§ 50. Mr. Edelman
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has studied the resolution sent to the Prime Minister by the hon. Member for Coventry, North, condemning the Government for its indifference to the plight of the retirement pensioners, and calling on it to raise immediately the pension of a single person to £10 and of a married couple to £16; and what action he proposes to take.
§ Mr. Dean
Yes, Sir. These proposals, allowing for a similar increase in related benefits, would, however, cost about £2,000 million a year, which would mean that the rest of the population would have to accept a massive increase in contributions and taxes. If the cost was to be borne as it is at present, the weekly contribution of a man earning £48 or more a week would go up by £1.35 and that for a man earning £30 a week by 75p. The increase in pensions last month not only made good the loss in value since September, 1971, but gave an increase in real value of nearly four per cent.; and the special payments of £10 which retirement pensioners and others will receive next week is an earnest of the Government's declared intention that, if inflation can be curbed, pensioners will share in the increased prosperity of the nation when pensions are increased next autumn.