HC Deb 31 March 1981 vol 2 c147
22. Dr. McDonald

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the value of retirement pensions for a single person and a married couple, respectively, had they been increased in line with earnings in 1978 and 1979 and prices in 1980.

Mr. Rossi

In November 1978 the standard weekly rates of basic retirement pensions would have been £19.85 for a single person and £31.75 for a married couple. In November 1979 the rates would have been £23.65 and £37.80 and in November 1980, £27.30 and £43.65.

Dr. McDonald

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that through the Government's legislative changes in social security arrangements pensioners are beginning to realise more and more the extent to which they have been done out of their rightful increases by the Government? They are aware that their pensions are failing to keep pace with the rise in the cost of living. Many pensioners are quite desperate because they do not know how they will meet the increases in rents and in fuel and food prices throughout the coming year.

Mr. Rossi

The changes made in the Social Security Act 1980 broke the link between pensions and increases in earnings. We were pledged—and we have maintained our pledge—to keep pensions in line with rises in prices. We have the commitment that when Britain returns to prosperity the pensioners will share in that prosperity.