§ 19. Mr. Pitman
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what relative priority Her Majesty's Government have assigned for the future as between the principle of giving an improved pension to servants of Her Majesty, having regard to the decline in purchasing power of the £ sterling during their period of service, and of giving any improvement to pensioners under the National Insurance Scheme.
§ Mr. Pitman
Is my right hon. Friend aware that servants of Her Majesty were paid rather less than the ordinary rates ruling at the time by reason of the promise that a generous pension was coming, so that not only have they suffered by the pension being diminished by inflation, but they have seen the outside community now granted comparably high pension rates? Is that not doubly unfair to ex-Service pensioners?
As my hon. Friend knows, the principle behind the various pension increases has been that increases can be given only in exceptional circumstances 203 where there is real hardship. The last increase about two and a quarter years ago was on a fairly generous scale.