Oral Answers to Questions — Old Age Pensions.

– in the House of Commons on 19th February 1942.

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Photo of Mr Ness Edwards Mr Ness Edwards , Caerphilly

asked the Minister of Health what were the average amounts of supplementary pensions paid in April, 1941, region by region, and what were the comparative figures for August, 1941?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I regret that information regarding the average amounts paid region by region is not available. Particulars of the average payments for Great Britain are given in the Board's report on the Administration of the Determination of Needs Act, 1941, up to 31st December, 1941, Cmd. 6338, published a few days ago.

Photo of Mr Ness Edwards Mr Ness Edwards , Caerphilly

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that these figures are in the Assistance Board's office? What is the reason for trying to hide from the House the information asked for in the Question?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

There is no desire to hide anything. Ministers have always been pressed to concentrate on problems of great magnitude and not put the task of too much detailed inquiry upon those concerned in these very complicated things. If there is any issue of magnitude concerned, I am always glad to make the information available to the House, as is well known. I am informed that it is not available, and it could not be got without a great deal of labour.

Photo of Mr Ness Edwards Mr Ness Edwards , Caerphilly

asked the Minister of Health whether he will publish the instructions sent out by the Assistance Board, whereby many applicants in receipt of statutory disregards have been refused winter additions; and why pensioners in receipt of Army allotments have also been refused winter additions?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

The conditions under which winter additions are granted were fully explained in the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke (Mr. Ellis Smith) on 4th December, 1941. As regards publication of the Board's instructions, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke on 2nd July, 1941. I am sending him copies of these answers.

Mr. Davidson:

asked the Minister of Health the amount of the average increase to applicants under the Determination of Needs Act, 1941, up to August, 1941, and the proportion of applicants affected?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

The information available on this subject is given in the Board's report on the administration of the Determination of Needs Act up to 31st December, 1941 (Cmd. 6338) published a few days ago.

Mr. Davidson:

In view of the fact that this Command Paper is not available to a great number of the public, will the right hon. Gentleman consider giving the utmost publicity to the fact that it states that the average increase is a miserable 6d. a week and that only a third of the applicants have been affected by it?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

indicated dissent.

Mr. Davidson:

Does the Minister dispute my statement that the average is 6d. and that only a third have been affected?