Old-Age Pensioners and Widows

Oral Answers to Questions — Pensions and National Insurance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th April 1959.

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Photo of Mr Hector Hughes Mr Hector Hughes , Aberdeen North 12:00 am, 13th April 1959

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he is aware that, owing to the present high cost of living, many old-age pensioners and widows are in want: and if he will state his plans for increasing the pensions of both these classes of persons.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

I would invite the attention of the hon. and learned Member to the fact that the purchasing power of National Insurance benefits. including those to which he refers, is higher than at any time prior to last year's increase, and to the stability of prices since then.

Photo of Mr Hector Hughes Mr Hector Hughes , Aberdeen North

In view of the shocking conflict of interest which exists between the Minister of Pensions as such and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as shown by the recent Budget, will the right hon. Gentleman consult the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer with a view to alleviating in the Finance Bill the situation of the persons who are mentioned in the Question?

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

The hon. and learned Member's Question being based on a false hypothesis leads him inescapably to a false conclusion.

Photo of Miss Peggy Herbison Miss Peggy Herbison , Lanarkshire North

Are the Minister and the Government quite content always to use this answer by way of a comparison between now and that time just immediately after the war? Have the Government no intention of allowing old people, in particular, to benefit from any rise in the country's standard of living?

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

The hon. Lady has referred to a comparison with the period immediately after the war. If she studies my Answer, she will find that it covers not only that period but the period during which right hon. Gentlemen opposite increased some benefits to a level which they thought at the time appropriate. The comparison also covers that.