The Assistance Board inform me that, until January of this year the normal practice was for their officers to visit each pensioner who is in receipt of a supplementary pension once a quarter, and that since January the practice has been to visit once in six months. More frequent visits are paid in cases where the circumstances of the pensioner require it or where the pensioner reports that some change in his circumstances has occurred which may affect the amount of his supplementary pension. Statistical records of the actual visits paid in any area are not maintained and could not be compiled without considerable expenditure of staff time; but the Board estimate that in 75 per cent. of the cases visits are now paid twice a year.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that I have a letter here from an old age pensioner whose circumstances have not varied and who says that she has been visited three times already this year? In view of that misuse of manpower, will he give consideration to the matter of restricting these visits to not more than once in 12 months?
Will not my right hon. Friend consider whether once in 12 months is not adequate in present circumstances, as the money involved does not justify such a use of man-power?