HC Deb 06 February 1956 vol 548 c1324
16 and 17. Mr. McKay

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance (1) whether he will alter the composition and personnel of the Phillips Committee with a view to the arrangement of more frequent meetings to consider urgent matters, thereby accelerating the decisions of the Committee;

(2) if he is aware of the widespread feeling that the Phillips Committee is too slow in action; and how many times during the year 1955 this Committee has met to consider the problem of widows' benefits.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am not sure what the hon. Member has in mind. The Phillips Committee concluded its work when it submitted its Report to my right hon. Friend the then Chancellor of the Exchequer on 27th November, 1954.

Mr. McKay

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that when important matters are under discussion by this Committee one of the essentials is speed? Does he not think that there should be some understanding that these committees should meet much more often?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I would not quarrel with the hon. Member's general propositions, but I find some difficulty in applying them to the Committee which, as I said in my main Answer, presented its final Report some fifteen months ago.

Mr. Marquand

Would it not be more reasonable on the Minister's part to assume that my hon. Friend made a mistake, and meant to refer to the National Insurance Advisory Committee? It is to that that his Question is directed.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

If, as the right hon. Gentleman says, the Question relates to the National Insurance Advisory Committee, I am bound to remind him that that Committee reported on widows' benefit in the Report which I published on Friday last.

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