HC Deb 26 March 1959 vol 602 cc1496-7
18. Mrs. Castle

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in preparing his Budget, he will bear in mind the needs of widows drawing 10s. a week pension whose pension has not been adjusted to meet the steadily rising cost of living.

Mr. Simon

My right hon. Friend will bear in mind the needs of all sections of the community, including those mentioned by the hon. Member.

Mrs. Castle

Yes, but will the hon. and learned Gentleman ask his right hon. Friend, when he is preparing to give away millions of pounds in his electioneering Budget—some of it to people who are already wealthy—to give priority to these widows, who may not have many votes but who have an unanswerable case because they are, I believe, the only pensioners who have had no increase in their pension to meet recent successive increases in the cost of living?

Mr. Simon

I will draw the hon. Lady's observation to the attention of my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Wilson

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that his right hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (Mr. P. Thorneycroft), two Budgets and indeed two Chancellors ago, gave exactly the same answer as he has now given to my hon. Friend about bearing in mind the interests of all sections of the community, but that the result of bearing them in mind was to concentrate his concessions exclusively on the Surtax payers?

Mr. Simon

This is really a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance, but I think I am right in saying that successive Governments have felt that the 10s. widow, as she is called, is in a special class.