HC Deb 19 November 1956 vol 560 cc52-3W
67. Mr. McKay

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance how many pensioners applied for National Assistance in 1949 and in 1950, respectively; what percentage this was of the total number receiving pensions; and what was the percentage of pensioners receiving National Assistance in 1953, 1954 and at the latest possible date.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The number of retirement pensioner households receiving National Assistance allowances in December, 1949, and December, 1950, was about 560,000 and 675,000 respectively. This was about 18 per cent. and 21 per cent. respectively of all retirement pensioner households. The percentage in December, 1953, was 26 per cent.; in December, 1954, it was 27 per cent.; and in June, 1956, it was 23½ per cent.

68. Mr. Gibson

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he is aware that his area officers are sending letters to firms inviting them to make loans to their employees in cases where on new engagements a week's wages are held by the firm; whether he is also aware that it is contrary to good trade union practice that employees should be in debt to their employers; and if he will ensure that workers in such temporary need should be assisted by the National Assistance Board.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The arrangement which I think the hon. Member has in mind relates to applicants for National Assistance and the National Assistance Board informs me that it operates only in cases where the men concerned have wages already due to them. No question of a debt therefore arises.