HC Deb 01 August 1966 vol 733 cc23-4
37. Mr. Holland

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what action she will take in the light of the recent report, "Financial and other circumstances of Retirement Pensioners", to ensure that those people who would be entitled to help from the National Assistance Board, but who do not apply for help, are given the necessary financial assistance.

Miss Herbison

The new scheme of supplementary pensions provided in the Ministry of Social Security Bill is designed to overcome the misunderstandings and reluctance which have prevented some elderly people from approaching the National Assistance Board for help. I am arranging a major publicity campaign for the new scheme this autumn, including Press advertising and individual invitations to all retirement pensioners to claim their entitlement.

Mr. Holland

While thanking the right hon. Lady for that full reply, may I ask her when she proposes to introduce this big publicity campaign? Does she agree with the suggestion in the Report that about 17 per cent. of retirement pensioners who are entitled to supplementary benefit are not getting it, and, in view of this, will she start her publicity campaign very soon?

Miss Herbison

Yes, Sir. The Report really proved what many of us had thought beforehand; that there were a great many old people who could have help. August would not be a good month to start the publicity campaign. I assure the hon. Gentleman that I have given a great deal of thought to the matter and that we will be beginning the campaign some time in September.