HC Deb 26 February 1957 vol 565 cc1023-5
20. Mr. Shurmer

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider paying post-war credits to persons suffering from some incurable disease and receiving permanent sick pay and who can produce a medical certificate to certify that they will be unable to work again, bearing in mind that many of these people are having to augment their sick pay with National Assistance, whilst substantial sums of money are standing in their name.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Peter Thorneycroft)

I appreciate the sympathy the hon. Member has for these people, but I cannot anticipate my Budget statement.

Mr. Shurmer

I hope that the Chancellor will be sympathetic towards these proposals. No doubt many hon. Members could quote cases, but I will quote just one. Because of rheumatoid arthritis, a man aged 60 has been unable to work for the past ten years and will never work again. He has £84 in postwar credits. He and his wife are living on £4 6s. a week sick pay and National Assistance. Is it fair that people who will never work again should suffer while they have large sums as post-war credits? Surely, something can be done for these people.

Mr. Baldwin

Will my right hon. Friend give this matter further consideration, particularly for those people who are drawing National Assistance, or those who are too proud to draw it, and who have post-war credits? Will he give the matter his favourable consideration for his Budget statement?

Mr. Thorneycroft

Of course, I have listened to the points which have been put from both sides of the House, but hon. Members will understand that this is clearly a budgetary matter and one on which I could not possibly make a statement today.

29. Mrs. Butler

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the form issued to applicants for the payment of post-war credits requires information concerning the present employment of the applicant; and if he will state the reason for this requirement.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Yes, Sir. This information enables the Inland Revenue to trace the claimant's Income Tax records for the post-war credit years in order to confirm the amount due to him.

Mrs. Butler

Is the Chancellor aware that to do that it is not necessary to have the address of the applicant's present employer if the applicant has undertaken employment since retiring? Is he aware that a great many of these retired persons would be unable to secure employment if they gave their true ages, because they are retired, and that this provision makes it impossible for them to apply for their post-war credits without revealing to their employer their retirement age in many cases? Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether or not this particular section could be deleted from the form?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I have made some inquiries about this question because I queried the relevance of this requirement. I understand that the employer is not informed and that the information is solely for the purpose of tracing old Income Tax papers. If the hon. Lady would like to see me, I think that I could satisfy her that this is a necessary link in the repayment of the credits.