§ 2.35 p.m.
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government what priority they now give to their declared intention to introduce a "half-pay on retirement" scheme.]
§ LORD BOWLES
My Lords, work on this scheme is proceeding as part of the Government's long-term reconstruction of social security, but priority has been given to the needs of existing beneficiaries and to the development of a scheme of earnings-related short-term benefits.
My Lords, bearing in mind the amount of work known to have been done in this subject by the Labour Party, and remembering their confident statements when in Opposition, their Election Manifesto, and their many Election addresses, including that of the Prime Minister, saying that there would be no delay, does this "slow-time" mean that they are running into difficulties which they had not previously foreseen?
§ LORD BOWLES
No, it does not—it is no good noble Lords saying "Hear, hear". The Labour Party, in its Election Manifesto of 1964, spoke of the drastic reforms which were needed in our major social services to fit them for the 1960s and 1970s, and said that 1040 they would be costly in money, manpower and resources. It went on:This will not be achieved all at once: but, as economic expansion increases our national wealth, we shall see to it that the needs of the community are increasingly met.
§ LORD ERROLL OF HALE
My Lords, is not the main answer further confirmation of the fact that the Prime Minister has no time for home problems?