asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in view of the effect of continuous inflation on persons with fixed incomes, she will introduce quarterly reviews of retirement pensions; and if she will make a statement.
As my hon. Friend will be aware, we have undertaken that we will review pensions as frequently as is necessary and practicable in present circumstances.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services by what percentage purchasing power of the retirement pension has declined since July 1974 at the latest date for which figures are available.
On the basis of the General Index of Retail Prices the retirement pension rates introduced in July 1974 had lost 10 per cent. of their real value by February 1975. They are still, however, worth more, in real terms, seven months after being introduced than were their equivalents at the time of the previous Government's uprating in October 1973. The rates are being increased again next month so that, in money terms, pensions will have risen by about 50 per cent. in nine months.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will consider introducing retirement pensions linked to average earnings for existing pensioners.
The National Insurance Act 1974 already provides that retirement pensions and other long-term benefits will be increased in line with the movement in the general level of earnings unless the movement in the general level of prices would be more beneficial to pensioners.