HC Deb 11 November 1958 vol 595 cc197-326

3.34 p.m.

The Minister of Pensions and National Insurance (Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter)

I beg to move, That this House welcomes the White Paper on Provision for Old Age (Command Paper No. 538). During the debate on the Address, the view was expressed on both sides of the House that we ought to have a debate which was concentrated on the White Paper. The Government accepted that view, and it is to enable that debate to take place that I have moved this Motion.

In issuing a White Paper in advance of legislation, the Government have taken the view that before legislation itself on a matter of such importance to the whole community is introduced, the right thing to do is to publish a White Paper and use it as a medium for eliciting views and opinions from all sections of the community. It is our intention to give full weight to the various points made, both in opinions expressed outside the House and in what is said in the debate today.

It will best serve the House in pursuit of that purpose if, at this stage, I attempt to give at least an outline of the principles and structure of the White Paper proposals, without falling into polemical discussion to an extent greater than human frailty compels. I will, therefore, deal at once with the principles on which the White Paper is based.

I can start with a proposition which has gained a considerable measure of support from both sides of the House, although, to judge from one Amendment to the Motion, apparently less so from Liberal Members. That is the view that the flat-rate system of contributions and benefits is now proving inadequate to the needs of the day. Those right hon. and hon. Gentlemen who took part in the debates almost exactly a year ago, when we were dealing with last Session's National Insurance legislation, will recall that that point was made from both sides of the House. Opinion generally is appreciating that, whatever may have been the merits of a solely flat-rate system in 1946, that system is becoming increasingly inadequate to the circumstances of the present situation, in which there is a very high level of earnings and a very widely diffused prosperity.

The system, in those circumstances, contains weaknesses in two ways. The first is that with a flat-rate system it is impossible to provide that the better paid can earn any better pension than the lower paid can afford to contribute towards. The second arises out of the disposal of the help given by the taxpayer through the Exchequer.

From the beginning, the justification for a subsidy by the taxpayer to National Insurance benefits, especially pensions, has been that without it there would be a considerable number of people unable, even with the aid of their employers, to provide adequate pensions for themselves. That justification plainly diminishes when in a universal scheme there is a considerable number of people perfectly well able to provide adequate pensions for themselves without aid from the taxpayer.

In a flat-rate system, it is inescapable that the Exchequer contribution shall go equally into the pensions both of those who need it and those who do not. Therefore, one of the great advantages of a departure from a flat rate and a move towards a graduated system is that it enables the contribution of the taxpayer to be used in a way much more appropriate to modern social thinking, in other words, to be increasingly concentrated on those who need it and not spread widely over those who need it and those who do not.

A further justification for a move arises from a view which has been freely expressed by borrowing from Disraeli the expression, "Two nations". The growth of occupational pension schemes has meant that a substantial and, I am glad to say, an increasing section of our community can expect, in their old age, to enjoy both a National Insurance benefit and a pension, or superannuation payment, derived from their previous occupation. But there are, and for many years there will remain, a very substantial section who, because their industry or their employment does not provide that, have only the National Insurance pension to look forward to—

Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)

They are the real workers.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I do not think that it is for me, Sir, in view of what I said a moment ago, to seek to criticise either those inside or those outside occupational pension schemes. After all, as the hon. Member may recall, there are now in occupational pension schemes very nearly 9 million people, and I should myself hesitate to make the criticism of them that the hon. Member appears to be making.

But I think that I will carry even the hon. Member with me when I say that it is desirable, if one can, to do something to help correct this disparity, and one of the advantages of the departure from the flat-rate scheme is that one can make a start to enable those people who have not the advantage of an adequate occupational pension to begin earning one inside the national scheme, and so reduce the disparity between those two categories.

The other great problem that we all must, and, I know, do have in our thoughts on this matter, is the financial problem bequeathed to us by the Act of 1946. The House will be familiar with the reasons why this great financial problem has developed. Apart from the demographic picture of an increasingly ageing population, it has developed mainly by reason of the fact that, under the 1946 Act, full pensions are paid to all who have contributed only for a short time, or even not at all, at the higher rates, with the result, which, I think, is vividly illustrated in the White Paper, that the man of 65, retiring today, with a wife aged 60, obtains a pension of the capital value of £2,650.

Such a man, if he has contributed from the beginning, from 1926, will, with his employer, have contributed towards his pension only about £200. I think that that figure, and that treatment of the matter, illustrates the main reason for the financial problem which all of us in this House have inherited, and which, I think, we all—although we may differ on precise methods—appreciate must be dealt with.

May I underline what is now impending on the present basis of development? Assuming that there is no change either in rates of benefit or contribution, the deficit that begins this year—and for which Estimates provision has already been made—will be £14 million. That is on top, of course, of the fixed Exchequer contribution of £125 million. In three years' time, that deficit will rise to about £150 million, on top of the £125 million; in ten years, to about £250 million; and, in under twenty years, to £400 million.

In other words, if steps to correct the position are not taken, then, within twenty years, the taxpayer will be finding, in all, well in excess of £500 million a year towards National Insurance. Not only would that be laying a very heavy burden on the taxpayers of the future, but it would also—and I think that the House will feel this—go a long way to undermining what I believe to be the chief strength of National Insurance: the concept that as benefits are paid in return for, and in respect of contributions, they are payable as a right, and without proof of means. If the system becomes predominantly tax supported, it would plainly become increasingly difficult to retain that enormously valuable aspect.

We have, therefore, taken the view that we should move over to a system involving graduated National Insurance contributions and graduated National Insurance pensions. It is clear that there must be a minimum contribution to which the short-term benefits, and entitlement to them and to the standard rate of pension, can be related, and we suggest that that should be fixed at the level appropriate to £9 a week. Sir, £9 a week, at an 8½per cent. joint contribution, produces a contribution of 15s. 4d. a week compared with the present 18s. 2d. Of that, the employee will be called upon to pay 8s. 4d., against the present 9s. 11d., and the employer, 7s., as against the present 8s. 3d.

That contribution will also contain the contribution for industrial injuries, and the contribution made towards the National Health Service. Indeed, it is because of the figures for the National Health Service contribution, which were fixed by Parliament earlier this year, that the figures for employer and employee differ. The straight, purely National Insurance figures are identical, and they are identical when one gets on the graduated portion. Above £9, and up to £15, it is proposed that there should be a contribution of 4¼ per cent. of earnings a side—8½ per cent. in all.

Having read again the speech that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) made on 29th October—and I am pleased to see him in his place today—I am glad to be able to clear up the doubt which, I think, he expressed in his speech, about the treatment of those earning in excess of £15. They are certainly not excluded. They are treated as having earnings at £15, but they are not—as I may, perhaps, have led him to think—excluded from the scheme.

