HC Deb 04 February 1964 vol 688 cc954-5
9. Mr. John Hall

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what replies he has given to the proposals he has received from the Public Service Pensioners Council for the adjustment of pensions at 1st January, 1964.

Mr. Maudling

My right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary saw a deputation from the Council on 26th November. He said that he saw no grounds for a further increase in public service pensions so soon after the considerable increases in the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1962.

Mr. Hall

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that when public service pensions were fixed it was intended to entitle the pensioners to a certain standard of living on retirement? Would he not also agree that pensioners are not able to exercise the same pressures as other sections of the community to safeguard themselves against changes in the value of money? Therefore, should there not be some formula which would keep the purchasing power of the pension in real terms without the necessity each time to introduce pensions increase legislation which hon. Members on both sides of the House believe to be an outdated procedure?

Mr. Maudling

I doubt whether an automatic formula of that kind would be for the benefit of the pensioners in the long run. Successive pensions increase Measures have provided for the pensioners concerned in a very reasonable way.

Mr. Houghton

Does the right hon. Gentleman remember that his right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary gave an assurance to the House, in response to considerable pressure from both sides when the Pensions (Increase) Bill was going through the House last year, that he would try to find a better way of adjusting public service pensions than having sporadic ad hoc pensions increase legislation? Has he anything to say about that?

Mr. Maudling

What my right hon. Friend discussed with the deputation was the subject of adjustments in the near future. The point I was making was that he said in reply that the latest increases were so recent that a further immediate increase was not in his view justified.

Dame Irene Ward

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that one of the difficulties of getting Service widows' pensions adjusted is that so many public service pensioners are on a standard of pension which is derisory and that it is not so much new pensions increase legislation that is required as that the older pensioners should be brought up to a standard at which percentage increases would make sense?

Mr. Maudling

That seems to raise the very broad question of parity and goes rather beyond the original Question.