No, Sir. The death grant will be considered, along with all other claims on the resources available, when this year's review of national insurance benefits is carried out.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the cost of dying is an increasing burden on poor families. Is he further aware that when the death grant was introduced in 1949 it covered the cost of a funeral, but that today it falls £45 short of this aim?
I understand the hon. Gentleman's point, but I hope that he will realise that it is a question of priorities. It depends, for example, on the amount of the available resources which we allocate to increased pensions. The cost of the hon. Gentleman's proposal would be an extra £35 million a year. For that sum of money we have been able, for example, to provide over 100,000 attendance allowances for the severely disabled.
Will my hon. Friend confirm that men born before 1883 and women born before 1888 are not entitled to death grant? If this is so, will not the Government bring a compassionate approach to this problem, as they did to the matter of pensions for the over 80s?
I confirm what my hon. Friend said and I would remind him, without commitment, that this, along with other competing demands on resources, will be considered in this year's uprating.