At the maximum of the graduated and flat-rate contribution together, the employee contributes 13s. 5d., and the employer 12s. 1d. The treatment of women under the scheme takes account of the fact that women's contributions have always been fixed at a level lower than that for men, and it is proposed that the minimum contribution for women—which, equally, should be related to a £9 level of earnings—should be 13s. 6d.; 7s. 2d. from the woman, and 6s. 4d. from the employer, as compared with the present 8s. and 6s. 9d. It is proposed that above £9 and up to £15 the woman and her employer should each contribute 4¼ per cent., which means that, at the maximum—because of the lower base, of course—the woman's contribution would total 23s. 8d.—12s. 3d. from the woman, and 11s. 5d. from the employer.

I should like at this stage to explain a small detail in connection with the treatment of married women. As the House knows, under the present scheme, married women in employment can opt out of National Insurance. That was provided—I think from the beginning—on the grounds that a married woman can, in fact, obtain from her husband and from his insurance a great deal at any rate, of what she could expect to obtain from her own insurance. Therefore, it was somewhat onerous to compel her to contribute also to National Insurance if she went out to work.

In regard to the minimum contribution, we do not propose to interfere with that option, but over and above £9—when one comes to the graduated portion—it seems to us that the argument in favour of giving a woman the chance of opting out really has no validity, because at that point she is concerned with graduated benefits which she can enjoy because of her own contributions, independently of what her husband may get. Therefore, while we propose to preserve the option in respect of minimum contributions, we propose that those women above £9 a week, should be treated on the same compulsory basis as men.

In respect of graduated contributions, it is proposed that a graduated pension should be earned and that, for this purpose, we should adopt what, in connection with private schemes, is very often described as the "brick" system. This is a system under which the contribution has precisely the same value whatever the age of entry of the pensioner. Under it, each £15 contributed by the employee and matched by his employer will earn Is. a week pension on retirement. Thus, the increase that can be earned by someone coming into the scheme as a young entrant and consistently contributing is about £2 a week.

In respect of women, the formula is £18 on each side for each 1s, a week. That takes account of the fact that a woman will be entitled to draw her graduated pension, as, indeed, her flat-rate pension, at 60, and the further fact that women survive somewhat longer than men and there is, therefore, a considerably longer period of pension to bear in mind.

We propose, also, that, in the case of a man who has earned graduated pension, his widow shall inherit, if he dies while drawing pension, one-half of his graduated pension. This compares with the one-third which is, I think, more usual in private schemes.

We propose that people who postpone retirement, shall be able to earn increments not only in respect of graduated pension earned but also in respect of graduated pension forgone, thus giving an inducement, in proper cases, to those who feel able and ready to remain at work, to do so.

I come now to the treatment of the self-employed. Here, I must declare an interest, because it has been ruled that Ministers of the Crown are self-employed.

Mr. G. Lindgren (Wellingborough)

But not gainfully, in the present Government.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I need hardly add that we are here dealing with a most worthy section of the community.

It has been suggested that the proposal in the White Paper not to apply graduated contributions and benefits to the self-employed involves harsh treatment of them. That was the line taken in a leading article in the Manchester Guardian a short time ago, and I feel that this comment springs from a misunderstanding. One of the advantages to an employee of a graduated scheme is that his employer has to contribute equally with him towards his pension. In the case of the self-employed person, of course, there is no employer to bring in.

In a graduated pension, which is not subsidised but which, on the contrary, as earnings rise, involves a withdrawal of subsidy, it seemed to us of very little advantage indeed to the self-employed person to bring him in. I am bound to say that I rather expected that the line of criticism would be that we were treating the self-employed over-well in not, in these circumstances, bringing them in.

By way of illustration, may I indicate what would have been involved if we had brought self-employed people in? If we were to apply the same general principles as set out in the White Paper to the self-employed, their present contribution of 12s. would have risen to 17s. 1d. when their earnings were £12, and to 22s. 2d. when their earnings were £15. Those are heavy contributions to impose upon a self-employed person who has to pay them all himself and does not have an employer to share them.

The problems introduced by bringing the self-employed in, from this angle, are illustrated in the proposals connected with the name of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Cross-man) whom I congratulate on his promotion to the Front Bench opposite. In his scheme, the provision is that the self-employed person, at £8 a week, would have to contribute 17s. 10d.; at f15 a week, would have to contribute 29s., and, at the extreme point to which the scheme goes, rather more than £2,000 a year, the contribution would be something like £3 9s. compared with the present 12s. I think that this indicates the great difficulty of bringing the self-employed into a scheme of this sort.

It is no part of our proposals to compel people to provide, through State machinery, benefits which they have already arranged, or which they can arrange, to provide adequately and properly for themselves. We therefore propose that there should be a system of contracting out in respect of members of schemes which meet certain conditions. If I may say this by way of preface, we are anxious to help rather than hinder the immense development of private occupational schemes which has taken place in recent years.

As the White Paper, in paragraphs 15 and 16, points out, there has been a rise in private schemes, outside the public services, from 1½ million in 1936 to about 6½ million early this year. We believe that these schemes serve important public purposes. They are a major source of investment. They make for good industrial relations. Moreover, each of them is more exactly tailored to the precise needs of those in particular industries than a universal national scheme can possibly be. We are, therefore, anxious that, in making progress with the national scheme, we should not damage but, rather, should encourage development in the right direction of the private occupational schemes.

We propose, as I said, that there should be a system of contracting out of the graduated portion of the State scheme in respect of people in approved occupational schemes. To be approved, the schemes will have to satisfy three conditions. Plainly, they will have to be solvent. The degree of inquiry into solvency must, of course, depend upon the nature of the scheme. In the case of statutory schemes for which Ministers are responsible, or of schemes administered through the life offices which are subject to the supervision of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, I doubt whether very much inquiry will be required. In other cases, it will be for the independent registrar, who will supervise the matter and deal with applications to contract out, to consider auditors' certificates, accounts, and so forth, which will have to be submitted as seems right and necessary to him.

The second condition must be that the private scheme contracted out provides a benefit equivalent to what could have been earned at the maximum rate in the State scheme over the period during which the person concerned was in the contracted out scheme. The third condition, as we suggest, must be that pension rights should be preserved to the person concerned up to at least the maximum that he could have earned in the State scheme over the same period. In other words, the amount required to qualify for adequacy of benefit sets the standard of the minimum in respect of which rights must be preserved.

We feel that this is the right way to handle this very vexed question of preservation of rights. There are people who advocate going further and introducing a measure of compulsion. There was, if I may refer to it without quotation, a most interesting debate in another place on this very subject earlier this year, in which some very valuable speeches were made, notably by Lord McCorquodale and Lord Sinclair of Cleeve.

