HC Deb 27 March 1961 vol 637 cc952-3
39. Mrs. Hart

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what extra administrative costs would be involved in adding a sample of old-age pensioners to the usual sample of the population under investigation by the National Food Survey.

Mr. Vane

The present sample of the population under investigation includes a representative cross-section of persons drawing retirement pensions. We therefore see no need to augment this sample.

The diets of those retirement pensioners who appear to have little other source of income are being reported on in a special section of the National Food Survey Report for 1959, which will be published shortly.

Mrs. Hart

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that it seems to me that the old-age pensioners who are included in the sample are those who emerged in a general sample of the population, which is rather different. However, I welcome his announcement about the new aspect of the survey. Will it include a specific sample of old-age pensioners living alone; and of old-age pensioners living just above the National Assistance level?

Mr. Vane

I cannot tell the hon. Lady whether it will definitely include a specific sample of those living alone, but, as I said, it will include those who have little other source of income, and the hon. Lady will know that no one in this country need live on the standard rate of retirement pension alone.

Mr. C. Boyle

Has the hon. Gentleman's attention been drawn to a series of articles in one of the London evening papers written by a correspondent who lived with old-age pensioners to see what kind of food they had? Could not one of the Parliamentary Secretary's right hon. Friends, or he himself, take that kind of line and see what these people have?

Mr. Vane

I did see those articles, but I am sure that all retirement pensioners will have noticed, too, that next week there is to be an increase in the standard rate of retirement pension.