§ 8. Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he is aware that the present high cost of living is inflicting hardship on old-age pensioners and other persons with small fixed incomes; and if he will intimate his future plans for making the incomes of such persons approximate to the present cost of living.
§ The Minister of Pensions and National Insurance (Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter)
Questions relating to the general position of persons on small fixed incomes are not for me. So far as National Insurance retirement pensioners are concerned, the real value of their pensions is almost exactly the same as it was in 1946. So far as the relief of hardship is concerned, the hon. and learned Member is no doubt aware that increased scales of National Assistance came into force on 23rd January.
§ Mr. Hughes
As the Minister says that part of the Question is not for him, will he consult with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation and other relevant Ministers with a view to devising means whereby the burden on those least able to bear it may be lightened, and does he realise that failure to do that indicates the bankruptcy of this Government?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
I think that if the hon. and learned Gentleman will study what was said by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 24th January, he will be suitably impressed.