HC Deb 23 May 1960 vol 624 c27
33. Mr. Ross

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will state the total number of allowances, and the average weekly amount of such allowances, made by the National Assistance Board to retirement pensioners with and without adult dependants, respectively.

The Minister of Pensions and National Insurance (Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter)

On the basis of information obtained from a sample inquiry made towards the end of last year, the National Assistance Board estimates that the 1,012,000 retirement pensioners receiving weekly assistance grants on 29th March, 1960, included about 181,000 pensioners with wives and about 700 with other adult dependants. The average amounts of the grants at the time of the inquiry were 28s. for married pensioners and 20s. 11d. for others.

Mr. Ross

These figures give us an indication not only of the good work being done by the National Assistance Board but also its scale. Does the Minister agree that these figures underline the complete inadequacy of the basic pension?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

We discussed that matter at some length as recently as Friday. The House then paid considerable attention to the view that the major factor in the increase in these figures was the deliberate action of the Government, last September, to raise both the National Assistance scales and the disregards, so as to give a share of our rising prosperity to the poorest of our fellow citizens.