Experience shows, I think, that an attempt to go bald-headed by way of legislation to make the thing compulsory could only have the effect of discouraging and cutting back, rather than developing and stimulating, the growth of these extremely valuable schemes. But, by providing that the preserving of rights, up to the limit to which I referred, shall be a condition of contracting out, one gives a good, practical reason for encouraging growth and the preservation of rights which, I think, hon. Members on both sides recognise as being a very important social development.

It is proposed that rights should be preserved in one of three ways: by provision in the scheme for a frozen pension payable on retirement, by a payment of transfer value to another scheme if the man concerned goes to another private scheme, or by payment of the equivalent of the maximum contribution, due under the State scheme over the period, to the State scheme when the man leaves the contracted out scheme.

It seems to us that that last named will provide a means which will facilitate early granting of applications to contract out, since the satisfaction of that condition from the beginning could enable contracting out to be granted before a scheme has been modified to provide for preservation of rights within the rules of the scheme. It may very well facilitate the transitional phase. The applications will have to be made to an independent registrar, and, if they are successful, those that are included within the certificate that the registrar gives will continue to pay contributions at the present flat rate level, subject, of course, to the quinquennial increases which apply throughout the scheme. They will not go down to the flat-rate minimum proposed for those who remain in the graduated part of the scheme.

Mr. Thomas Steele (Dunbartonshire, West)

The Minister made a point about the contributions which I should like to get clear. He said that those who contracted out would be at flat-rate contributions. Does that mean, in effect, that a man who is earning £9 a week, and who contracts out, would be paying flat-rate contributions and not the lesser contribution which the person who is in the scheme would have to pay?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Yes; the hon. Gentleman has the point precisely. I am grateful to him. I am glad that I gave way, but I hope that the House will not expect me to do so often, because if I do I shall take an inordinate time and fail in my duty to explain the proposals to the House.

The hon. Member is quite right. Equally, the contracted out man who is earning £15 a week will be contributing only the present 18s. 2d. and not the 25s. 6d. which he would be paying in the State scheme. It will be a matter of very careful thought, in connection with any application to contract out, whether there are a number of workers in that particular wage group who would be liable to be affected. The House will agree that in operating this enormously difficult question of contracting out—I do not conceal from the House that outside comment has made clear that there are many difficulties in the way and that if the scheme is to work it has got to work on the basis of the utmost simplicity—the right thing is to maintain the position under which, until the quinquennial increases operate, no one in a contracted out scheme will pay more than he is doing at present, regardless of his earnings. The proposal is that an application should be made to an independent registrar, and, as was mentioned the other day, that the application should be made on behalf of the employer. That particular provision has aroused a certain amount of comment and I should like to say a word about it.

First, the employer is liable to my Department—or, maybe, in respect of certain contributions, to the Inland Revenue—for the payment of the contributions, and also for the enormously important question of securing preservation of rights. In the second place, under the scheme as it is proposed, no one who has been contracted out can be, as a result, any worse off from the point of view of his pension than he would be if he had not been contracted out. He will almost certainly be better off, but not worse off, in view of the provision that there must be preserved to him when he leaves his employment pension rights equivalent to the maximum that he would have earned under the State scheme.

I now come back to the point mentioned by the hon. Member for Dun bartonshire, West (Mr. Steele). The practical difficulties of securing enforcement on any other basis would be extremely serious and particularly serious for the man whose pension rights might be endangered if insufficient contributions were paid.

There has been a great deal of comment, naturally, and, if I may say so, very properly, both outside and in this House, about the financial basis of these proposals. The existence of the National Insurance Fund has led some people outside to foster the illusion that the present National Insurance scheme is in any true sense a funded scheme. Of course, it is nothing of the sort. In the two National Insurance Funds there is about £1,500 million, which is mostly the result of accumulated surpluses in various years. That figure has been arrived at fortuitously as a result of the surpluses. For the scheme to be on a sufficiently funded basis the fund would need to be ten times its present size, and, as I mentioned in the debate on 15th February, the ultimate capital liability is about £40,000 million. The real function of the National Insurance Fund is, and under the new scheme will be, much more the cushioning of particular difficulties that may arise—epidemics, unemployment, and so on—rather than a fund in the true sense.

There has been discussion outside, from the point of view of funding, on the difference between a State scheme and a private scheme. Private scheme funding is very often provided to make sure that when the time comes to pay the benefits the money shall be available. With a State scheme, where the whole resources of the State are behind the proposal, that necessity is very much less, and, from a purely practical point of view, a State scheme requiring on the figures that I have given to be sufficiently funded would pose the most tremendous problems of investment, and enormous practical difficulties would be involved in the accumulation of a fund on that scale.

It has been suggested that a measure of funding will help as a means of stimulating investment and provide productive capacity to maintain contributors when they reach pension age. There is only validity in that argument if one assumes that that would be additional saving and additional investment over and above what would otherwise take place. It seems to me, without entering into the polemics of the matter, that if we raise the contributions substantially to a level which will not only provide for the ever-rising cost of benefits but also for the accumulation of a fund on anything like the scale required, this will impose a very heavy load both on contributors and taxpayers, and work to produce a net dissaving rather than a net saving.

Mr. J. T. Price (Westhoughton)

Perhaps the Minister will give way, as this is a serious point. I do not want to enter into theoretical matters. There is an inconsistency in putting forward this argument. On page 7 of the White Paper the Government Actuary has printed a schedule of the next four quinquenniums and each year interest of £50 million is credited on the income side of the account as interest both on the fixed capital and the contributions from the employee and employer. If we are not to have an indication of funding, I should like the Minister to explain how the Government Actuary can be justified in crediting such a large amount of interest to the fund.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

That is the interest on the present accumulated funds. I explained how those funds arose. I gave the figure and the hon. Gentleman, who studies these things, will appreciate that the figure of interest relates accurately at the level of Government credit to an investment of that size. We make these proposals on the basis that, taken broadly over the years, the scheme will balance and that it will not accumulate a surplus or run into an appreciable deficit—in other words, in the technical jargon of insurance business, on the basis of assessmentism. On reflection, this is the right financial basis for a State insurance scheme.

The House will observe from the White Paper that, as part of that provision—I have already referred to it in passing—it is proposed in 1965 and in each of the three following quinquennia to make increases in the contribution broadly of ¼ per cent. a side. The object of this is to maintain the balance in the scheme to which I referred, taking one year with another. It would have been possible to have made all these increases now, but, as the House knows, the burden of payments is a steadily increasing one. It is not necessary to make these increases now, and rather than take money unnecessarily at this stage out of the pockets of the contributors, it seemed better to frame the scheme so that it starts on the basis of what is needed over the next few years and to make the increases as they are required, and not before.

