§ 106. Mr. SMEDLEY CROOKE
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of cases of hardship where men are compulsorily retired at 65, whose only income then is the old age pension and, their wives not having reached that age, application has to be made to the public assistance commitees; will he cause actuarial calculations to be made to ascertain the cost to the State if the pensionable age of the wives in such cases was reduced to 60; and will he consider the advisability of further legislation in the matter on condition that the man or his wife shall not be gainfully employed?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Duff Cooper)
My hon. Friend no doubt appreciates that retirement from work is not under existing law a condition of receipt of an old age pension at 65. I do not think that in practice cases of compulsory retirement from a particular employment on attaining the age of 65 could be differentiated from either voluntary abstention from work or involuntary unemployment at and after 65. My hon. Friend's suggestion is therefore tantamount to a proposal for retirement pensions in the limited class of contributory old age pensioners whose wives are between 60 and 65 years of age. The general difficulties arising as regards retirement pensions were fully explained in the Debate in the House on the 21st February last and in these circumstances I do not think any useful purpose would be served by an attempt to estimate the cost of my hon. Friend's suggestion.