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State Pension: Cost of Living

Volume 718: debated on Monday 11 July 2022

11. What assessment she has made of the adequacy of the state pension in meeting the rising cost of living. (900981)

18. What assessment she has made of the adequacy of the state pension in meeting the rising cost of living. (900988)

The Government have announced a £37 billion package of support to help people with the cost of living. The full basic state pension is now £2,300 a year higher than in 2010 and is supported by many other measures.

It is good to see the Minister back; there is nothing like organised labour to effect progress.

In reality the state pension has not managed to keep up with the multiple crises we face: we have the Ukraine crisis pushing up food and fuel prices on top of the existing cost of living crisis. Yet the Ministerial and other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991 dictates that last week’s non-returning Ministers, including an alleged groper, are set to net £423,000 in severance payments. Given the widespread public revulsion among our constituents feeling the pinch, including state pensioners, does the Minister not see that there is an argument for the non-exercise of that provision in this instance, because—

This is about the pensions Act, Mr Speaker; I asked about this on Thursday. Does the Minister not see that this looks really bad to the general public in a cost of living crisis and that there is a good argument for the non-exercise of the Act in this instance?

This matter will be dealt with by an urgent question that follows. I can confirm it definitely does not apply to me, and frankly I do not think it is an appropriate question for today.

The Minister is not new to his job. In the order of 1 million pensioners who should be in receipt of pension credit are still not receiving it, and he will know that they lose out not simply on the credit but on all manner of other benefits. Will he show some urgency and compassion for those struggling with the cost of living increases?

I sincerely hope that the hon. Gentleman joined in on Pension Credit Day of Action on 15 June, because it is incumbent on all Members of Parliament to get behind the efforts of the Government, and successive Governments, to improve pension credit take-up. The fact of the matter is that this Government have done more to increase take-up and the number of claims than any previous Government. There is no doubt whatsoever that we should all get people to apply, with £,3,300-worth of benefits applying for those receiving pension credit.