§ 10. Mr. Canavan
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will now make a statement about the level of the death grant.
§ Mr. Canavan
Bearing in mind that the current maximum grant of £30 would pay for only about 10 per cent. of the costs of a simple funeral, is it any wonder that the Government's consultative document is seen as an absolute sell-out? Instead of introducing a means-tested grant and applying it to a much reduced number of people, why not have a general uprating of the grant to at least the original 1949 level, which would be about £200 in today's money—or is it now official Tory Government policy to increase the cost of dying as well as the cost of living?
§ Mr. Grieve
Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that it is essential to give benefits where they are needed and not where they are not needed?
§ Mr. Stallard
May I remind the Minister of the reply that he gave me yesterday to a written question? I asked what would be the necessary increase in the national insurance contribution to raise the death grant to £200. His reply was that if the increase were borne totally by the employer it would cost the employee about 15p a week. Why has that not been included as one option available to the Government during the consultation process?