HC Deb 12 July 1962 vol 662 cc1495-7
18. Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

asked the Minister of Education if he will now make a statement about the pensions of retired teachers, particularly the mast elderly, which have fallen in value owing to the increased cost of living since they were earned.

Sir D. Eccles

Teachers' pensions are increased under Pensions (Increase) Acts, which apply to many kinds of public servants, including teachers, and are the responsibility of my right hon. and learned Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who will shortly be making a statement.

Mr. Mallalieu

Is it not a fact that the older the retired teacher is the greater is the discrepancy between the real value of his pension and its real value when it was given? Is not the Minister aware that teachers today regard it as a matter of conscience to see that some sort of justice is brought about for the older retired people, and could not the pensions be now joined, at least, to the Burnham Scale increases when they take place?

Sir D. Eccles

That opens a very large question, but the pensions of public servants must all be treated on the same level.

Sir G. Nicholson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, in common with, I am sure, all other Members of Parliament, some of the most pathetic letters I get are from these retired teachers, and that it weighs heavily on our individual and collective consciences that these people should be suffering, after scores of years of not very well paid service of a most disinterested nature? Will he bear that in mind when talking with his right hon. and learned Friend?

Sir D. Eccles

I have the fullest sympathy with what my hon. Friend has said, and I ask him to await the statement which my right hon. and learned Friend will very shortly make.

Mr. Wade

Would not the Minister agree that there are many very serious anomalies? Will he adopt the proposal made in a number of quarters—including the Private Member's Bill submitted by me—namely, that a periodic review should be undertaken and the results published so that we may see the very grave differences and anomalies arising out of the changes in the value of money?

Sir D. Eccles

That is a question for my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because it affects the public service as a whole.

Mr. Manuel

Would not the Minister of Education agree that Members on all sides of the House are concerned not so much that this matter should be dealt with on the same level, but to get a new level, and especially to get justice for those in the older age groups and to remove them from the obligation of approaching their Members of Parliament in order to get sufficient National Assistance to enable them to live?

Sir D. Eccles

This is a very human problem, but I must say to the hon. Gentleman that it affects a very great number of people, and it is the responsibility of the Treasury.