I now come, if I may, to the Amendments which have been placed on the Order Paper. There was a new Amendment this morning which mustered, as far as I can see, the whole strength of the Liberal Party, and I congratulate the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Wade), the one representative of the party present, on getting all six names in support of the same proposal. It makes the point which is made in the Amendment of the official Opposition, concerning existing pensioners and, if I judge from the speech of the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) on 29th October and from the Question which the hon. Member for Torrington (Mr. Bonham Carter) has down to me on the Order Paper, it apparently makes the curious proposal that the rates for a single man should be increased by 10s. and the rates for a married couple by 11s.—a new version of the Queen's shilling.

It also makes the point, with which I am bound to say I have enormous sympathy, that these proposals are complex. I sympathise, but the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West will recall that we are having to build on the ground already covered by previous Acts and on the financial foundation to which I referred at some length a few moments ago. While it may be desirable and, indeed, practicable to erect a simple pensions scheme when we are starting from scratch, as hon. Members of his own party were early in the century, it is much more difficult to provide fairly for pensioners in the future, bearing in mind the obligations which we have already assumed to those who have contributed to the scheme. If one is to deal with them fairly it is quite inescapable that the matter should be not uncomplicated. If I may say so, however, I fully sympathise with the spirit behind that proposal and, for every personal reason. I only wish that it were practicable.

The Amendment put down in the name of the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues makes three points. The first is that there is no provision in the White Paper scheme for raising the existing retirement pension immediately. Last year, as hon. Members will recall, on our Bill which, when an Act, raised the rates of National Insurance benefit, including pensions, to the highest level in real terms yet reached, there was criticism that we were improving rates and not amending' the structure. Now the criticism is precisely reversed: that we are amending the structure and not improving the rates.

As I explained last year, these two sets of proposals must be looked at together. I told the House so last year in the discussions on that Bill. I said that we were considering the whole structure of National Insurance—indeed, I was urged most vigorously to continue to do so—but that we did not think it right to allow the existing pensioners to wait while that consideration went on and that we were, therefore, proceeding immediately—that is, last year—with proposals to improve rates of benefit. The proposals which we are now discussing and the Act of last year are therefore complementary.

As I said, it is important to recall in this connection that, coming into effect early this year, we raised these benefits to the highest level in real terms that they have ever reached and that their real value for the single pensioner was, and is over 11s. more than the level to which right hon. Gentlemen opposite raised them in October, 1951. Since this increase, which took effect in January, there has been a movement of only 2 of a point in the Index of Retail Prices. When the proposals were announced the Index stood at 108.2 and the latest figure is 108.4.

I suggest to the House this further thought: this is a machinery Bill which, by reason of its complexity and the adjustments required, cannot come into effect before April, 1961. It is, therefore, plainly not a proper vehicle for any proposal to change the rates of benefit. In paragraph 34 of the White Paper, however, we say that we shall continue to keep these basic rates under review. There is nothing either in the White Paper proposals or anywhere else which can prevent us, when the circumstances justify it, from making changes, as we have already made them on three occasions in the life of this Conservative Government, as and when they became justified.

The only difference is that, by putting the finances of the scheme right, when the times came to make a change it would probably be a good deal easier to make than otherwise would have been the case. It is a complete misunderstanding of technical machinery proposals which, even if Parliament passes the Bill, cannot operate for two-and-a-half years, to criticise them because they do not deal with existing rates of benefit.

The second point taken against us is that the White Paper scheme does not link prices and benefits automatically. Everybody recognises that pension rates, in particular, and the other benefits have to be looked at very carefully and reviewed in the light of price movements. As I said a moment ago, paragraph 34 of the White Paper states explicitly our intention to continue to do so.

We are, therefore, on a comparatively narrow point—whether changes, when they come, should be the result of conscious and deliberate decision or whether they should operate automatically by reference to one or other of the price indices. It seems to me that there are very great objections to the automatic method. In the first place. I understand that it is not suggested that it should operate on contributions, but only on benefits. It would be constitutionally most unfortunate if it operated on contributions and if additional burdens were imposed on the subject without discussion in Parliament. But if it is only benefits that move, and not contributions, then one risks getting back into the same position as that from which we are trying to relieve the scheme—the difficulty of financial balance.

There is also, more broadly, the constitutional point that changes in National Insurance benefits, affecting already 5¼ million retirement pensioners and liable to affect through the short-term benefits every member of the working population, are matters of major importance which, in my view at any rate, Parliament ought to consider; Parliament ought to consider whether a change should be made, and, if so, what is the right change.

This preference for the conscious and deliberate as opposed to the automatic is reinforced by the very unhappy experience which, as some hon. Members will recall, we had in connection with certain Service pensions between the war which moved with the cost of living. Hon. Members will recall that when the cost of living fell and those pensions, in accordance with the provisions, fell, too, there was the greatest difficulty. Eventually, as hon. Members who remember these affairs will have in mind, it became necessary to wind the whole thing up.

That this was very much in mind in connection with the National Insurance scheme when it started is borne out by what the right hon. Member for Llanelly said about the 1946 Bill. He said: We are definitely of the view that it is undesirable, as well as impracticable, to have automatic adjustment. This method of pegging benefits to a specific cost of living and adjusting them automatically was tried at the end of the last war in war pensions, and broke down the first time it came to be applied. We are convinced, after examination, that it will break down again."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th February, 1946; Vol. 418, c. 1741.] That is a very effective condemnation of the charge in the Opposition Amendment that our scheme is subject to criticism for not containing precisely the provision which the right hon. Gentleman himself said would break down as soon as it was applied.

There is a further practical consideration of very real human effect. If, notwithstanding the right hon. Gentleman's wise words, such a provision had been included in the 1946 Act, the pensioner would not have been in as good a position as he is today. If there had been this automatic provision, the present pensions of 50s. and 80s. would have been 43s. 3d. and 69s. 10d.

The fact that Parliament has on occasion to make some conscious decision as to what changes should be made does, I am perfectly certain, give to the pensioner far more security that his needs will be weighed, in the light of the needs of the community as a whole, than any attempt to relate them to the working of the index which, in general, in its operations over the last twelve years, would have served him less well than the present system. I must admit in argument that there is one example which points the other way. That is the increase which right hon. Gentlemen themselves made in 1951, when they raised the pension from 26s. to 30s. when, on the index, they should have raised it to 33s. 3d.

Finally, and this is, perhaps, the real nub of the Amendment, it regrets that the White Paper does not provide a fully comprehensive system of national superannuation which will abolish poverty in old age. It is a fine, resonant phrase, perhaps a little lacking in precision. I would venture at once to express disagreement with it. I do not think that a national system of superannuation needs, or ought, to be comprehensive in this sense. I think that the provision for old age should be a joint effort of private and State enterprise. The very words used in the Opposition Amendment indicate what I must frankly say is an approach different from that contained in the White Paper. We do, I hope, explain that it is our wish to foster private development, and to put up a State system alongside it.

