§ 5. Mr. Collins
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he is aware that through pension, insurance contributions and Income Tax the State benefits by £150 when a man continues working for one year after the age of 65; that at 3s. a week he would have to live to 85 to recover £150; and whether, in view of this, he will increase the rewards for those who continue working after the age of 65.
§ 19. Dame Irene Ward
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will examine the possibility of an increase in increments on retirement pensions.
§ Mr. Collins
Will the Minister look at the figures again? He will then find that they are, if anything, an understatement, and that if a man continued working until 70 he would have to live to be about 160 before he was in on the deal. Will the Minister look at the possibility of remitting the 6s. 9d. for the stamp in the case of people who work after reaching 65 or give them some further advantage when they receive their pensions?
§ Mr. Peake
I will certainly look at the last point, which was not raised in the Question, but I would point out to the hon. Gentleman that his figures take no account at all of the very important fact that the widow of the insured man inherits his right to increments and that, generally speaking, widows live a very long time.
§ Dame Irene Ward
As we cannot debate the Phillips Committee Report, which is extremely boring to many hon. Members on this side of the House, may I ask my right hon. Friend, as we have at last made some impression on him about the earnings rule, how long it will take us to make an impression on him about the need to increase increments? What efforts are now required on our part so that we do not have to refer to him as the Minister who neither 'necks nor gees?
§ Mr. Peake
Puzzled as I am by the latter part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question, I would inform her that we must pay some attention to the recommendation of the Phillips Committee that, even if National Insurance pensions were subsequently increased, there should be no 1025 alteration in the present rates of increment.
§ Mrs. Braddock
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that some people get no benefit at all from the increments, as they are often being taken into account if a person applies for National Assistance? In view of that, is not his answer to the supplementary question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Shoreditch and Finsbury (Mr. Collins) rather a peculiar one?
§ Mr. Peake
The hon. Lady has a later Question on the Order Paper dealing with that matter, but I would point out that the whole Beveridge conception of supplanting the need for assistance by insurance benefits would fall by the way if the insurance pension, or part of it, were to be disregarded for computing National Assistance.
§ Mr. Collins
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply to my Question, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.
§ 21. Sir H. Linstead
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what percentage of men awarded retirement pensions in 1954 received increments; and what was the average total increase of pension which those of them who were married thus received for themselves and their wives.
§ Sir H. Linstead
I found some little difficulty in following the figures which my right hon. Friend gave in reply to Question No. 9. Could he tell me either how many or what proportion of those who qualify for retirement pensions have postponed retirement in order to increase their pensions?