HC Deb 17 June 1963 vol 679 c3
3. Mr. A. Lewis

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he is aware that, before the receipt of the recently announced increase in retirement pensions, pensioners are having to pay more for bread, butter, sugar and rates, and that the official cost of living figure has again risen to a new high level; and whether he will therefore take steps to increase retirement pensions.

Mrs. Thatcher

The Retail Prices Index is only about one and a half points higher now than when the pension increases were announced. In general, prices have risen by 8 per cent, since the previous benefit increases. This would have been met by an extra 4s. 6d. on the single rate compared with last month's actual increase of 10s.

Mr. Lewis

Does not the hon. Lady realise that, on her own statement, prices and the cost of living had risen before the old-age pensioners received their increase, and that the previous pensions increase she mentioned did not compensate for the previous price increases? Is she not aware that this is a continuing problem, because every time the pensioners receive an increase the cost of living has already gone up? Will not the hon. Lady tie pensions to the cost-of-living-index figure?

Mrs. Thatcher

If I were to accept the hon. Member's suggestion, it would mean that, taking it from 1946, the present single rate of pension would be 48s. 8d. instead of the 67s. 6d. that it is, and that the present married rate would be 78s. 8d. instead of the £5 9s. that it is.