HC Deb 21 March 1957 vol 567 c542
31. Mr. Mathew

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has yet surmounted the practical difficulties in the way of extending the scope of the scheme to relieve old-age pensioners of the additional duty on tobacco, introduced in 1947, to include persons drawing National Assistance benefits but not a State pension; and when the new arrangements will come into force.

Mr. Powell

I am afraid that no practicable solution to these difficulties has been found.

Mr. Mathew

In making any possible future adjustments, will my hon. Friend bear in mind the fact that this small category of persons includes a number of people suffering real hardship and need?

Mr. Powell

Yes, Sir. I recognise that these arrangements, which were started in 1947, involve a number of anomalies, but neither Government have yet found the means of removing them.

Mr. H. Wilson

We debated these anomalies in our discussion of the Finance Bill last year. If, after all these months, the Government have not found the answer, will the hon. Member now give effect to the suggestion made from these benches, that the Government should wipe out these concessions in return for a really generous increase in the old-age pension?