HC Deb 09 November 1960 vol 629 cc1031-2
12. Mr. Watts

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will give a general direction to the British Transport Commission to increase all superannuation pensions to railway employees, so as to bring up the value of the pre-war pensions to counteract later inflation.

Mr. Marples

No, Sir.

Mr. Watts

Does my right hon. Friend think that that Answer is fair in view of the great extravagance that takes place on luncheons all over the place by the Transport Commission? Will he do nothing about pensions and yet allow these great extravagances all over the country?

Mr. Marples

I do not think that the two matters are related.

Mr. Popplewell

Will the right hon. Gentleman have another look at this matter? Is he not aware that railway superannuitants are existing on the old pre-war scale and that there is very deep feeling among them about it? Will the right hon. Gentleman press his right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to agree to some form of subsidy in the way suggested in the Guillebaud Report so that justice might be done to these individuals?

Mr. Marples

It is not accurate to say that nothing has been done since before the war. There were three supplements, although they were quite modest, given by the B.T.C. in 1953, 1955 and 1956.

Mr. Benn

As the right hon. Gentleman has, to the best of my knowledge, referred this matter to the Stedeford Committee, will he give us an assurance that when he produces his White Paper there will be a reference in it to this matter so that the House may know what view the Government take of this very serious problem for superannuitants?

Mr. Marples

I do not think that any undertaking was given. My right hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward) wrote a letter which was sent on to the Stedeford Committee.

Mr. Stodart

Is it not true that the cost of providing for this would be about £1 million? In view of the enormously increased amount in wages awarded by the Guillebaud Committee, is not there room for a sense of balance between the Ministry and the Treasury?

Mr. Marples

The actual cost would depend upon the supplement granted, and therefore it might vary considerably.

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