19. Brigadier Clarke
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if be will now consider allowing old-age pensioners to earn over 40s. without loss of retirement pension.
22. Miss Ward
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether, in view of the fact that the earnings allowance is imposed to encourage persons to remain at work and earn increments on retirement pensions, he will take steps to protect the interests of these persons who cannot remain in full-time employment by altering the law to remove the earnings allowance limit in respect of these people.
Does my right hon. Friend not realise that these old people have paid for their pensions and should be allowed to earn what they like? Will he remove from the Statute Book this scandalous piece of Socialist legislation?
§ Mr. Peake
We adopted by general agreement in 1946 a new principle of giving a pension by virtue of retirement. There must be some test of retirement. This earnings rule has been the subject of inquiry by and of evidence given before the Phillips Committee, and the report of that Committee will be available very shortly.
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that this earnings rule imposes a great hardship on women, particularly on widows, who find it very difficult, quite often, to get back into employment? Will he bear that particularly in mind so that we can have some amelioration of the present earnings rule?
§ Mr. Gibson
In view of the admitted pressure that there is these days on all pensioners, and the public support there is for them not only from these benches but in the newspapers, why must the right hon. Gentleman wait until the Phillips Committee reports? Is there any hope of the Phillips Committee's reporting and of the right hon. Gentleman's making a statement before the end of the year?
Air Commodore Harvey
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that, as there is practically full employment in the country, he would, by allowing pensioners to work and earn more, benefit both industry and the country?
§ Mr. S. Silverman
Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there is no superannuation scheme applicable to professional or official classes which demands retirement or permanent unemployment as a condition for paying the benefit of the scheme? Why cannot the same principle be applied to workers generally?