HC Deb 09 November 1964 vol 701 cc7-8W
34. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether she will give the number of persons receiving National Assistance grants towards their rents in 1956, the total amount of such grants, and similar details for each year since 1956 to the latest convenient date.

Mr. Pentland

The estimated number of recipients of weekly National Assistance grants who were householders for whom an allowance for rent and rates would be added to the appropriate scale rates was 1,240,000 in December, 1956, and 1,550,000 in September, 1964. The following are figures for the intervening years. It is not possible to state a sum representing the part of the actual grants which is attributable to rent and rates, for reasons which I am explaining in a letter to my hon. Friend.

Following are the figures:—

Estimated number of householders receiving assistance grants whose grants took account of rent (or similar out-goings) and rents
December 1957 1,302,000
December 1958 1,255,000
December 1959 1,354,000
December 1960 1,435,000
December 1961 1,421,000
December 1962 1,570,000
December 1963 1,563,000

38. Mr. Llywelyn Williams

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what number of persons now living on retirement pensions also receive supplementation from the National Assistance Board; and what estimate she has made of the number of retirement pensioners entitled on an income basis to such supplementation who do not apply for it.

Mr. Pentland

At the end of September, 1964, 1,128,521 retirement pensioners were receiving supplements from the National Assistance Board. Some of these payments provided for the requirements of more than one pensioner. As regards the second part of the Question there are grounds for thinking that there may be substantial numbers of such persons, but I would prefer not to attempt any precise estimate pending the outcome of the comprehensive inquiry now being prepared into the financial and other circumstances of retirement pensioners which was announced by my right hon. Friend's predecessor and welcomed by my right hon. Friend in a debate in this House on 8th July.

Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance in view of the dissatisfaction with the present practices in the assessing and payment of National Assistance Board allowances to old-age pensioners, what proposals she has for humanising them; and when progress will be made with such proposals.

Miss Herbison

I think that it has been accepted by the House that the National Assistance scheme is administered by the local officers of the National Assistance Board in a human and understanding way. Nevertheless the Government consider that major changes are needed in our social security schemes including the services for which the Board is responsible. A full review of the schemes is being instituted and we shall announce detailed proposals as soon as possible.