§ 2. Mr. Leach
asked the Minister without Portfolio if he will explain the method of actuarial calculation employed to determine the appropriate age and pension rate for unmarried women, the amount of contributions credited to them on account of all women who die unmarried; what proportion of the contributions paid by women who subsequently marry is allotted to the unmarried women to increase their pension rate; and what the actuarial pension would be if the age was reduced to 55 years.
§ The Minister without Portfolio (Sir William Jowitt)
It is not the function of the Government Actuary to determine the retiring age and pension rate for women, but to work out a rate of contribution appropriate to the age and pension rate specified in his instructions. The actuarial principles governing the calculation of the rates of contributions towards pensions under the Government's Social Insurance proposals are indicated in paragraph 11 of the Government Actuary's memorandum which forms Appendix I to the White Paper. As there indicated, the contribution, in the case of women who do not marry, is appreciably lower than it would be if this group could be considered in isolation. I am informed that, if unmarried women were allowed to retire on pension at 55 instead of 60 and contributions ceased to be payable at the earlier age, the equivalent pension would be about 13s. instead of 20s. a week.
What would be the weekly contribution, if the pension rates were the same, but were paid for by the contributions of all women?
§ Sir W. Jowitt
I have not had that calculation worked out. On the basis of the contributions at present, that is, stopping at 55, it is 13s. instead of 20s.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
Are we to understand that the consideration which the Government have given in this case, is more generous than these individuals have demanded?
§ Sir W. Jowitt
Not more generous than they have demanded, but more generous than it would be if that class were treated entirely by itself.