HC Deb 01 November 1954 vol 532 cc23-4
27. Mr. P. Wells

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance how many persons in receipt of retirement pensions have died during the six months ended 30th September, or nearest convenient date.

Mr. Peake

About 140,000 in the six months ending 30th June, 1954.

Mr. Wells

Without being partisan, may I ask whether, in view of these figures, the Minister will not anticipate the reports now pending and give this increase before Christmas?

Mr. Peake

I am afraid that the numbers of deaths every half-year are an inevitable fact from which we cannot escape.

Mr. F. M. Bennett

Is there any difference between the figures given and the usual annual rate for many preceding years? If not, is not the imputation behind this Question quite disgraceful?

Mr. Peake

I did not myself read any imputation behind it. I have no reason to suppose that there is any change in the mortality rates in the last three or four years which is of any significance.

Mr. Mellish

On a point of order. Has not the hon. Member for Reading, North (Mr. F. M. Bennett) imputed dishonourable motives to my hon. Friend the Member for Faversham (Mr. P. Wells)? I think this is an important matter. A question of this character is put down to discover how many people who might have been receiving old-age pensions at the increased rate would not get them because of the death rate. This is not a dishonourable Question to ask. Surely the hon. Member for Reading, North should be asked to withdraw what he said.

Mr. Speaker

I am bound to say that I could not myself understand what the implication was.

Hon. Members


Mr. Ross

We never expected the hon. Member to withdraw.