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Friday, 24 August 1923

Sir ELLIOT JOHNSON (Lang) . - I only wish to say that, like many other honorable members on this side of the House, I am quite in sympathy with the proposal to show every consideration to our invalid and old-age pensioners. But, as the Treasurer has stated that the Government are unable to grant more than the increase proposed in the Bill, and as the Prime Minister has stated the view which the Government will take of any action that is likely to put them in a difficult position, there is no option for honorable members who are in- the same position as myself; we must support the Government. For the Government is responsible (for its financial proposals, and any action which seriously embarrasses its policy may precipitate a crisis involving the pensioners. in the loss of the proposed increase. We are in full sympathy with the desire that our invalid and old-age pensioners shall receive the most liberal treatment possible, but we must agree to the proposal of the Government rather than risk that there shall be no increase at all. It is rather interesting to recall that Labour, when in power, made no attempt to increase pensions.

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