HC Deb 19 October 1950 vol 478 cc2228-30
55. Brigadier Clarke

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he proposes to do to alleviate the hardship now being suffered by Service pensioners, old age pensioners and others on low fixed incomes as a result of the increase in the cost of living.

58. Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the difficulties experienced by many old age pensioners in view of the increasing cost of living; and whether he will examine the possibilities of protecting old age pensioners as far as possible in this respect by extending to essential food and clothing the present concessions old age pensioners receive with regard to cheap cigarettes and tobacco.

Mr. Jay

The Government's policy of food subsidies, price control and tax-free utility production is designed to assist old age pensioners and all others with small incomes; and. together with other disinflationary measures, has successfully restrained the rise in living costs. I do not think it would be justifiable to extend concessions of this kind for the benefit of only one section of those with small incomes.

Brigadier Clarke

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that the cost of living figure produced by him and the real cost of living figure bear no relation to each other, and that old age pensioners and other people with low fixed incomes are having the greatest difficulty in living at all these days?

Mr. Jay

It is for those reasons that we intend to continue our policy of price control and food subsidies, which have been successful in keeping living costs down.

Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport

I did not hear the hon. Gentleman's answer. Does he intend to do anything to help poor people who are finding the cost of living so high? Can I have an answer? It is a simple question.

Mrs. Jean Mann

Is my hon. Friend aware that the only help to these poor people that the Tories gave last year was to raise the salary of the town clerk from £53 to £67 a week when they took control of Glasgow? [Laughter.]

Squadron Leader Burden

Will the hon. Gentleman please answer the question put by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Knutsford (Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport), and will he also tell the House what it is that his hon. Friends find so funny in the difficulties of these poor people?

Mr. Jay

As our policy in this respect has been more successful than that of any other country in the world, I think it would be a mistake to change it now.