HC Deb 11 June 1956 vol 554 cc7-8
9. Mr. Lewis

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will introduce the necessary legislation to enable old-age pensions, war-disabled pensions and other statutory allowances falling within the responsibility of his Department to rise and fall in accordance with the cost of living.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

No, Sir. This has never been regarded as practicable.

Mr. Lewis

Why can the Minister not work this out and make it practicable? Is it because the Government and the Tory Party are bereft of any wise and sensible suggestion? Is he not aware that the Opposition have it in their programme and policy, and that as Ton-bridge has proved that we shall shortly be upon those benches opposite, we shall implement and put into operation that which the Government cannot do?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I must not speculate about what may be in or remain in the Opposition's programme, but I am bound to remind the hon. Gentleman that, when his right hon. Friends were responsible, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), in moving the Second Reading of the National Insurance Bill, said this: We are definitely of the view that it is undesirable, as well as impracticable, to have automatic adjustment." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th February. 1946; Vol. 418, c., 1741.1] I have nothing to add to that.

Mr. Callaghan

While we appreciate these constant references to 1947 and 1951, is the Minister aware that as long as the Government go on developing their policy by reference to something which happened nearly 10 years ago, so long will they go on getting results like Tonbridge?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Let me say at once that I fully appreciate the touchiness which the hon. Gentleman feels at any reference to those years.