17. Miss Ward
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that the increased cost of living has been substantially met in increased wages to the working population; and what steps he has taken to examine the position of persons living on small fixed incomes with a view to the alleviation of their situation.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
It is difficult to give protection to particular classes against an increase in the cost of living beyond the many cases enumerated in my Budget statement.
In view of the fact that the Treasury proved exceedingly obstinate in granting increased widows' pensions for the widows of ex-Service—Regular Service—people, and is still continuing obstinate in relation to increasing retired pay for Service officers and a whole variety of questions on which the Treasury have been approached, not to mention the one which is being put at this moment, will my right hon. Friend behave like a human being—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Butler
Unfortunately the latter part of the supplementary question of the hon. Lady was drowned in the applause with which her remarks were greeted. I can only say that in the national circumstances and the condition of our economy 8 the Treasury have been remarkably human. I accept full responsibility, as Chancellor, not only for the many human acts in which I have been able to indulge but for the fact that on occasion I have had to say "No," which I think is an important attribute of my office.