HC Deb 08 February 1960 vol 617 cc6-7
8. Mr. Sydney Irving

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance why the retirement pension of Mrs. Lilian Purcell was immediately reduced to 10s. per week on her transfer from Holywell Home to the Gravesend Hospital in December, 1958.

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

As my predecessor explained to the hon. Gentleman when she wrote to him about this case on 4th June, 1959, it is the effect of the National Insurance (Hospital In-Patients) Regulations that a person transferred from Part III accommodation to free hospital accommodation receives national insurance benefit at the pocket money rate. This has, of course, the effect of leaving the person concerned with the same amount of benefit as was available before the transfer after paying towards the cost of the accommodation.

Mr. Irving

1s the right hon. Lady aware that Mr. Purcell, a retired man of limited means, paid the whole of the cost of maintenance, £6 3s. 8d. per week, while his wife was at Holywell Home? Does the right hon. Lady think that it is in this spirit or in these circumstances that the regulation was intended to be applied? Will she not agree that there is a case of hardship here and undertake to look at it again and, if necessary, amend the regulations?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

I am sure the hon. Gentleman will appreciate that it is a very common practice for people in Part III accommodation as their health fails and the years advance to be transferred to hospital accommodation, and it would be very anomalous indeed if we counted that entry into hospital accommodation as a new entry and ignored what are really overlapping State benefits. I agree that in this case there is the unusual feature that Mr. Purcell paid for his wife when she was in Part III accommodation, but I cannot accept the ground of hardship because by virtue of the fact that she is now fully maintained in a National Health Service hospital he is saved the expenditure of £6 3s. 8d. per week.