HC Deb 02 April 1962 vol 657 cc27-8
40. Mr. Gourlay

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance how much money the National Assistance Board spent on publicity in 1960, and 1961; and how much it proposes to spend in 1962.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

About £6,000 in 1960–61, and about £8,000 in the two following years. These figures do not take any account of the time spent by the Board's staff at all levels, other than information staff, in giving explanations of the Board's work.

Mr. Gourlay

I appreciate the services which the staff of the Board give in explaining the operation of the National Assistance Scheme. I also appreciate the necessity for publicising the supplementation to the present inadequate retirement pensions. But would not the Minister consider it better to raise the pension and thereby reduce considerably the number of people requiring assistance?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I do not see how that arises out of a Question asking how much money the National Assistance Board spent for this purpose.

Mr. Manuel

Can the Minister indicate whether a proportion of the amount spent last year was spent in connection with the publicity campaign to restore the deficit in welfare foods consumption?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I cannot answer that question without notice. The figures that I have given relate to the general information expenditure of the Board.

Mr. Ross

In view of the increasing importance of discretionary allowances, can the Minister tell us what public information was given about the powers of local officers in relation to this matter?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I should be grateful if the hon. Member would put down a Question on that matter. A good deal of information is published. I agree with him that it is important, and I would like to get it complete before giving an answer.