HC Deb 23 November 1959 vol 614 cc4-5
4. Mr. Holland

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance how many people in Acton receive National Insurance retirement pensions; and what percentage of these also receive supplementary pensions paid by the National Assistance Board.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (Miss Patricia Hornsby-Smith)

As retirement pensions are paid from a central point, I regret that separate figures for pensioners in Acton are not available.

Mr. Holland

Whilst thanking my right hon. Friend for her reply and appreciating the difficulties, may I ask her whether she is aware that there are still a number of National Insurance pensioners without other means of support who are reluctant to go to the National Assistance Board for a supplementary pension? Would she not agree that the identification of National Assistance with the supplementary pension is an obstacle to overcoming their reluctance?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

So far as the National Assistance Board and ourselves know, there are not nowadays many people in need who are deterred by considerations of this kind from seeking Assistance. I appreciate that there are still some, but we are most anxious to prevent these few people being put off by the idea, for various reasons of pride, that they should not go to the Board. We have, therefore, taken the step of removing the words "National Assistance" from the covers of the books which will henceforward be issued, and recipients of National Assistance who draw regular payments will find substituted for "National Assistance" the words "Supplement to pension or other weekly grant."

Mr. H. Hynd

Is the hon. Lady aware that but for the unfortunate result of the recent General Election all those people would have had an extra 10s. a week by now?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

I have no doubt that the hon. Member would still have felt it necessary to ensure that those receiving National Assistance would not have lost thereby, and that had there been such an increase, it might still have been necessary for many people to apply for National Assistance.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Wishful thinking.

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