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Public Assistance Institutions (Inmates)

Volume 388: debated on Thursday 22 April 1943

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asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the rise in the cost of tobacco and the fact that it is illegal for public assistance committees to grant pocket money to occupants of public assistance institutions who receive no pensions and are under 65 years of age, he will introduce legislation to extend some concessions to these inmates who are unable to make purchases of any kind?

I think my hon. Friend may be under some misapprehension in this matter. Local authorities have power to provide tobacco for inmates of their public assistance institutions, so that the considerations referred to in the Question do not in themselves constitute any reason for extending the power to grant pocket money.

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman consider granting a separate pension for all old folk in these institutions?


asked the Minister of Health whether he has now considered a published statement, particulars whereof have been furnished, purporting to describe a visit to aged persons in a certain institution; whether he proposes to issue any observations thereon; and what steps are contemplated to ensure improvements in this and similar other institutions for the aged and infirm throughout the country?

Yes, Sir. This statement has been followed by a series of letters published in the same journal, which make it clear that the institution referred to is by no means typical. The allegations made had been previously communicated to me, and I had arranged for one of my inspectors to visit the institution. Some of the defects found had been remedied before the statement was published, and others are still receiving attention, but some, which involve structural alterations, cannot be fully dealt with until labour and materials become more freely available.

Where steps can be taken to improve the lot of these people will my right hon. Friend take steps and not wait for published statements to draw his attention to the matter?