§ 12. Mr. Manuel
asked the Minister of Pensions and Insurance what is the number of widows in the Central Ayrshire constituency who are receiving National Assistance payments.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (Miss Patricia Hornsby-Smith)
I regret that the information asked for is not available, as the Central Ayrshire constituency is served by three of the National Assistance Board's local offices, which in turn serve eight Parliamentary constituencies.
§ Mr. Manuel
Is the right hon. Lady aware that many of these widows are having a most difficult time in trying to keep a home together? I am sure she realises that there is a quite substantial number of such people in the country. Is it not time that the Government made a statement about the matter at an early date so that those concerned will have some encouragement for thinking that things will become a little easier for them in the future than they have been over the past year?
§ Miss Hornsby-Smith
I am sure the hon. Gentleman will agree that that question is quite different from the Question he has on the Order Paper. I could not give a specific figure for the hon. Gentleman's own constituency, but, if I may give a general answer, in the whole area of the eight constituencies served—I assume that the Question refers to women who are receiving National Insurance widows' benefits as distinct from retirement pensioners who are widows—