asked the Minister of National Insurance the number of old age pensioners applying for the supplementary old age pension; the cost of abolishing the means test for this class of applicant; and whether it is his intention to make this concession before the major social insurance improvements promised in the King's Speech.
asked the Minister of National Insurance whether it is proposed to continue to apply a means test to old age pensioners during the coming winter.
At the end of August, supplementary pensions were in payment covering the needs of about 1,600,000 pensioners. If old age pensions for all persons now eligible for them were assessed on the present supplementary pension scales, including the allowance for rent, without a means test, the extra annual cost immediately would be about £100,000,000, rising rapidly with the growth of the aged population. In reply to other Questions on the Order Paper today, I have indicated the proposals of the Government as to the time by which it will be possible to improve the fixed pensions. But I ought to make it clear that, if reductions in the amounts now being paid in many cases are to be avoided, opportunity must still be left for pensions supplementary to the fixed amounts to be paid where the circumstances of the applicant are such as to make this necessary.