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Welfare Foods

Volume 654: debated on Monday 19 February 1962

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asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will state the cost to the National Assistance Board of assisting applicants to secure welfare foods since prices were increased.

It is estimated that the total administrative cost to the National Assistance Board in arranging for the issue in appropriate cases of tokens for free supplies of welfare foods, including milk, is at present about £74,000 a year.

The Minister will realise that while that figure may not in his estimation be a big one, it does not tell the full story. Is he aware that many small wage earners with £8 or £9 per week are not able to qualify for National Assistance and, therefore, would not qualify for help towards the payment for welfare foods? Will he consider honouring the pledge given by the Parliamentary Secretary on 19th April, that if there were a decrease, such as we now have, of 75 per cent. over the country, the matter would be reconsidered with a view to consideration of increases in regard to these foods?

It is the whole story as far as I am concerned. The other matters to which the hon. Gentleman refers, including, no doubt, the observations of, as I understand it, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health, are matters for my right hon. Friend, as the hon. Gentleman knows, and not for me.