HC Deb 19 February 1951 vol 484 cc880-1
45. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Prime Minister if, in view of the rising cost of living, he will make a statement announcing appropriate increases in the Civil List pensions to artists, men of letters and others now on the verge of destitution.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

The amount available for new pensions or increases in existing pensions was increased by Parliament in 1937 from £1,200 to £2,500 a year. There have been 156 increases in pensions during the last five years, and I intend to continue this policy.

Mr. Hughes

Does not the Prime Minister realise that many distinguished men of letters and their relatives and widows are living on very niggardly sums? Will he not make some inquiries into the matter?

The Prime Minister

There have been increases. The average pension has been doubled since 1937. Every case is very carefully scrutinised. If my hon. Friend has any particular case in mind which he would like to bring to my notice, perhaps he will let me know.

Mr. R. A. Butler

In view of the statement of the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes), is the Prime Minister satisfied that a further review of this List not necessary, in view of the greatly increased rise in the cost of living?

The Prime Minister

The cases are reviewed annually. As a matter of fact I am just reviewing them now, and if it should be thought necessary I should be prepared to come to the House. There has been a steady increase in the amounts. I agree that in the past some of them were ludicrously small, but they are now being brought up to reasonable sums.