§ 101. Mr. Hamilton
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what basic retirement pension would be needed today to be equivalent to the purchasing power of the 26s. basic retirement pension granted in 1946; and what would be needed if that pension had increased proportionately with average earnings since that date.
§ Miss Pitt
On the basis of the Cost of Living Index for the period up to June, 1947, and the Retail Prices Index thereafter, 42s. 4d. would give the same purchasing power now as 26s. in October, 1946. There are no comprehensive statistics of average earnings and the figures derived from the Ministry of Labour's half-yearly inquiry relate to less than half the working population; those figures would suggest that 52s. 8d. would give an increase in the pension corresponding to the increase in average earnings. The Index of Rates of Wages is more comprehensive but even so is limited to manual workers; that index would suggest that 45s. 11d. would give an increase in the pension corresponding to the increase in wage rates.