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Disabled Men (Basic Pension)

Volume 440: debated on Tuesday 22 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Pensions on what date he last consulted his Central Advisory Committee about the desirability of an increase in the present basic pension of 45s. a week to disabled men; and with what result.

The increase of the basic pension and the other improvements in the Royal Warrant made within the last 18 months have met with general satisfaction, and, in the view of His Majesty's Government, no circumstances have arisen in the interim to make a further revision necessary.

Does that answer mean that the attention of the Advisory Committee has not, within the last 18 months, been called to whether or not it is necessary to make any increase, and in particular has the Minister asked them whether they consider that, if 40s. was considered the right amount in 1918, 45s. is sufficient today, taking account of the increased cost of living? Will he put that question to them?

In answer to the first part of the question, the increases were made in the last 18 months, and it was not considered necessary to consult the Advisory Committee, immediately after the increases were made, as to whether further increases were necessary. No further discussions have taken place with the Committee in regard to the cost of living, and I question whether it would be desirable, in the interests of the pensioners themselves, that their pension rates should be strictly allied to the variations in the cost of living in either direction.

As I have said, the Government do not consider that any circumstances have arisen in the last 18 months to justify revision at this stage. With regard to the cost of living, the increase that was made 18 months ago was not in connection with the cost of living, or following upon discussions with or representations from the Advisory Committee, but was done on the initiative of the Government, irrespective of the cost of living.

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Motion for the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.