Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Suggested Increased State Allowances.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare whether, in order to meet the recent increases in the prices of foodstuffs, sugar, etc., and the proposed increase in the price of bread, he will introduce legislation, at an early date, to grant increased benefits to all those in receipt of small State pensions, unemployment insurance, unemployment assistance, home assistance and widows' and orphans' pensions; and if he will also take all necessary steps to see that all those who are in receipt of payments from the National Health Insurance Society will be paid substantially increased benefits to meet these new demands on their resources.

I should perhaps point out that the question of home assistance rests primarily with the local authority, and small State pensions are not my responsibility except to the extent that the expression refers to old age pensions. I have already arranged for the examination of the whole position in my Department and that examination will, of course, have regard to the consideration mentioned in the question as well as other relevant considerations.