HC Deb 08 April 1968 vol 762 cc866-7
14. Mr. Higgins

asked the Minister of Social Security what estimates she has made of the effect of the Government's measures during the last year on the standard of living of retirement non-pensioners.

Mr. Loughlin

The effect has been to safeguard the position of those whose resources are insufficient for their requirements. In 1967 the Index of Retail Prices rose by 2½ per cent. Supplementary pensions were increased by about 6 per cent. last autumn.

Mr. Higgins

Does the Minister accept that "retirement" is a relative term? Is it not a fact that these old-age non-pensioners above supplementary benefit level have had their standard of living severely curtailed in the last year and are likely to suffer a further 5 per cent. reduction in their standard of living next year?

Mr. Loughlin

I appreciate that the hon. Member is concerned about non-pensioners, a subject which we debated recently. I am as concerned about them as he is. He will appreciate that about 70,000 of them are in receipt of supplementary pensions. We should be delighted to receive applications from all those likely to benefit.