HC Deb 27 June 1960 vol 625 cc945-6
11. Mr. Dempsey

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance to what extent the death grant rate of payment has been increased since 1948; and if he will give details and dates.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Death grant first became payable in July 1949. The rates were increased from 3rd February, 1958. by 25 per cent.

Mr. Dempsey

Is the Minister aware that almost all other benefits have been doubled because of the increase in the cost of living? Why has not this benefit been raised to a more realistic level? Does not the Minister realise that burial costs have also gone up? Will he therefore do something to see that this grant is raised to a more realistic amount?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

As the hon. Gentleman will have gathered from my Answer, I conducted through Parliament the only Measure by which this grant has been increased since it was initiated.

Mr. Ross

Surely that does not mean that it has been increased sufficiently to meet present needs? In the review which has been promised and which is the right hon. and learned Gentleman's statutory report to the House, will he consider this point?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I do not think that the grant comes within my Section 40 review.

24. Mr. Millan

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will consider extending the payment of death grants on the death of men barn before 5th July, 1883, and women born before 5th July, 1888.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

No, Sir.

Mr. Millan

However justified the exclusion of these people may have been in July, 1948, is it not time that the Minister looked at this and similar cases again? These are a dwindling number of people and the amount of money required to pay these grants would be less every year. Can the Minister look at this matter again?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

No, Sir. As I think the hon. Member knows, this was a new benefit under the 1946 Scheme and was not included in the previous legislation. The people concerned cannot in the nature of things have paid any contributions towards this scheme and, therefore, for this benefit.