§ 9. Mr. Bowden
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representation he has received from the National Federation of Old Age Pensioners about the level of the death grant.
§ Mr. Bowden
Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that the present level of death grant is creating great personal distress for some elderly people, particularly those who have no savings left? 1093 It is therefore imposing a burden on their families. Will he admit that it is scandalous that there has been no increase in the death grant since 1967?
§ Mr. Lipton
Is my right hon. Friend aware that I have a later Question relating to this matter? Is he also aware that the death benefit is hardly sufficient to pay the tips of the men who are handling the burial? Will he please consider the urgency of increasing the death grant?
§ Mr. Boscawen
Although one recognises that this question is a matter of priorities and that it is unlikely that the death grant can be increased for everybody for a long time ahead, does the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is time that there was some selectivity and that those whose families are in receipt of supplementary benefit should be allowed an increase in the death grant?
§ Mr. Donald Stewart
Does the right hon. Gentleman not recognise that for these schemes to have reality the benefits must bear some relationship to the contributions? Since the contributions have been advancing steadily over the years, is it not high time that the death grant was raised?
§ Mr. Noble
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Tory-controlled local authority in Rossendale, in my constituency, recently introduced massive increases in charges for grave spaces and that this action in itself is causing a great deal of hardship among old people who are concerned about the fact that they can no longer afford to purchase a grave space for their relatives?