HC Deb 26 May 1971 vol 818 cc373-4
35. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether the pensions increases to public servants will be applied to those pensioners who were former Members of Parliament.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Civil Service Department (Mr. David Howell)

No, Sir. I would refer the hon. Member to what my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and I said on this subject yesterday during the debate on the Second Reading of the Pensions (Increase) Bill.—[Vol. 818, c. 239–93.]

Mr. Lewis

May I first of all thank the Minister for that reply and apologise for the fact that I was not able to remain here yesterday, but I have read the report of the proceedings? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this reply is not satisfactory? Is he further aware that former Members of Parliament are the only pensioners who have been left out and that in some instances it has been for as long as 30 years? Does he appreciate that such Members received no pension at all until 1964 and that some, who have done 48 years' solid service, are being shabbily treated by all Governments? Does he realise that it has taken two years to announce the review body and that we have had to wait six months for the chairman to be appointed and are still waiting for the members of the Committee to be appointed? Does he appreciate that these are Members who have given a lifetime of service to their country and who are now dying off? Why cannot he table an Amendment to the existing Bill to give these people a decent pension?

Mr. Howell

I understand the hon. Member's strong feelings. As my hon. Friend said last night, it is for the Top Salaries Review Body to consider whether it wants to change the present structure. If it does, and the House agrees, the change can be included in the Bill under Clause 5(2). On the second part of the hon. Member's comments, I can tell him that the names of the members of the salary Review Body will be announced before the House rises.

Mr. John Page

Is my hon. Friend aware that, of all the major trade unions, only the Transport and General Workers' Union has not given a cost-of-living increase to its pensioners since 1945? Is he proposing to take any action on that?

Mr. Howell

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that information, but I do not think it arises on this Question.