§ 9. Mr. Watts
asked the Minister of Transport if he will introduce legislation to increase the superannuation allowances of all retired members of the clerical and supervisory staff of British Railways by the same method as that operated for civil servants under the Pensions (Increase) Acts.
§ Mr. Hay
No, Sir. The British Transport Commission already has powers to increase pensions of superannuitants of British Railways.
§ Mr. Watts
Will my hon. Friend at least consider the case of people who retired before 1948 and were exempted from contributing to the National Insurance Fund, and therefore do not receive National Insurance? Will he also consider the case of very aged people who retired before 1946 and whose £70 a year war bonus was not taken into account in assessing their income? Does my hon. Friend consider that the income of people in Class 3 under the super-annuitants' pension arrangements, whereby a retired person receives £178 a year and no National Assistance, which is less than £247 a year on National Assistance, is enough?
§ Mr. Hay
My hon. Friend asked if my right hon. Friend would introduce legislation to increase the superannuation allowances of these grades. I have answered the Question on the Order Paper by saying that the Commission already has the power, if it wishes, to increase the pensions. There have been increases on a number of occasions in the past. The possibility of further supplementation is under discussion with the B.T.C. at the moment.
§ Mr. H. Hynd
Does the Parliamentary Secretary agree that there is a very strong moral claim? Whatever the financial difficulties of implementing it, will he do his best to help the British Transport Commission to do something for these men?
§ Mr. Hay
Yes, we have never been in any doubt as to the moral claim of many of these pensioners. It has been largely a question of finance. As the House knows, the finances of the British Transport Commission have recently been widely reviewed and we are to debate these matters next Monday. I hope that hon. Members will be prepared to leave the matter there far this afternoon.