HC Deb 26 April 1937 vol 323 c29
56. Mr. E. Smith

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he will consider the need of taking action to increase old age and widows' pensions by 2S. a week in order to meet the 18 per cent. rise in prices of retail food since 1932?

47. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Prime Minister, if, in view of the increased cost of living, he will arrange for a corresponding adjustment of old age pensions?

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Lieut.-Colonel Colville)

I would refer the hon. Members to the reply which I gave on 18th March to the hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths).

Mr. E. Smith

In view of the continued increase in the cost of living and of the position of these poor people, would the Minister be prepared to reconsider the whole position?

Lieut.-Colonel Colville

I recognise the feeling in the lion. Member's mind, but I would remind him, as his question is based upon the cost of living, that the cost of living at the date when these pensions were first made was very much higher than it is now.

Mr. Tinker

In view of the present prosperity, could not the Minister give these old people a share of it?

Lieut.-Colonel Colville

I will give the figures. In 1919, when the pension was fixed at 10s. per week, the cost-of-living figure was 125. That was the increase over July, 1914. To-day it is 51.

Mr. E. Smith

Does the Minister consider, as an individual, that that is a fair argument to put to the House?

Lieut.-Colonel Colville

It is the basis of the hon. Gentleman's question.