The next view of it—I take it these words are meant to raise this issue; if not, I apologise, but, as I have said, they are lacking in precision—is that those who put down the Amendment and support it think that it is the function of the State to make the basic pension provide, as, indeed, their own proposals purport to provide, for pensions related to earnings well up the earnings scale. That is where, profoundly, I would differ from them.

I do not regard this as a proper function or duty of the State, The higher we put the ceiling of earnings on which contributions are paid, the higher pension, in some measure, we have to pay. We have to pay it precisely to that person who, because of his higher earnings, is less in need of a compulsory State scheme and less in need of a subsidy than the man at the lower end of the scale.

This is again fortified, as I suggested to the House in my earlier argument, by a purely practical consideration. I am sure that the House will agree with me that we could not do anything which would cause more harm, above all to the pensioner, or, indeed, to our economy as a whole, than to bring back inflation; and the trouble with building up a State scheme with high contributions running high up the earnings scale is that there is very real risk indeed of building up inflation and inflationary pressure.

May I take, simply by way of illustration, though I have not been discussing it today, the proposals to that end which have been made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Coventry, East and his hon. Friends. Though, as he very fairly says in the preface to his proposals, he does not feel bound to precise figures either of contributions or of benefits, none the less these are examples put forward, and I think that they do make my point of the dangers of stimulating inflation if a pension scheme is too ambitious, if its contributions are too large and go too high up the scale.

The hon. Gentleman's proposals provide, in the first place, for a 5 per cent. charge on all earnings and salaries not only up to £2,000 a year, but as I understand, up to the limit of all earnings and salaries in the country. For pensions alone, apart from some shillings for the short-term benefits, there is a tax on earnings of 5 per cent. Will that be passed on? Plainly, if it is passed on, it will be inflationary. I can only say that, in his own booklet, his own experts state very clearly, on page 119: We have, however, assumed that the contributions are wholly 'shifted' on to consumers. As a result there is no loss of profits taxation attributable to the contribution. We are not alone in taking this view. The hon Gentleman is certainly not alone in taking that view.

The cost of the heavy contributions I have already referred to, along with his figure of 3 per cent. for pensions alone on all employees' salaries up to £2,000 a year must, I suggest to the House, have an inflationary effect, and as such would undermine the help which, I am perfectly certain, it is sincerely intended to give to those on pensions and fixed incomes. It would be an appalling irony if, with the intent of making provision, in the words of the Amendment, to "abolish poverty in old age" it were to be clear that what had happened was to stimulate that inflation which is one of the main causes of poverty in old age.

Therefore, I am bound to say that it does seem to me that the criticism that our scheme is moderate in scale and relates only to earnings under £15, is really an indication of its strength, in that it is confined to the proper sphere of State activity, and is designed—and much thought has been given to this—to make sure that it does not give a further turn to the wheel of inflation.

On the question as to its comprehensiveness, I should like to deal with one or two other points which have been made. It is suggested that the man or woman under £9 is excluded from the scheme. Such a man or such a woman is only excluded in the sense that he or she always earns less than £9, whereas in truth and in fact a substantial number of those who earn under £9 a week are young people who, as they go on, will earn more, or older people on retirement pension who are still at work.

Mr. Lindgren

What about the agricultural workers?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The hon. Gentleman asks, "What about the agricultural workers?" A proper point, but—my right hon. Friend who will wind up will correct me if I am wrong—my own recollection is that their earnings—and the hon. Gentleman will appreciate that these figures are of earnings not of wages —are already, on the average, over £9 a week. That is my recollection. And we are, of course, talking of arrangements after 1961.

But let us accept the fact that there will be some people, not, I think, a very large number of adult males at work, but some people—

Mr. Frank Beswick (Uxbridge)

How many?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

We are going to give them, not exclusion, but relief. They will get the same benefits for an appreciably smaller contribution. At £9 a week the total contribution comes down by 2s. 10d. The man's own contribution comes down by 1s. 7d.

Those of us who recall the debates which took place in the House last year will remember that, understandably and rightly, a number of hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House made the very point that to raise the contribution to 18s. 2d. might bear severely upon those at the lowest levels of earnings, and indeed, that was put forward as one of the objections to our continuing with a flat-rate scheme.

Mr. Albert Evans (Islington, South-West)

Would the Minister clear up the point? He has no figures to give to the House of the number of men and women who would be excluded from the scheme under the proposed arrangements. Surely he should tell the House.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

If the hon. Gentleman had been in his place during the debate on the Motion for the Address, or had read the debate in HANSARD, he would have known that I have already given those figures. No doubt he will study them.

The publication of the White Paper, exactly four weeks ago, has produced, as we hoped and intended, a good deal of discussion. We have followed it carefully, as we shall certainly follow most carefully discussions in the House today, because we take the view that it is right that views and opinions should be studied before moving on to measures of such enormous importance, to so many people, for so long a time.

We have been encouraged by the very widespread appreciation—from the News Chronicle Gallup Poll to The Times leading article today—of the soundness of placing the scheme on a modest basis of size not far up the earnings scale and of giving a basic minimum by way of provision. On that I ask the House to pay some attention to the very sensible words spoken, in a most impressive speech, by the President of the Institute of Actuaries, only a few days ago. Mr. Redington said: But the great danger, and the one on which I feel compelled to speak, is that the Labour proposals would give firm undertakings now on the assumption that the hazardous experiment of a funded national scheme will, in fact, succeed. I beg the Labour Party, in the national interest, to examine the long-term obligations to which they would commit the country on the assumption that their experiment of a fund succeeds and again on the assumption that it does not. Criticisms of the White Paper proposals have been, on the whole, that, if they err, they err on the side of moderation. I am glad that this should be so, because it is a very great responsibility for Governments to impose liabilities on future generations and make promises and pledges that it will be for future generations to honour. If the hopes of millions are built on schemes enacted by this House, it is only by great injury and wrong that relief can be obtained from the burdens so assumed. Therefore, it is surely right to proceed cautiously in this matter.

It is perfectly easy, as past experience has shown, to build up and expand schemes if it seems justified. It is extremely difficult, if we build them too big and promise too much, to cut them down. If we err on the side of moderation in this great change towards graduated pensions and contributions, I am sure that it is a fault on the right side, as opinion outside has endorsed. I believe that these proposals offer a firm and enduring foundation on which, over the years, we may build up a sound system of provision for old age, and it is in that spirit that I ask the House to consider them.

4.33 p.m.

Mr. H. A. Marquand (Middlesbrough, East)

I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: regrets that the White Paper on Provision for Old Age (Command Paper No. 538) makes no provision for raising the existing retirement pension immediately, nor for maintaining its purchasing power in future, and fails to provide a fully comprehensive system of national superannuation which will abolish poverty in old age". The Minister has explained his proposals to the House with great care and, as he said in his peroration, with moderation. It was a moderate explanation of a very moderate scheme. He asked us today, as he asked us in the debate on the Address, to approach this matter in the spirit of a Council of State, to have an exchange of opinion whereby, in the process of time, we could make up our minds, he could consider these things and take them back and draft his Bill in accordance with a discussion of that kind.

