§ 16. Sir K. WOOD
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the cost of providing retirement pensions to industrial workers at present over the age of 60 of £1 a week and 10s. for the wife, if the worker is married, on the condition that within a specified short time they finally retire from industry?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence)
No authoritative figures can be given, since it is impossible to forecast the number of workers who would be induced to retire by the offer of pensions at the rates suggested. On the moderate assumption that the pensions would be accepted by 390,000 persons out of a possible total of about 680,000 and that the rates named are intended to include the pensions payable at the age of 65 under the Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, the cost is estimated at £21,600,000 in the first year, diminishing to £10,000,000 in the sixth year, thereafter declining more slowly. These figures necessarily depend on the assumption that the restriction of the scheme to a limited class of pensioners is practicable. It is, however, to be apprehended that the extensions to which the introduction of such a scheme would be likely to lead would speedily bring up its cost to a sum far in excess of the figures given.
§ Sir K. WOOD
Is not that a rather surprising statement, in view of the official speech which was made by the late Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster a few weeks ago; and how does the hon. Gentleman reconcile that statement with these figures?