HC Deb 18 April 1951 vol 486 cc1820-1
47. Commander Noble

asked the Minister of Defence whether he is aware of the hardship suffered by Service widows, especially those getting on in years, under the present high cost of living; and whether he has any scheme to help these people.

Mr. Shinwell

Service widows are in the same position as regards pensions as the dependants of Crown servants generally for whom additional provision was made by the Pensions (Increase) Act of 1947.

Commander Noble

In view of the statement made by the Minister of Pensions yesterday about the immediate problem does not the Minister think that he might be able to help some of the more desperate cases? With regard to the long-term problem, is he expecting to make a statement on pensions like he did on pay a few months ago?

Mr. Shinwell

As regards the latter part of the supplementary question, there is a Question on the Order Paper. As regards the first part, this is not a matter which comes within my responsibility. It has to be considered in the context of the Pensions (Increase) Act.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Will not further hardship be imposed on these widows by the proposed charge for dentures and spectacles, and will my right hon. Friend make that representation to the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

Mr. Shinwell

That remains to be seen.

Mr. Osborne

Is not the Minister aware that since the last adjustment in 1947 the cost of living has increased by about 25 per cent., and ought not the pension to be looked at again because of that fact?

Mr. Shinwell

The hon. Member has a remarkable grasp of the obvious.

48. Captain Soames

asked the Minister of Defence if he is now in a position to make a statement in regard to an upward revision of Service pensions to bring them into line with recent increases in pay.

Mr. Shinwell

I hope to make an announcement on this subject at an early date.