§ 49. Captain BARNETT
asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the continued increase in the cost of living, he will introduce legislation with the object of making general for the period of the War and six months thereafter the 2s. 6d. increase in old age pensions, which is at present only granted in special cases?
§ Mr. BALDWIN (Junior Lord of the Treasury)
My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. For the reasons given in my reply of the 12th instant to the hon. Member for the Houghton-le-Spring Division His Majesty's Government are not prepared to introduce legislation on this subject.
§ 57. Mr. A. WILLIAMS
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the National Conference of Friendly Societies, representing more than 6,000,000 persons, 621 in September last passed a resolution which, while welcoming what had already been conceded to certain old-age pensioners during the War, declared it urgent that all other old-age pensioners should receive an additional sum of half-a-crown a week owing to the increased cost of living; and whether he is prepared to -accede to the request?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. He has received the resolution in question, but, for the reasons given in my reply of the 12th instant to the hon. Member for the Houghton-le-Spring -Division, he regrets to be unable to accede to this request.
§ Mr. WARDLE
Has the hon. Gentleman seen the account which appeared in the newspapers only yesterday of an old age pensioner who died because he had not sufficient nutrition to keep him alive?
§ 60. Mr. ANDERSON
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has considered the Report of the deputation which waited upon the late Secretary to the Treasury in reference to the granting of 2s. 6d. per week to all old age pensioners not benefited by other concessions; whether the deputation represented all parties in the House and all the findings of conferences representing several millions of people; and what action he proposes to take?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. The answer to the first and second parts of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the last part of the question, I would refer to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for the Houghton-le-Spring Division on the 12th instant.
§ Mr. ANDERSON
In view of the feeling that exists in regard to this matter, would it not be possible for the Government to grant some time for a discussion to hear the views of hon. Members in all parts of the House on the question?
§ Mr. FLAVIN
Has the hon Gentleman taken into consideration the fact that, owing to the increase in the cost of living, which has gone up over 80 per cent, since the Pensions Act was passed, it is not possible for an old age pensioner to subsist on any sum from 5s. downwards?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
Perhaps I may say in reply that we have just as much sympathy with the old age pensioners as the hon. Members who have put questions. This arrangement was only made three months ago, and I do not think it is unreasonable to wait a little longer.