HC Deb 16 November 1964 vol 702 cc20-1
23. Miss Thatcher

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what is the minimum period required administratively for the introduction of increased rates of benefit for sickness, unemployment, widowhood, and war pensions, respectively.

Miss Herbison

The minimum period must depend on a variety of factors, including the time of year and the numbers of beneficiaries affected.

Mrs. Thatcher

Would not the right hon. Lady confirm that on the last occasion, as is revealed in the Government Actuary's Report, unemployment and sickness benefit increases and some other benefit increases came into operation within six weeks? While the right hon. Lady might not be able to do it in quite such a short time, there is no case for keeping these recipients of short-term benefits waiting for 20 weeks when the considerations which apply to the long-term benefits are different from those applying to sickness and unemployment.

Miss Herbison

The hon. Lady will be more aware than almost anyone else in the House that the reason why these increases in short-term benefits, particularly the unemployment benefit, were paid earlier than the retirement pensions increase was because of the heavy number of unemployed at that time. I can, however, assure the hon. Lady that we are considering these matters and that announcements will be made when we are making announcements about the Bill.