HC Deb 12 July 1965 vol 716 cc5-7
6. Sir J. Eden

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what was the number of National Insurance retirement pensioners on 15th October, 1964; and how many there are today.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (Mr. Norman Pentland)

About 6,118,000 and 6,235,000 respectively.

Sir J. Eden

Do not the figures show that the number of people retiring is steadily rising the whole time, and is it not time, therefore, that the Government showed some urgency in this matter and brought forward their review or their proposals as to how they will deal with the situation in the future? Do not they agree at this stage that, in the light of these rises, selectivity should be the basic principle for any further increases which might come along?

Mr. Pentland

No, I do not agree with the latter part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question. On the first part, we are pressing forward as speedily as possible with the major review, and it will be brought before the House as quickly as possible.

Mr. David Griffiths

Is my hon. Friend aware that we appreciate the difficulties in view of the increased numbers of pensioners, but may I ask whether he is also aware that the hon. Member for Bournemouth, West (Sir J. Eden) voted for an increase of pension for the old-age pensioners in the last Government?

Mr. Speaker

I do not suppose that the hon. Member knows that.

Mr. Dean

Further to the supplementary question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth, West (Sir J. Eden), can the hon. Gentleman say what he means by "as soon as possible"? Does he recollect that we were assured eight months ago that the minimum income guarantee would be introduced as a matter of urgency?

Mr. Pentland

"As soon as possible" means exactly what I said. As quickly as possible we shall bring forward our plans following the major review. But, as every hon. Member is fully aware, this is a complicated issue. However, I can assure the hon. Member that we are pressing speedily forward with it.

Mr. David Griffiths

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I understand that I made the remark that the hon. Member for Bournemouth, West voted for an increase for the old-age pensioners. I want it to be made perfectly clear that he objected and voted against it.

Mr. Speaker

No doubt the hon. Gentleman's correction of his own supplementary question will be recorded by the very words that he has uttered.