asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many retired civil servants are now in receipt of pension which was fixed in relation to the cost of living as at December, 1945, or before; and what would be the cost of granting them a supplementary pension commensurate with the increased cost of living since that date.
The pensions of civil servants are based on salary at retirement and are not related to the cost of living. The number of current pensioners who retired before the end of 1945 and the cost of their pensions could not be ascertained without a disproportionate amount of labour.
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that since these pensions were fixed his Government have failed to control the cost of living and, owing to the rapid increase in the cost of living, these unfortunate people are suffering severely from having had their pensions fixed upon contributions made many years ago? Does he realise that they are suffering great hardship and that their case merits attention?
I could not agree that grave hardship is being suffered. It is true, of course, that the cost of living has gone up. Sometimes it goes up and sometimes it goes down. [HON. MEMBERS: "When does it go down?"] During the slump, when the Tory Party were in power. But the pensions are not fixed in accordance with the cost of living.