HC Deb 16 April 1962 vol 658 cc17-8
21. Mrs. Cullen

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what steps he proposes to take to insulate those on National Insurance benefits from the increased costs consequent on the Budget proposals.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The effect on retail prices of these proposals is not likely to be substantial, and the people to whom the hon. Lady refers are among the main beneficiaries of my right hon. and learned Friend's determination to check inflation.

Mrs. Cullen

Does not the Minister think that there is only one solution to this problem, namely, an increase in the National Assistance scales?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The hon. Lady has asked me a Question about the effects of my right hon. and learned Friend's proposals, and I have answered it.

Mr. Houghton

Can the right hon. Gentleman give a forward promise to the old-age pensioners? Will it be before or after Schedule A tax is abolished?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Any promise made from these benches would carry far more weight with pensioners—

Mr. Manuel


Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

—than the 10s unsuccessful bribe which the hon. Gentleman offered at the last election.

Mr. Ross

Despite that brave speech, the right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that the old-age pensioners are faced with increased costs of clothing, footwear and household goods, as well as their bag of sweets. In fairness the Chancellor should face this question and give the old-age pensioners an increase in their pensions.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The hon. Gentleman must face the fact that the real value of the pension is higher today than it was at any time before April, 1961. The hon. Gentleman may not like that fact, but it remains a fact.