Unfortunately, although the right hon. Gentleman said that in the debate on the Address, and repeated it again today, he has placed on the Order Paper a Motion which makes nonsense of that request. He asks us to welcome his White Paper before we have had the exchange of views which he suggested we ought to have had, and before he has heard any of the criticisms and objections that we might advance from this side of the House. It is in view of this attempt to "jump the gun" and decide in advance what the House ought to think before the House has heard what he has to say that I am moving the Amendment.

In 1942–43 the whole nation was inspired by the Beveridge Report. It inspired the nation equally when an even more ambitious scheme than that propounded by Sir William Beveridge, as he then was, was put on the Statute Book. The nation was proud to think that it led the van of progressive and industrial nations in the provision for security in old age. It was generally agreed at the time that there should be at the end of five years' working of the plan a comprehensive review, but, unfortunately, we never had that review. We asked for it several times, but the Government were not interested. They had other things to do, other fish to fry, and they never gave us that review. Therefore, we in the Labour Party had to sit down and make our own comprehensive review.

We started work soon after the General Election of 1955 and we worked hard through many months. In May, 1957, we produced our plan. Let me say, in passing, that this is not a private scheme. This is the plan of the Labour Party, approved at its annual conference. We produced the plan in May, 1957, as I have said, and it was not until October, 1958, that we had the present plan from the present Government. It has taken them all that time, despite the previous undertaking to have a review at the end of five years. It was not until the Labour Party document was produced and circulated all over the country that right hon. Members opposite got down to preparing this new plan.

They have now produced and laid before the House a plan which I will not say immediately is inferior to the Labour Party's plan—I will come to that later—but inferior to plans now existing in other advanced industrial nations. Whereas we led the world in this matter in 1942–43, we are now asked to lag behind, for example, the United States and Germany. They have gone far ahead of our Government already and have placed on their statute books plans more ambitious, more far-reaching and providing better rates of benefit than the plan presented to us today.

The Minister said on 29th October, at col. 167 of HANSARD, that 13 million persons would be entitled to some form of wage-related pension under his new proposals. That represents 54 per cent. of the 24 million persons insured under National Insurance. For Germany, the corresponding figure is 77.5 per cent., and for the United States 84.4 per cent. These figures are to be found in the Year Book of Statistics of the International Labour Office. In coverage, then, the proposal now before us is far less comprehensive than the coverage already in existence and operating in two great industrial countries.

Let us take, as an example, a man earning £12 a week, which is about the average wage of industrial workers at present. According to the table in the White Paper, and on the assumption that he has a full working life from 18 to 65 years of age, his total pension at the end of that period will be 70s. a week for himself, which equals 29 per cent. of his earnings. If he is a married man the total pension will equal 42 per cent. of his earnings. In the German plan, after forty years of employment—not fifty —with earnings at the national average level, the benefit provided will be 60 per cent. of the wage level then current.

Sir Spencer Summers (Aylesbury)

Will the right hon. Gentleman also give the German contributions?

Mr. Marquand

I will come to contributions in a moment because, of course, they have a great bearing.

In the United States of America a man with average earnings of only 100 dollars a month would get a pension at the age of 65 of 55 per cent. of his earnings, whereas our low-paid worker on £9 a week gets only 28 per cent. if he is single and 42 per cent. if married. Even at the highest level at which graduated contributions under the Government scheme are to be permissible, the man with £15 a week gets only 30 per cent. pension if single and 40 per cent. if married. The man earning £20 a week will receive only 23 per cent. if single and 30 per cent. if married. So, in coverage, the White Paper proposes to leave us far behind the United States and Germany, and in benefits well behind.

Thus, the Government propose that we should not only lag behind Germany in the increase in industrial production, as we are doing at present, but that we should lag behind that country in our social services, also. If by an evil chance they were returned to power after the next General Election, we know very well that the next step they would take would be to ensure that we lag behind in our National Health Service as well.

As The Times shows in its first leader today, the methods of financing these plans are each different from the other. There is room for diversity—

Sir S. Summers

Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves that point, he undertook to tell us about the contributions paid in Germany. Would he kindly do so?

Mr. Marquand

The contributions paid in Germany are a fairly high percentage of the worker's earnings and an equivalent percentage from his employer. I admit that those total percentages are higher than the ones provided for either in the Government or in the Labour Party plan. The difference here is the amount of the contribution payable by the State.

The proposal of the right hon. Gentleman provides for a contribution payable by the State, so does ours, and whether the contributions are levied on work-people or on employers they have to be met out of the current production of the nation and paid over to the retirement pensioners, as the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Sir S. Summers) knows. It is purely a question of how large a provision we wish to make. The actual method of financing it as between employer and employed and State contribution can vary reasonably; every scheme need not necessarily have precisely the same proportion.

What matters is the will to provide for every citizen in old age, as is now provided by one means or another for civil servants, for teachers, for university professors, for executives in industry. Somehow, it is possible for this nation to provide for them satisfactory standards of living in old age, but we are told it is impossible to do this for everybody.

The real issue before us this afternoon is whether it is or is not possible to do it for everybody. We claim, as we say in our Amendment, a comprehensive system which will ensure the kind of treatment now recognised by the State to be entirely appropriate for civil servants, which is recognised by the State to be entirely appropriate for teachers, which is recognised by industry to be entirely appropriate for business executives, for the rest of the nation.

We have studied this question for a very long time. We have read with care the criticisms made of our proposals and the possible scheme worked out for us by Professor Titmuss and his associates. We have read the White Paper and we have read the many articles in a variety of journals which have discussed the White Paper and our own proposals. We remain convinced, after all this reading and careful study, that by means of contributions proportional to wages and salaries, paid by the employer, by the employee and by the State—if those three partners are all in it together in a proportional scheme, which, therefore, in total is proportional to the national income of the country at any time—far more satisfactory provision for pensions can be made than is made in these proposals.

We reject utterly the defeatist nonsense, inspired by zealous care for the interests of the insurance companies, that all the nation can do is to provide a basic minimum. That was all we felt able to do, perhaps, in the dark years of the war when Sir William Beveridge prepared his plan, but things are better now. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite are not going to tell us that they think the situation of the country is worse now than it was then.

After all the experience of the existing National Insurance scheme, surely the time has now come when we can go forward to a far bolder concept of what we can do for our people. We can say that though a basic national minimum was all that seemed prudent in 1942, in 1958 we have the courage of our convictions. We believe that we can create an expanding economy. We know that we know how to limit unemployment, how to maintain a high and stable level of employment. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite are not going to say they do not know that. In these new circumstances surely we can do something better.

