HC Deb 12 February 1951 vol 484 cc24-5W
155. Mr. Angus Maude

asked the Minister of National Insurance if she will give an estimate of what would be the cost to the Exchequer of raising the maximum ordinary scale rates for national assistance from 26s. to 30s., plus rent, for a single householder and from 43s. 6d. to 50s., plus rent, for a married couple.

Dr. Summerskill

To increase the allowances of existing recipients on the basis of the higher rates mentioned would cost about £16 million a year, but such increases in rates would, of course, enable additional persons to qualify and this would add appreciably to the cost.

156. Mr. Angus Maude

asked the Minister of National Insurance whether she will widen the discretion of the National Assistance Board, so that every old age pensioner living alone, or with another old age pensioner, can qualify for food and clothing allowances.

Dr. Summerskill

Any old age pensioner can obtain assistance from the Board if he is in need of it by reference to the standards laid down in the Regulations made under the National Assistance Act but the Act would not permit allowances to be paid regardless of individual needs which is what the hon. Member seems to have in mind.

Mr. R. Williams

asked the Minister of National Insurance if she will supply a statement indicating the number of recipients of grants made by the National Assistance Board; the areas in which such grants were made; the amount thereof in the last period of six months immediately preceding the date when the present scales of payment became operative and in the period thereafter; and the number of persons employed by the National Assistance Board during each of those periods.

Mr. B. Taylor

At 19th December, 1950, in all parts of Great Britain there were 1,349,902 persons receiving regular weekly grants of assistance, which took account of the needs also of wives and any other dependants. The assistance granted during the first half of 1950 amounted to about £26,150,000 and during the second half to about £31,350,000. The total staff of the Board was 9,351 on 30th June, 1950, and 9,595 on 31st December, 1950.