HC Deb 18 February 1942 vol 377 cc1803-4
65. Dr. Little

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether as all pensioners, specially those who were retired on small pensions many years ago, are finding it difficult to subsist on their present pensions owing to war conditions, he will review the entire pension question for the purpose of granting an adequate in crease to meet the present pressing need?

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Captain Crookshank)

This question covers a wide field. Many of the classes of pensioner which my hon. Friend no doubt has in mind were fixed at consolidated rates in 1935 following the Government decision that pensions of Crown servants should no longer be subject to cost-of-living adjustments. In view of the difficulties which war inevitably brings to many sections of the community, my right hon. Friend would be unwilling to single out State pensioners for special treatment. The policy of price stabilisation, the benefits of which are felt by all, has done much to mitigate hardship.

Dr. Little

As the grievances of these pensioners are serious indeed, will my right hon. and gallant Friend take into consideration the appointment of a commission to go into the whole question with a view to readjustment of the grievances and an increase of the pensions?

Mr. Levy

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend aware that where old age pensioners are doing a little war work, the old age pension is taken into account with what extra they are earning for the purposes of Income Tax? Does he think that the pensions ought to be taken into account? May I have an answer?

Hon. Members


Mr. Stephen

On a point of Order. Surely we are entitled to an answer to a Supplementary Question?

Mr. Speaker

If hon. Members continue calling "Answer," it does not give the Minister an opportunity.

Mr. Levy

On a point of Order. When I put a Supplementary Question to my right hon. and gallant Friend which is relevant to the Question on the Paper, is it courteous to the House and to the Member putting the question that he should sit mute and make no endeavour to answer?

Mr. Speaker

The Minister is no doubt prepared to answer the Question if hon. Members will give him time to do so.

Captain Crookshank

I was about to say that the Supplementary Questions merely prove what I sail, that this question covers a wide field. I could not answer without notice the Income Tax position of a particular class of old age pensioner, but if my hon. Friend will put a Question on the Paper I will do my best to give him a proper answer.