Oral Answers to Questions — Old Age and Widows' Pensions

– in the House of Commons on 9th December 1942.

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Photo of Mr John Tinker Mr John Tinker , Leigh

asked the Prime Minister whether he is in a position to state when legislation relating to old age and widowed pensioners mentioned in the Gracious Speech will be brought before Parliament?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour stated in the House on 29th July last that this question would have to be considered in relation to the proposals of Sir William Beveridge, and this is being done. I cannot at this stage name any date when it will be possible to bring proposals before the House.

Photo of Mr John Tinker Mr John Tinker , Leigh

We understood from that reply that legislation would be brought forward immediately after the Beveridge Report. Can the right hon. Gentleman give us an assurance that it will be brought forward, because consideration of the Beveridge Report may take many months?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I have looked up that speech myself in order to refresh my memory, and if my hon. Friend will look at the quotation, he will see that what was suggested was that the two matters would be dealt with together. When there is a discussion early in the New Year on the Beveridge Report these matters can be discussed at the same time.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Does the right hon. Gentleman know that in the last Session a statement was made by the Minister of Labour; and a promise was given, that these two matters relating to pensions would be considered, irrespective of the Beveridge Report. Are we to understand that the Government intend to give consideration to these two minor matters before the Beveridge Report, which is very comprehensive, is dealt with?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I have looked up that speech, and if my hon. Friend will do the same, he will find that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour did closely associate the two subjects. The answer to the last part of my hon. Friend's Supplementary Question is "Yes."

Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Wakefield

I have a distinct recollection that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour promised legislation this Session.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

That is perfectly correct. I do not think that what I have said is inconsistent with that.

Photo of Mr John Tinker Mr John Tinker , Leigh

I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment at the first opportunity.