HC Deb 07 November 1955 vol 545 cc149-50W
58. Mr. Gibson

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether, in view of the increasing difficulties of old-age pensioners in maintaining a reasonable standard of living, he will bring before the House proposals for raising the levels of pensions and National Assistance.

69. Mr. H. Hynd

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what increases in old-age pensions, widows' pensions, service and other pensions and in the rates of National Assistance will be given to meet the increased rents and Purchase Tax.

78. Mr. Hunter

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he is prepared to increase the amount of retirement pensions in view of the increase in the cost of living.

Mr. Peake

I have no such proposals in mind with regard to the benefits and pensions for which I am responsible. The present rates of National Insurance Pensions still provide a higher purchasing power than any earlier rates in force at any previous time. With regard to the National Assistance scales, I cannot add to the reply given to the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. J. Howard) on 31st October; rents are allowed for separately by the National Assistance Board.

77. Mr. F. Willey

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will state the present provisions regarding the capital sums a person may possess while still qualifying for National Assistance.

Mr. Peake

These provisions are contained in the Second Schedule to the National Assistance Act, 1948. Their broad effect is that the value of owner-occupied property, the first £375 of war savings of an applicant, and the first £375 of war savings of any dependant are wholly disregarded; that the first £50 of other capital is also disregarded and in so far as the aggregate value of such other capital exceeds £50 but does not exceed £400 it is treated as equivalent to a weekly income of 6d. for each complete £25; and that any excess over £400 is to be regarded as available for meeting the person's needs.