interest rates to other people?

Mr. Brooke

To do that would cost some £16 million to £17 million extra a year, and if we had that amount of money to distribute, I think most holders of post-war credits would prefer that it should be used to pay out the credits more quickly.

Captain Pilkington

Will my right hon. Friend give this matter very high priority as soon as things become a little easier?

Mr. Brooke

I have great sympathy with those who have been holding these post-war credits for a long period.