HC Deb 28 January 1947 vol 432 cc739-41
4. Mr. Butcher

asked the Minister of National Insurance whether, with a view to encouraging elderly people to continue to assist the national effort for increased production, he proposes to take any steps enabling him to pay pensions irrespective of the total earrings of pensioners.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Action on the lines suggested would require the amendment of the National Insurance Act, 1946, which has only recently been approved by this House.

Mr. Butcher

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the economic position of the country has not improved, that we have had further information on the valuable contribution elderly people can make to industry, and will he keep the matter under review?

Mr. Griffiths

We are very anxious indeed to do anything we can under this scheme to encourage people to postpone their retirement and, as the House will know, I doubled the increment proposed by the Beveridge Report and the Coalition White Paper.

6. Mr. Willis

asked the Minister of National Insurance if he is aware that widows over 60 years of age who received the- recent increase of 16s. per week in their pension and now wish to supplement their pension by working a few hours per week at their former employment, are being informed that they might be considered as not having retired and lose their increase; and whether he will take steps to ensure that no deduction in the pension is made unless the widow earns more than 20s. per week.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Where it has been decided by the appropriate statutory authority that a pensioner has retired from regular employment, that decision cannot be revised unless new facts relating to the position at the material date are brought to notice. A pension which has been increased will not be affected by earnings unless they exceed 20s. a week. It appears that some misunderstanding arose in the handling of the case which the hon. Member brought to my notice. I have taken steps to put the matter in order.

Mr. Willis

Will my right hon. Friend say what is meant by retirement because it seems to me to be important?

Mr. Griffiths

I am in a difficulty about that, because the precise definition of the term has also to be decided by the tribunal and the Commissioner and not by the Minister.

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