Pensioners (Supplementary Benefits)

Oral Answers to Questions — Social Services – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st December 1970.

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Photo of Mr Jim Sillars Mr Jim Sillars , South Ayrshire 12:00 am, 1st December 1970

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what further representations he has now received from pensioners' organisation about the present level of supplementary benefits.

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

I have recently met two deputations. Both discussed with me, among other things, the present level of supplementary pensions.

Photo of Mr Jim Sillars Mr Jim Sillars , South Ayrshire

The right hon. Gentleman is too modest. Is he aware that the Under-Secretary of State, his hon. Friend the Member for Somerset, North (Mr. Dean), obviously anticipating a Tory victory, forecast before the General Election that galloping price inflation would render the November supplementary benefit increases inadequate, and does he take this into consideration at the present stage?

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

It is sadly true that the inflation which we inherited is hurting, above all, the poorest and those on fixed incomes. It is some relief that there has very recently been an increase in supplementary benefits.

Photo of Mr Brian O'Malley Mr Brian O'Malley , Rotherham

Since it is true, also, that the Government are not only doing nothing to control inflation but are positively encouraging it, does not the right hon. Gentleman think that he ought to go to the Treasury and urge for pensioners on supplementary benefit higher priority than that which is being accorded to the very wealthy, who are having the best treatment under the tax changes announced for next April?

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

That is quite another question.