HC Deb 25 February 1971 vol 812 cc830-1
11. Mr. Douglas

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what reports he has received from advisory services on the operation of a separate index of retail prices for retirement pensioners.

Mr. David Howell

The Department publishes regularly in the Gazette quarterly indices for one-person and two-person pensioner households on the recommendation of the Cost of Living Advisory Committee, but the advisory committee has not reported on the operation of these indices.

Mr. Douglas

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that, according to the latest statistics, there has been a 40 per cent. increase in the cost of living of old-age pensioners from 1962, and the fact that the index as currently constructed excludes housing, which is a rising element in costs for old-age pensioners? Would he consult his advisory committee to get this index adjusted to reflect current increases in the cost of living to this very important section of the community?

Mr. Howell

Of course, I accept that the cost of living has been a serious matter for retirement pensioners. In regard to the cost of living index, the fact is that the general index, including housing, is not very different from the index for the one- or two-pensioner household. I will bear the hon. Gentleman's point in mind.

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