44. Mr. B. Taylor
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will introduce legislation to increase the amount of the disregards under the National Assistance Act, 1948.
§ 51. Mr. Carmichael
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance the Regulations issued by the National Assistance Board, and approved by him, to the area officers for the replacement of clothing to those who are in receipt of National Assistance.
§ Mr. Peake
The only Regulations relating to this point are the National Assistance (Determination of Need) Regulations, 1948. The scale rates as amended by subsequent Regulations are intended to provide for all normal needs including clothing, but power is given in Regulation 6 to make a special grant in case of exceptional need.72W
§ 50. Mr. Carmichael
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance the percentage of applicants on National Assistance who received grants for exceptional needs and the total amount granted during 1951, 1952, 1953 and 1954; and what estimate of the percentage and grants for 1955 has been made by the National Assistance Board.
§ Mr. Peake
The following figures give the information asked for.
— Number of regular weekly allowances current at end of year Approximate total number of exceptional needs grants made in the year Approximate total amount of such grants 1951 … 1,462,000 153,000 £580,000 1952 … 1,667,000 160,000 £650,000 1953 … 1,761,000 147,000 £530,000 1954 … 1,796,000 169,000 £570,000
The number and amount of exceptional needs grants during 1955 to the end of October (when the regular weekly allowances in payment numbered 1,598,000) are approximately 120,000 and £400,000.
§ 66. Mr. D. Howell
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance the amount of pension and National Assistance available weekly to a man and wife of pensionable age, after allowing for rent and with no other income.
§ 68. Mr. Blenkinsop
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what increase there has been in the number of old people receiving supplementary benefit from the National Assistance Board since 30th June, 1955.
§ Mr. Peake
The numbers have gone down, not up. At the end of September about 11,000 fewer Assistance supplements to retirement and non-contributory pensions were being paid than at the end of June. The numbers of such supplements at the end of October are not known but it can be stated that the numbers of Assistance grants generally which are paid at post offices were further reduced during that month.