HL Deb 10 February 1960 vol 220 cc1109-10

2.57 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the first Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they can say how far the increase of social security pensions in 1959 has reduced the numbers and proportion of such pensioners needing to obtain National Assistance as it was at the end of 1950.]


My Lords, there were no increases in retirement pensions in 1959. They were last increased in January, 1958, when the standard rates were raised from 40s. to 50s. for a single person and from 65s. to 80s. for a married couple. Since that date, however, there have been changes in National Assistance, in September, 1959, both in respect of the scale rates and the treatment of resources. The number of pensioner households receiving supplementary payments of National Assistance in December, 1959, was 976,000 compared with 677,000 in December, 1950. Expressed as a proportion of such households, the number receiving supplementary pensions is estimated at between 21½ and 22 per cent. in December, 1959, compared with 20.7 per cent. in December, 1950. The figures, however, are not comparable because, on the one hand, the real standard of National Assistance is now substantially higher and, on the other, the range of retirement pensioners is wider following the influx of 400,000"late-age entrant" pensioners in July, 1958.