§ 14. Mr. Skinner
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will agree to meet representatives of the retirement pensioners' organisations.
§ Mr. Skinner
Is the Minister aware that just down the road at Central Hall there is a rally of all those pensioners' organisations at which several thousand pensioners are present and that there are scores of Labour Members of Parliament to support them in their plea for £10 and £16 pensions? Is he further aware that in the last four years the real value of the pension has gone up by only 15p—enough to buy a loaf of bread—whereas the Prime Minister has had an increase during the 1075 last year of £6 a week as a result of tax reliefs given in the Budget?
§ Mr. Dean
The hon. Gentleman really must know that the real improvement in the pension during the last three-and-a-half years under the present Government has been at the rate of over 3 per cent. per annum. It was a good deal less under his Government. One of the worries which pensioners have at the moment is whether they will have enough coal and electricity to keep themselves warm and to cook a hot dinner. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman can help us on that.
§ Mrs. Kellett-Bowman
Will my hon. Friend take note of the fact that the pensioners in my constituency bitterly resent being used a a political football? They have had a special meeting and have turned down flat the invitation extended to them to accept a paid journey to the rally.
§ Mrs. Renée Short
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that since his Government came to office food prices alone have risen by 45 per cent.? He said recently in answer to a question that pensioners were spending more on meat, butter, eggs and so on. Does he know how much they are, in fact, eating? Has he carried out any research into how much meat pensioners eat today?