HC Deb 14 November 1960 vol 630 cc1-2W
26. Mr. C. Osborne

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he is aware of the case of a colliery pithead gear attendant who has not worked for three-and-a-half years because he gets £10 18s. in social service payments and three pints of milk a day free, and who lives in a subsidised council house, which, together with what he earns from rabbiting, is sufficient for his family needs; if he will amend the regulations to prevent such abuses of the social services; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am aware of this case, and have written to my hon. Friend about certain aspects of it.

The figure quoted in his Question includes £2 18s. family allowances paid in respect of seven children, and these are of course payable whether the father is in work or not.

In accordance with its normal practice the National Assistance Board limited the supplement to unemployment benefit paid in this case to a level which brought the combined total payments to a lower figure than this gentleman could earn in the occupation stated. I am told that payments of National Assistance have now ceased.

So far as unemployment benefit is concerned, this has not been continuously in payment over the period, and the question of his availability for work is at present before the statutory authorities.

I do not think that this case, which has some very special features, discloses any defect in the statutory provisions, which as the House knows include power to withhold benefit, and so far as assistance is concerned to prosecute, in appropriate cases.

32. Mr. Stan Awbery

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance, if he is aware of the widespread discontent among ex-Service men who have lost one or more limbs during their war service at the amount of the pensions paid to them; and if he will examine the case of the limbless men with a view to granting them additional increases in their pensions.

Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter

I would refer the hon. Member to the statement which I made on 2nd November and to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) on 7th November.