HC Deb 03 December 1959 vol 614 c1370
38. Mr. Beaney

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider furnishing the money necessary to pro vide all old-age pensioners with an allowance of free coal for Christmas.

Sir E. Boyle

No, Sir. It is not the intention of the Government to extend what would in effect be benefits in kind.

Mr. Beaney

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware of the Government's election pledges to alleviate distress among the old folk? Does not he consider that this is an opportunity to honour them? Is not he aware that if he acceded to this request he would not only earn the gratitude of those poor people who are not "having it so good", but would also win the approval of the nation?

Sir E. Boyle

Everyone on this side of the House rightly said during the election that both retirement pensions and National Assistance benefits in real terms were higher than they had ever been. The point in the Question is whether we should return to some system of benefits in kind, as we had with the tobacco token scheme We are quite right as a Government to set our mind against that sort of benefit.