HC Deb 20 December 1934 vol 296 cc1308-9

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can give an estimate of the approximate cost to the State if legislation were introduced to remove all workers from industry at the age of 60?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Chamberlain)

I presume my hon. Friend has in mind the grant of pensions to those who are removed from industry at the age of 60. If this is so, I would refer him to the answer I gave on 11th December to a question by the hon. Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. West) explaining the labour required to make these calculations, but showing that a scheme based on certain assumptions would involve a net cost of £279,000,000 per annum.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, whereas his answer gave a figure of £279,000,000, in the Debate which has been referred to, the Prime Minister at that time gave a figure of £140,000,000: and is not £140,000,000 a much more probable figure?


If the right hon. Gentleman is in a position to give the figure with such accuracy, would it be possible also to give the number of persons involved, that is to say the number of persons who would be absorbed into industry and the number taken out of industry?


In answer to the first supplementary question, it is obvious that these calculations all depend upon the assumptions which are made, and the assumptions are different in the two eases to which the hon. Member refers. With regard to the second supplementary question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer, because there again it is a question of what assumptions are made and the assumptions in the calculation, of which I have given the result, were not the same as those which my hon. Friend has in mind. To make fresh calculations would involve a very considerable amount of labour.


Is it not the case that the first assumption included pensions of millionaires and Members of the House of Lords, which was not sensible?


Is that extra to the present cost of pensions?




Is it not a fact that if men, even at 65, were withdrawn from industry at the present time, it would cost a great deal and would cause much hardship?