Pensioners' Rights

Oral Answers to Questions — Duchy of Lancaster – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd November 1992.

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Photo of Mrs Helen Jackson Mrs Helen Jackson , Sheffield, Hillsborough 12:00 am, 2nd November 1992

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on the application of the citizens charter for the rights of pensioners.

Photo of Mr William Waldegrave Mr William Waldegrave , Bristol West

As my hon. Friend has just told the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Mr. Wareing), public services should be available equally to everyone who uses them. The citizens charter calls on public sector organisations to take account of the needs of all their customers—including, where appropriate, pensioners—when setting service standards.

Photo of Mrs Helen Jackson Mrs Helen Jackson , Sheffield, Hillsborough

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is a great omission not to include specific rights for pensioners in the citizens charter? I refer particularly to pensioners in residential care. In both private and public nursing homes they have great difficulty in maintaining such basic rights as their ability to correspond with the press, to make complaints, to use their own money, and so on. Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that it would be appropriate to include those rights within his citizens charter?

Photo of Mr William Waldegrave Mr William Waldegrave , Bristol West

Pensioners, as is the case with every other citizen, should have their needs addressed in the specific charter that deals with their service. It would not be helpful to try to produce a megacharter that runs across all the services for pensioners. That is the point that my hon. Friend made, and I should like to reinforce it. There may well be strength in what the hon. Lady says when it comes to a particular charter.