HC Deb 28 January 1963 vol 670 c565
17. Mr. Bence

asked the Minister of Health what would be the annual cost of reducing charges on spectacles and dentures by 50 per cent.

Mr. Braine

About £7½million for Great Britain.

Mr. Bence

£7½ million is a very small item in view of the National Debt and the annual Budget. Does not the hon. Gentleman consider that it would be a great relief to people on sickness benefit and retired people to have the cost of these dentures and spectacles reduced, for it is a heavy burden on many people?

Mr. Braine

I should have thought most hon. Members would agree that development of the health and welfare services should take priority over a reduction in these charges.

Mr. Pavitt

Has the hon. Gentleman seen recent reports in the medical Press saying that old-age pensioners are not having adequate changes of spectacles? Will he consider that in the light of the £7— million and see whether something can be done, especially for old people?

Mr. Braine

I would ask the hon. Member to send me the particular report to which he refers. We have, however, no evidence that the charges have deterred people from getting spectacles or dentures.