War Disability Pensions

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 Charles Morris Mr Charles Morris , Manchester Openshaw 12:00 am, 1st December 1970

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will now increase the current rates of war disability pensions.

Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman , Manchester Ardwick

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what plans he has for increasing war disability pensions.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Somerset North

The Goverment gave a firm undertaking in another place on 23rd July, 1970, to preserve the tradition of giving special treatment to war pensioners and their widows and to review the rates of war pensions and allowances at two-yearly intervals in the light of economic growth and the cost of living. The last increase was in November, 1969.

Photo of Mr Charles Morris Mr Charles Morris , Manchester Openshaw

Is the Minister aware that many disabled pensioners who have given so much in service to the nation have a right to expect that their pensions should have regard to the galloping inflation which is a feature of life under this Government?

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Somerset North

We recognise the special debt to those who were disabled in the service of their country but I cannot add to what my right hon. Friend has told the House earlier.

Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman , Manchester Ardwick

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that this is not good enough, that since this Government came to power, because of the fall in the value of money, the 100 per cent. disability pension for people in my constituency has fallen by 3s. 6d.? Since the Government have given notice to the people in high income brackets that they are to benefit from a bonanza because of the reduction of income tax, ought they not to tell these much more deserving people that they will have their increase at a stroke?

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Somerset North

The reduction of income tax is not for me and it is certainly irrelevant to this Question. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Those in most need have been helped by the increase in supplementary benefits which came into operation in the early part of November.

Photo of Mr Julian Ridsdale Mr Julian Ridsdale , Harwich

Is it not a fact that the fall in the value of money since June has been 5d. whereas during the six years of Labour rule the fall in the value of money was 6s. in the £?

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Somerset North

There is no doubt that the reason why we are suffering difficulty, particularly those on fixed incomes, is the total failure of the party opposite to control our economy.

Photo of Mrs Shirley Williams Mrs Shirley Williams , Hitchin

Does the hon. Gentleman not recognise that according to the figures given by his own Department the position of pensioners next November, unless something is done—and this includes war disability pensioners—will be worse than at any time since February, 1965, when my Government brought in the largest ever increases?

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Somerset North

My right hon. Friend has said that there will be a review next year which will take into account the economic changes and the rise in prices.