§ 7. Mrs. Oppenheim
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what provision she intends to make to assist pensioners with the increased cost of fuel and power.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security (Mr. Robert C. Brown)
The Government propose the largest single increase in pensions since 1946.
§ Mr. Skinner
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Why was I not called to ask a supplementary question on Question No. 5?
§ Mrs. Oppenheim
If there are substantial increases in electricity and coal prices for domestic users, will the hon. 255 Gentleman ensure that pensioners are protected during the period from the start of that increase to the date of the increase in pensions? Will he also undertake to ensure that pensions are not substantially eroded by such increased costs?
§ Mr. Molloy
Does my hon. Friend agree that the best contribution so far has been made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment in resolving the serious dispute which would have affected everybody, including old-age pensioners? In the unfortunate event of there being inevitable increases, particularly in the price of coal, will my hon. Friend ensure that immediate help is provided for pensioners who run the risk of suffering from some form of infirmity and disease as well as being unable to keep themselves sufficiently warm?
§ Mr. Brown
I am sure that my hon. Friend would not wish to overlook my original answer, when I said that the Government propose the largest single increase in pensions since 1946. Having said that, I underline the fact that the Supplementary Benefits Commission is keeping these payments under review.