HC Deb 03 November 1959 vol 612 cc851-3
43. Mr. Swingler

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in view of the danger of growing unemployment this winter and the need to expand the home market, he will now consider extending the provisions for the repayment of post-war credits.

44. Mr. Chetwynd

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will now extend the payment of post-war credits to the long-term sick and unemployed.

67. Mr. Manuel

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will now consider the payment of post-war credits to people who have had long periods of sickness and unemployment.

Mr. Amory

As was promised when the Post-War Credits Act, and the Regulations made under the Act, were before the House earlier in the year, I am noting the various suggestions made for further payment of post-war credits, but I cannot make any statement at present.

Mr. Swingler

Is not there a case here for action now? Does the Chancellor deny that there is a real danger of growing unemployment? As the Government are forced to introduce a special Measure to deal with the high level of unemployment in certain areas, is not this the best time for the Government to pay their debts to some of those who need the money?

Mr. Amory

That is exactly the problem. I have to consider this very desirable action against the national economic situation.

Mr. Chetwynd

Will the Chancellor give urgent consideration to the position of the long-term sick who are, perhaps, the hardest hit section of all?

Mr. Amory

I rather agree with what the hon. Gentleman says, and I will certainly agree to give very careful consideration to that category.

Mr. Manuel

I am very pleased that the Chancellor has made that slight concession in his thinking, but will he include also in his consideration the long-term unemployed? I have written to him about one case involving people who could have qualified for N. A.B. payments, but the family would not do that and they are, therefore, having a very much reduced standard of life. I feel that they should qualify, and I hope that the Chancellor will look at the matter again.

Mr. Amory

Again, I think that there is a good deal in what the hon. Member says.

Mr. H. Wilson

I welcome what the Chancellor said a moment ago about the long-term sick and the injured, but will he bear in mind that all of us, probably, in all parts of the House, have received information about really tragic cases of long-term sick who are caught up by the rule about the unemployability supplement? This test is far too harsh in respect of people in real hardship. Will he look carefully at this matter of the unemployability supplement?

Mr. Amory

The right hon. Gentleman will remember that, when I announced these repayments in my Budget, I said that we had to limit ourselves in the first place to certain definite categories but, as soon as they had been completed, we would look at further categories and we should hope to make such further repayments as we could, but against the background of the national economic situation.

Mr. Wilson

But is the Chancellor aware that I remember also that, during the passage of the Bill, we pressed him hard on this very point? If he had yielded to us then, might he not have avoided a great deal of the hardship which has, I think, been evidenced during the months since?

Mr. Amory

I will say to all hon. Members that I will pay very great attention to any illustrations of hardship which they care to send me.