HC Deb 21 November 1955 vol 546 cc1038-9
34. Mr. Hamilton

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will issue a directive to the National Assistance Board prohibiting it from referring applicants for assistance to voluntary organisations.

Mr. Peake

I do not issue directives to the Board, who tell me that they welcome the co-operation of voluntary organisations in cases presenting special problems.

Mr. Hamilton

Does the Minister realise that the old people dislike going to these voluntary organisations even more than they dislike going to the Assistance Board, valuable as is the work which they are doing? Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm or deny that the number of cases being referred to these bodies by the National Assistance Board is on the increase?

Mr. Peake

I am afraid that, offhand, I cannot answer the last part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary, but I would suggest, in this rather difficult field, that if the hon. Gentleman will send me particulars of any case where he thinks that the National Assistance Board has made a mistake, I shall be very happy to investigate it.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Does the Minister not agree that one of the outstanding features of the Beveridge Report was that all forms of charity should be eliminated from the administration? Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that this principle operated under the old chairman, and that, as a result of the appointment of the new chairman, this kind of thing is creeping in more and more?

Mr. Peake

I must completely refute that allegation. In exceptional cases of peculiar difficulty, the Board has found it advantageous under any chairman to be able to call upon a voluntary society to help.