§ 5. Mr. Ridsdale
asked the Minister of Social Security by how much the purchasing power of the retirement pension has decreased to date since it was last raised.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Social Security (Mr. Norman Pentland)
Just over 2 per cent., as measured by the rise in the Index of Retail Prices; it is now worth about 18 per cent. more in real terms than in October, 1964.
§ Mr. Ridsdale
Does the Minister realise that the standard of living of pensioners is being affected by devaluation probably more than that of anyone else in the community? Cannot he ensure that the Government save a little of the hundreds of millions of pounds needed to pay for the increase in the number of civil servants since 1964?
§ Mr. Pentland
The hon. Gentleman should realise that we are now keeping the number of civil servants down in proportion. What he never seems to realise, and what keeps coming up again and again, is that, when we last increased the pension six months ago, we made it 20 per cent. higher than it was when we took office in 1964.