In the debate on the National Health Service (Contributions) Bill and the National Insurance Bill of last year we argued that workers' contributions were too high for the lower-paid worker to bear, as the right hon. Gentleman reminded us this afternoon. The Government have admitted the validity of our criticisms by proposing now to reduce from 1961 onwards the contribution which they said last year was quite all right. For the worker earning less than £9 a week they propose to reduce it from 9s. 11d. to 8s. 4d., but that is still 4.6 per cent. of his wages, and that for a pension of only 29 per cent. of his income if he is single and 42 per cent. if he is married.

Not only that. The right hon. Gentleman neglected to remind us—pardon me if I am exaggerating, I do not wish to be unfair—that though this reduction from 9s. 11d. to 8s. 4d. is to be made in 1961 it is to be taken away in 1965. So it is not for a very long time that the worker is to enjoy this advantage. Also, there is no promise in the White Paper that the pension of £2 10s. for a single man and £4 if he is married is to be increased in 1965. The contribution is to be lowered in 1961, raised in 1965, but the pension is to remain the same. That argument in defence of the White Paper has not much validity and will not deceive anybody for long. The pension is 50s. a week for a single man, 80s. a week if he is married, and the Government propose to keep it at that for 7¾ million people.

The right hon. Gentleman said that some of the 7¾ million now included in the figure will one day be above the £9 per week level. I hope very much that they will, but others will come along and take their places. There will be more coming along very shortly to take their places when what we rather inelegantly call the "bulge" leave school. Indeed, the numbers will be greater in a few years' time than they are now, unless there is a pronounced rise in wages. So that to say that eventually some of the individuals who, at the moment, are told that they can get only 80s. a week pension for themselves and their wives when they retire are going to pass out of that band at some time or another is no defence of the exclusion of these people and is no contradiction of the fact that 7¾ million people are to be excluded from any graduated national superannuation by this scheme.

As we know, that particular level of pension, which, unless there is a substantial rise in the cost of living, will remain the same under these proposals—that particular level of pension of £2 10s. for a single man and £4 for the married—is the same level which, at present, requires more than 1 million retirement pensioners to resort to National Assistance, so that about 7¾ million people under this plan will always be in jeopardy of having to resort to National Assistance when eventually they retire. I shall have something to say a little later about National Assistance.

It is no good the right hon. Gentleman saying, as he did just now, as he said in the debate on the Gracious Speech, and as indeed he says in the White Paper, that he stands ready to increase this amount of £2 10s. and £4. I accept that undertaking. No doubt he does stand ready to increase it if the cost of living rises, but an increase merely proportionate to the rise in the cost of living would leave these people exactly where they were before. In real income, their standard of living will be the same, and, therefore, we say that that also is not a sufficient excuse for leaving them as they are. To leave their standard of living as it is today at a rate of pension which requires more than a million retirement pensioners to supplement their incomes by National Assistance is not to give the poorest groups in our community a fair share of the expanding wealth which they have helped to create.

It is for that reason that we reject it. It perpetuates what the right hon. Gentleman admitted, the existence of two nations in old age—those who have an inadequate pension, plus superannuation provided from some private insurance and therefore are able to live comfortably, and those who have nothing but their pensions, plus National Assistance and live miserably.

Even for the much larger numbers of people than these 7¾ million, the future under the right hon. Gentleman's scheme appears to be pretty bleak. The right hon. Gentleman must have read the interesting letter in The Times a few days ago from Mrs. Cole of the Department of Applied Economics at Cambridge University. He must have had the opportunity to read it, but he did not criticise or reply to it in any way. Mrs. Cole is a reputable economist, skilled in these matters, and her calculations, based upon the Government Actuary's Reports, lead her to this conclusion: Thus it appears that in 17 years' time very nearly two-thirds of the population of pensioners will still be receiving no more than 5s. above the present basic pension rate. It is difficult to imagine that, with an increase of 2 per cent. per annum in the national income (as the Government's proposals assume), we can ignore the claims of this group to a larger share of the cake. We cannot ignore them, and we are going to continue to press the claims of these people to a larger share of the cake, whatever may be said.

This may not be a breach of every principle contained in the Beveridge Report; but it is a breach of the most fundamental principle of all—the principle that we were all in it together. In 1942 and in 1953, we were all in it together. Everybody was going to contribute—practically every person in the country, except for the rather small numbers exempted on the grounds of very low income. Now, nearly 8 million workers are to be denied entry into what is presented to us as a new system of national superannuation—8 million second-class citizens, the untouchables of Tory Britain of the 20th century.

No wonder that these proposals have been denounced in the Land Worker, the official journal of the National Union of Agriculture Workers. I do not want to make too many quotations, but there it is, and the official organ of the Agricultural Workers Union, the vast majority of whose members now earn less than £9 per week, has protested against this plan. it will be very interesting to see tonight how many hon. Members opposite who sit for rural constituencies will walk into the Lobby behind the right hon. Gentleman.

The right hon. Gentleman produced two arguments in defence of his proposals. One is the argument of sound finance, and the other is the liberty of the individual. Does he really expect the House to believe that the finances of the United States social security plan, from which I have already quoted the rates of benefit and the coverage, are unsound? Does he want to claim that their system of social security denies their citizens life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? If that were so, the Social Security Act of the United States would have been ruled unconstitutional long ago by the Supreme Court. No one would deny that the United States is richer than we are; of course they are. They can pay higher benefits there, and I do not deny that, but that was not what the argument is about.

The argument is whether we can pay pensions proportional to earnings to all our citizens. Can we give to the poorest in the land the same type of pension as is now given to the middle and higher income groups in our society; whether, in short, the British people can do as well in this field as the Germans. That is the question we have to ask ourselves, and we say quite certainly that we can. It is perfectly possible to provide sound finance for a wage-related scheme provided that we do three things.

First, that we extend the coverage, upwards and downwards, in the income scale, as other nations do. Germany and the United States do it, so it is not impossible. Secondly, that we make the contributions and the benefits proportional to wages, subject to a floor below which nobody will fall and above which nobody will rise and above which nobody will have to contribute. Thirdly, that we make the State or Exchequer contribution proportional also to wages—not 2 per cent. of the minimum wage, as the right hon. Gentleman proposes. His contribution is to be 2 per cent. of £9 per week, and we say the contribution should be 2 per cent. of all wages up the scale.

There has always been by general agreement hitherto an acknowledgement that because a large number of persons who have never paid an actuarial contribution are receiving pensions, because that number is bound to increase very rapidly, and is beginning to increase rapidly already, because there is not available in the fund—which is the word which has been used hitherto—sufficient to cover this emerging cost, as it is technically known, the State must bear the burden of that emerging cost and the State must undertake what is also sometimes called the uncovered liability.

