§ 22. Mr. Hamling
asked the Minister of Social Security whether, in her review of the social security system, she will consider revising the regulations regarding the payment of death grant so that payments are uniform in all cases.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Social Security (Mr. Charles Loughlin)
I assume my hon. Friend has in mind the basis on which death grant is made available to people who were within ten years of pensionable age when the benefit was introduced for the first time in 1948. It would not be appropriate to revise these transitional arrangements now.
§ Mr. Hamling
Will my hon. Friend consider consulting his right hon. Friend with a view to changing these regulations, as continuous increases in benefit in other respects have made nonsense of many of the actuarial considerations of 1947 and 1948?
§ Mr. Loughlin
It is perfectly true that two of the categories concerned, non- 38 payment and reductions, are based upon the contributory nature of the fund, but they would still be based upon its contributory nature whatever happened. We have to be guided to some extent by the Advisory Committee. We submitted this issue to it and it said that at this stage it did not feel that there was any useful purpose in changing the regulations.
§ Mr. Braine
The hon. Gentleman says "at this stage", but is this matter to be looked at in accordance with his hon. Friend's request? Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there are some cases, notably where the mentally subnormal are concerned, where there has been no insurance entitlement and where hardship may be caused to the parent who may be a widow of small means?
§ Mr. Loughlin
That is a slightly different aspect. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we are examining this aspect, although not necessarily specifically related to the death grant.