62. Sir F. HALL
asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that the increase in the cost of living at the present time is about 130 per cent. compared with the period before the outbreak of war; 1951 whether any increase has been made in the pensions scale of Civil servants to assist in meeting this increase; if not, whether the Government has the matter under consideration; and what action they propose to take in the matter?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I cannot accept 130 per cent.—which is merely the amount of the average change of retail prices—as the correct figure for the increase in the cost of living, which was found by the Sumner Committee to be only 80 per cent. in the case of urban working-class households. The question of an addition to the pensions of Civil servants has been carefully considered by both the present and the late Governments. The Government is not prepared to introduce legislation to secure the proposed increase, the cost of which would be prohibitive.
Sir F. HALL
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the pensions were created on the basis of a sovereign being able to buy £l worth of goods, and, considering the present value, cannot something be done to alleviate the sufferings of these people?