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National Insurance

Volume 436: debated on Tuesday 15 April 1947

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Old Age Pensions

22.

asked the Minister of National Insurance when Mrs. M. E. Butler, pension No. 03474675, Mr. W. G. Cogger, pension No. 08404445, Mrs. F. B. Foot, pension No. 33831098, and Miss Florence Rose, no pension number, all of South sea, and about whom the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South, has previously made representations, may expect their old age pensions or new pension books as the Case may be.

As I have already informed the hon. Member by letter, the first three cases have already been satisfactorily cleared. The fourth, on which difficult issues arise, is still under investigation, and as promised, I will write to the hon. Member again when inquiries have been completed.

Would my hon. Friend bear in mind that the last case has been going on for eight months? Surely, it could be hurried up?

Yes, I appreciate that. It is a difficult case, and we are making exhaustive inquiries to try to give it personal attention.

Is the Minister aware that Portsmouth, South, is by no means the only place where people have not got their pensions books, and that every Member of Parliament gets some half-dozen letters a week on this very sad subject? Can the hon. Gentleman tell the House when this is going to end, and when those people who are entitled to pensions books will have them?

As far as that is concerned, I would refer the hon. Member to the very full and comprehensive statement made by my right hon. Friend on 11th March.

Approved Society Membership (Applications)

23.

asked the Minister of National Insurance whether he is aware that some approved societies have refused applications for membership from insured persons on the ground that their affairs are to he taken over when the national insurance scheme comes into operation; and what steps he is taking to secure that these persons shall not be at any disadvantage as a result.

Difficulties of the kind indicated have not been numerous, but my hon. Friend will be glad to know that after consultation with approved society representatives I have now made regulations dealing with this matter. As from 21st April, insured persons who are not members of approved societies will in general be entitled to statutory benefits on an insurance basis in the same way as members of approved societies and the Navy, Army and Air Force Insurance Fund. Their benefits and those of the members of the latter Fund will in future be paid from special offices which my Department is opening for the purpose in 43 centres as part of the arrangements for transition to the new scheme.

Extended Benefit, South Wales

24.

asked the Minister of National Insurance the number of applicants in South Wales who have applied for extended unemployment benefit, giving separate figures for men and women.

The total number of applicants for extended benefit in the counties of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire up to 11th April, 1947, was 17,741, of whom 11,464 were men, and 6,277 were women.

25.

asked the Minister of National Insurance the number of applicants in the Aberdare Valley, Aberdare and Mountain Ash Employment Exchanges who have applied for extended unemployment benefit; and how many of such claims have been allowed.

The total number of applicants for extended unemployment benefit for the areas mentioned in the Question is 3,472, of which number 3,404 were admitted. With my hon. Friend's permission, I propose to circulate the figures for the individual areas in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Could the Minister say how many of those people who applied for extended unemployment pay are single men and women?

Following are the figures:

Applications received.Applications admitted.
Men.Women.Men.Women.
Aberdare Valley1,0237131,016686
Aberdare E.E.767425764410
Mountain Ash E.E.256288252276

Retirement Pensions

26.

asked the Minister of National Insurance when it is anticipated that claims for increased pensions on retirement will be dealt with immediately; and what the delay will be at the end of April.

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to claims for increased pensions on retirement from regular employment after basic pension has been awarded. These are being dealt with as quickly as circumstances allow. The average time which elapses between receipt of a notification from the pensioner and the issue of a new pension order book if the claim is admissible is at present about six weeks; I hope that by the end of this month the time will have been reduced to four weeks. Substantially, speedier handling than this depends on the establishment of a comprehensive network of local offices. I would urge pensioners whenever possible to give notice of impending retirement at the earliest opportunity. As regards new awards of pension, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Members for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Erroll) and Leeds, North-East (Miss Bacon). on 11th March last