HC Deb 23 October 1956 vol 558 cc465-7

The following Question stood upon the Order Paper :


To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, before his next Budget, he will hold a comprehensive review as to what can be done to help the small fixed income groups to meet the high cost of living.

Dame Irene Ward

On a point of order. May I not have an answer to my Question?

Mr. Speaker

I am sorry, I am afraid I omitted to call the hon. Lady. I believe that the right hon. Gentleman has left the House. I will see if I can get an answer.

Mr. H. Macmillan

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I will answer this Question—I understand, rather out of its order. As I have indicated on several occasions, I am very conscious of the difficulties facing many such people and we have introduced a number of specific measures to help them. I will, of course, continue to study this problem, and am very ready to consider any concrete proposals which the hon. Lady may make.

Dame Irene Ward

In view of the fact that my right hon. Friend is not now in purdah for the Budget and it is possible to put down a Question early, may I ask whether, after the statements made by the Government leaders at Llandudno, I may expect a comprehensive review? I am not asking for decisions but am asking my right hon. Friend to give an assurance that there will be a comprehensive review. He has already had dozens of suggestions from me, and I will give him dozens more if he would like them.

Mr. Macmillan

Yes, of course, we shall review this, together with other questions. It is just because at the moment neither I nor the hon. Lady are in purdah that I look forward to having further discussions.

Dr. King

Is the Chancellor aware that some people who retired during the war or thereabouts on a pension which seemed to guarantee them honourable security in old age now find that pension about one-third of its value, and that these are the real victims of the rise in the cost of living? Will the right hon. Gentleman not do something about this special case?

Mr. Macmillan

As I say, a good deal has been done, and, of course, it would be gratifying if we could do more : that must depend partly on the proposals which I shall make in next year's Budget.