National Assistance (Price Increases)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th April 1964.

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Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West 12:00 am, 27th April 1964

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what guidance he has given to the National Assistance Board to take into account in their assessment of the needs of recipients of assistance the recent increases in the prices of milk, meat, tobacco, spirits, and beer.

Photo of Hon. Richard Wood Hon. Richard Wood , Bridlington

This is a matter for the Board.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

The relationship between the Ministry and the National Assistance Board is precisely what we do not know. Will the Minister nevertheless agree that at least most of the items mentioned in the Question are regarded as much more essential by old people than by most other sections of the community? In view of the fact that the Budget placed heavier burdens proportionately on these people than on any other section of the community, will not the right hon. Gentleman have informal consultations with the National Assistance Board to bring this point to its attention?

Photo of Hon. Richard Wood Hon. Richard Wood , Bridlington

Naturally, I am always in touch with the National Assistance Board about these matters. There are three Questions on the alleged rise in the cost of living caused by the Budget which will be reached a little later, and perhaps the hon. Member will raise the point then.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

I do not know why the Minister should talk about the alleged rise in the cost of living. This is a fact which can be measured by the old-age pensioners themselves, as I have learnt in my constituency. Will not the Minister bring this fact to the attention of the Board?

Photo of Hon. Richard Wood Hon. Richard Wood , Bridlington

The hon. Member is going rather beyond his Question, which asked what guidance I had given. I have suggested that I have not given guidance and that this is a matter for the Board.