HC Deb 03 August 1965 vol 717 cc1249-51
5. Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent the purchasing power of public service pensions has declined since September, 1964.

Mr. MacDermot

By about 4½ per cent.

Mr. Irvine

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that on 11th September, 1964, the Prime Minister gave a pledge that the Service pensioners and public service pensioners would not have the full purchasing power of their pensions eroded as a result of Government action? Is the further aware that that pledge had a great effect on a great many pensioners when they cast their votes in the last election? Is it not time that the hon. and learned Gentleman gave an indication when he will do something to redeem that pledge?

Mr. MacDermot

I must invite the hon. Gentleman to await the Queen's Speech at the opening of the next Session of Parliament.

Mr. Ridsdale

Is the Financial Secretary aware that public service pensioners would feel a lot more patient in waiting for the Government to do something if the Government showed a little more fairness in dealing with the increase in wages?

Mr. MacDermot

I would point out that pensioners had to wait for a longer period between the last two pensions (Increase) Acts of the previous Government.

Mr. Evelyn King

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that an abnormally high proportion of the public service pensioners live in Weymouth and along the south coast of England? Is he further aware that, as the Allen Report showed, these are the areas where rates are also abnormally high? If he cannot fulfil one pledge, will he fulfil the other?

13. Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will now make a statement about public service pensioners.

24. Mr. Hugh Jenkins

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what date he expects the review of public service pensions to be completed.

Mr. MacDermot

While I cannot anticipate the contents of the Queen's Speech today, the Government are giving active and sympathetic consideration to these problems.

Mr. Irvine

Is not the Financial Secretary aware that there is a Motion on the Order Paper, which has more signatures to it than any other Motion, which urges immediate action on this matter? Is the hon. and learned Gentleman satisfied to allow us to go away for the Recess without making a further and better statement?

Mr. MacDermot

As I have already indicated, I do not propose to make any further statement in anticipation of the Queen's Speech.

Mr. Ennals

While recognising the inadequacy of the provision made by the previous Government, may I ask my hon. and learned Friend to recognise that there is genuine hardship among many of these public service pensioners? Will he give serious consideration in the review to accepting the principle of parity of entitlement of these people even though it is recognised that it cannot be given full application immediately?

Mr. MacDermot

We certainly are taking into consideration sympathetically all aspects of this problem in the review which has been referred to in many Questions of this kind. As my hon. Friend will know, we made it clear before the election that there could be no question of parity being implemented in full at once. It would be quite impossible for financial considerations in the early stages of this Government.

Mr. Goodhew

Is the Financial Secretary aware that having said that he must not anticipate the Queen's Speech, he is talking nonsense, because we have it on the authority of his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science that there is no need to take any notice of what is in the Queen's Speech and that the fact that something is included in the Queen's Speech does not necessarily mean that it will be done during the Session?

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