§ 6 and 7. Mr. Lewis
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance (1) what further plans he has for improving the financial position of old-age pensioners, war disabled and other pensioners;
(2) in view of the continued rise in the cost of living and further increases in rents, what action he proposes to take to safeguard the position of those in receipt of State pensions.
§ 21. Mr. Willis
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what proposals he has for increasing the purchasing power of the basic retirement pension above its 1946 level.
§ Mr. Lewis
When the deputation waits upon the Minister, and in the interim period, will he give consideration to the Chancellor's statement that the cost of food alone rose twice as fast last year as in the previous year, as it is on food, in the main, that the old-age pensioners spend their limited incomes? Will the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, give real consideration, between now and the time of receiving the deputation, to increasing these pensions?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
I shall, of course, consider anything that is said either by the Chancellor or by the hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Willis
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that several times recently he has told us that the purchasing power of the pensioners is the same as it was in 1946? Does he not think that pensioners ought to share in any improvements in the standard of living that have taken place since then? What is the Government's policy for them?
§ 15. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what further consideration he has given to increasing the basic rate of war disability pensions.
§ Lieut-Colonel Lipton
Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that when the last increase was made the holder of a disability pension got 5s. a week or less as a result of that increase? Will he also bear in mind that his predecessor gave a promise, when he received a deputation on the subject on 30th November last, that he would bring its representations to the notice of his colleagues in the Government? Is the right hon. Gentleman on speaking terms with his colleagues on this subject?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
The reply to the first part of the hon. and gallant Gentleman's supplementary question, is that of course he will appreciate that that increase, which came into effect in February, 1955, was the largest increase in the basic rate ever made. As regards the second part of the hon. and gallant Gentleman's supplementary question, I can assure him that in this Government that which he rightly fears in consequence of his experience with the last one is not the situation.