§ 2. Mr. Terry Walker
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many representations he has now received about the regulations on television licences for pensioners.
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Brynmor John)
During the 12 months to 15th May about 300 representations have been received.
§ Mr. Walker
Is it not time that my hon. Friend and the Home Office considered concessionary television licences for pensioners, as many pensioners who live in sheltered warden accommodation receive concessionary television rates? Is it not necessary that some form of system be worked out so that all pensioners qualify for concessionary television licences?
§ Mr. John
My hon. Friend will know that this matter will form part of the consideration of the Annan Committee's recommendations. Annan recommended not only that no further concessions be introduced but that those in existence should be phased out. It is the Government's task to bring before the House a White Paper on this matter, and they will do that in the near future.
§ Mr. McCrindle
Will the Minister take on board the minority view that it is extremely dangerous to move from concessionary fares to concessionary television licences and that the real solution to the problem posed by the hon. Member for Kingswood (Mr. Walker) is for a substantial increase in the pension, thereby leaving the individual pensioner to do 344 with it as he or she would? Does the Minister accept that not all pensioners wish to travel and not all pensioners necessarily wish to watch television?
§ Mr. John
I accept that there is always an argument whether cash benefits rather than benefits in kind are preferable for pensioners, but for the hon. Gentleman to put it as he did was ridiculous. This Government have done more for pensioners than any other Government, and certainly more than the Conservative Government of 1970–74.
§ Mr. Woodall
Is my hon. Friend aware that already a wrong interpretation has been put on my right hon. Friend's memorandum on concessionary television licences? Is he aware that, for instance, in Hemsworth some of my constituents who live within a warden scheme are being denied the concessionary television licence because they live in houses, rather than in purpose-built dwellings? Is that not wrong, and should not the postmasters responsible be told so?