HC Deb 26 November 1959 vol 614 cc556-7
45. Mr. Dodds

asked the Prime Minister, in view of the widespread feeling that much more should be done as soon as possible to improve the present unsatisfactory situation now being endured by many old people, if he will state the action he proposes to take to deal with pensions, an increase in domiciliary services, and the urgent need for additional accommodation suitable for elderly people.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

The hon. Member can be sure that as the Government's programme unfolds he will find that we shall fully live up to our fine record of achievement in the service of our older fellow countrymen.

Mr. Dodds

That is not good enough. Does not the Prime Minister agree that the only proposal which has been made since the General Election has affected only 80,000 people, and that was the proposal to raise the earnings limit? Is he not aware that the ages of many of these people are so great that Christmas, 1960, will be too late? In view of that, is it possible that a worth-while announcement will be made before this Christmas so that the hearts of the elderly may be gladdened in a few weeks' time?

The Prime Minister

If I remember aright, this question was widely discussed during recent weeks, in the course of the autumn, and the conclusions reached by the electors were abundantly clear.

Hon. Members


Mr. H. Wilson

Does this mean that the Prime Minister considers that the old-age pensioners should continue to pay the price of the Government's success in misrepresenting the economic position of this country?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I do not think that is a very good supplementary question. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] It will not go here, but it might do at Blackpool.

Mr. S. Silverman

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the people for whose benefit the Question was asked are, indeed, elderly people and that, while the Government's policy is unfolding, to quote his original Answer, they are dying?

The Prime Minister

I realise that during the whole of the last eight years—I believe that it will be the same in future years—the Government's record has been a fine one against the miserable record of the Labour Government.

Mr. Gaitskell

Does the Prime Minister realise that, while his cheap jibe to my right hon. Friend goes down well enough with his own supporters, it well go down very badly indeed among the old people?

The Prime Minister

I also realise that the old people are better off now than they have ever been under any Administration, and we shall continue in this Parliament to live up to the record of the last Parliament?

Mr. Dodds