HC Deb 10 November 1955 vol 545 cc1995-6
32. Dr. King

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has completed his review of the hardships caused to retired civil servants, local government staff, and teachers, by the rise in the cost of living; and whether he will now introduce a Pensions (Increase) Bill to benefit those whose fixed pensions have steadily declined in value.

Mr. H. Brooke

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 27th October to the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas).

Dr. King

Is the Minister aware that most of the very old pensioners in these groups got nothing under the 1952 Act, and that their last increase was given by the 1947 Act, since when the cost of living has increased by 50 per cent.? In view of the sympathy expressed by both sides of the House—and by the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself last June—does the right hon. Gentleman not think that it is about time something was done for these deserving people?

Mr. Brooke

I should like to repeat my statement of 27th October, that the Government are undertaking a review of these matters and will announce their conclusions in due course.

Dame Irene Ward

As it is extremely difficult to get figures, will my right hon. Friend circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT what it would cost to bring up the pensions of all the pensioners covered by the Pensions (Increase) Acts to the figure of the pension now being paid as from 1st January, 1955? Further, if the figures are not available, how is my right hon. Friend able to consider a fresh Pensions (Increase) Bill? I think that there is something very odd about it all.

Mr. Brooke

If I remember correctly, the answer to my hon. Friend's question is between £20 and £25 million a year. If she wishes to have a more exact figure, perhaps she would put a Question down, but I think it would be more helpful if those of us who are working on these complicated subjects were given the opportunity of examining the figures further rather than have to work out additional figures for the House.

Dame Irene Ward

On a point of order. As the Minister of Education told one of my hon. Friends last week that the figures in relation to teachers were not available, how is it the Treasury were able to produce the figures?

Mr. Speaker

That is not a point of order.