Now the right hon. Gentleman declares that the Exchequer liability must be limited in future. Hitherto it has been generally recognized—my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly, (Mr. J. Griffiths), who introduced the Act, confirms what I am saying—by both parties that the uncovered liability is the responsibility of the State. We all knew it would occur and that the cost would emerge. Now it is to be limited to £170 million. I admit that that is a larger figure than the present Exchequer contribution, but not very much. It is to be substantially limited. Therefore, said the right hon. Gentleman, it must be concentrated upon a reduction of the contributions of the lower-paid workers; a: deliberate concentration", he said in the debate on 29th October, of the Exchequer contribution upon those who need it most and not upon those who are able to provide for their own pensions."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th October, 1958; Vol. 594, c. 166.] If there were enough hon. Gentlemen opposite interested in the debate there would have been many cries of "hear, hear" when I read out that quotation.

The right hon. Gentleman also said that this was in line with the previous action of the Government when they reduced and finally abolished the food subsidies. I believe that it is in line with what the Government did—

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Will the right hon. Gentleman also read the passage in which I said how we used the money to increase social service payments to those who needed them most?

Mr. Marquand

I do not mind reading all that the right hon. Gentleman said, but I will accept his interpretation of it. I agree that he said that. We remember very well what happened in the 1955 Budget. There was a slashing of food subsidies. Where was the relief concentrated? In that Budget £100 million was concentrated upon the Income Tax and Surtax payers. Practically the whole of the relief, certainly the major part of it, to the Exchequer gained by cutting food subsidies was given to the Income Tax and Surtax payers. In 1957 it was even worse. The remainder of the food subsidies were then abolished and all the gain—£55 million—was concentrated, to use the right hon. Gentleman's words, on the Surtax payers, that most deserving class. Now, as the right hon. Gentleman has told us, the process is to be repeated.

This is what the Economist said on 18th October: The main feature of the scheme, indeed in some ways its whole essence, is that it is expected to save the Exchequer £99 million in its first year of operation, rising to no less than £428 million in 1981–1982. There is the relief to the Income Tax and Surtax payers. It is not given yet, but it is looming on the horizon if this kind of White Paper is put into a Bill which is placed by Parliament on the Statute Book.

The reduction of the contributions of the lower-paid workers—the so-called "concentration"—is to be for four years only, and the emerging cost, formerly the liability of the taxpayers, is to be met by a levy on 13 million workers earning more than £9 a week each. What is more, the heaviest part of that burden is to fall upon those earning less than £15 a week. It is to be concentrated as heavily as possible upon the middle range of working-class wage earners receiving from £9 to £15 a week. That is a social security tax and not a system of national superannuation at all, and it is a regressive social security tax because it is concentrated in that way on incomes below £15 a week.

Both the Government's plan and the Labour Party's plan are redistributive. Of course they are; all social services are redistributive. The right hon. Gentleman's plan redistributes in favour of the Surtax payer. Our plan redistributes in favour of the lower-paid worker. We have been criticised because we take rather more from the higher-paid worker and give a rather larger contribution than is strictly justified to the lower-paid worker. Of course we do, and we do it deliberately. We believe in that kind of redistribution. It is a redistribution which is desirable in the interests of maintaining family life and fair shares for all. The redistribution provided in the right hon. Gentleman's scheme is one going the other way, a redistribution in favour of the rich against the poor. The right hon. Gentleman claims that his plan is cheaper and ours is dearer. So be it; but ours is fairer and gives better value for money.

The financial structure described in the White Paper ensures the maximum of fiscal injustice. The Times did not go quite as far as that, but it almost did. It describes it as "a modest and somewhat crude form of Income Tax" and said that that might be no matter for shame. What is surprising"— said The Timesis the way in which the White Paper obscures the essential financial mechanism of the plan. It contains no actuarial data…The Labour Party, though lacking the Government's command of experts, was not afraid to publish the arithmetic of its pensions plan… That is The Times; it is not my eloquence.

We are still waiting for the arithmetic of the right hon. Gentleman's plan. When my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly complained, he was told that the Actuary's Report would accompany the Bill. That is rather unconvincing. It might have been acceptable if there was to be, as we understood, a general wide ranging discussion with a free expression of opinion without party ties from both sides of the House, and then a consideration of a Bill. It might be that the type and form of the Bill would be changed, but tonight the House will vote its welcome to the plan. We should have been allowed to have the arithmetic of the plan before the debate took place. Hon. Members opposite may sneer if they wish at the devoted and patriotic efforts of Professor Titmuss and his colleagues to try to serve the nation by working out the way in which our plan might operate. The Minister has forced the Government Actuary in this matter to be a defaulter!

The Times implied in the quotation which I have read that the Government's proposals were unjust. In its leader this morning it goes on to show that they are unnecessary. It says, and I agree with it: The increasing numbers of the old present no serious economic difficulty. In order to be brief I omit some words: As for the prospective increase over the next two decades in the Exchequer charge for insurance benefits, a mere 6 per cent. increase in national output could dispose of it without raking the level of taxation. If the Government's promises of a rise in national income, a rise in productivity, are to be fulfilled, there would be no necessity to provide that four years hence the Exchequer liability should be limited to £170 million. The Exchequer could meet it without raising taxation. The Exchequer would not be able to meet it, however, if taxation were previously reduced. It is obvious that it is because the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Prime Minister want to reduce taxation in the next Budget that they are now putting forward these proposals. They are afraid that if they keep the system as it is so that they can easily meet the bill when the time comes four or five years hence, they would not be able to give another bonus to their friends, the income Tax and Surtax payers, in the next Budget.

The Times confirms that this burden could be borne in a properly expansionist economy, and we are certain that it could more easily be borne in the kind of economy which we want to produce under the kind of pension plan that we have drawn up.

The Government are going to reduce taxation in the next Budget and are going to postpone until 1961 the raising of the contributions. Their plan is to say to the electors, "Here taxes are reduced and contributions for pensions are reduced" in order to try to win the Election and then, when it is all over, to come back and say, "Now the contributions are going up."

I base this very much on what the Prime Minister said in the debate on the Address. In an unguarded moment of candour the right hon. Gentleman gave the game away when he admitted that his plan was not an imitation of ours. The only resemblance it bears to ours is the provision for the transferability of pension rights on change of employment and for a small element of graduation. I accept that they are very sensible conditions on which schemes might be accepted for contracting out. We have no quarrel with them, but they are the only respects in which the Government's plan resembles ours.

What is done by taking these pieces out of the Labour Party's plan is to dress up a vicious piece of redistribution of the national income, to present it as a plan for deferred pay, and to try to sell it to the electorate. That is why the Prime Minister stole, as he said he had, two Wykehamist ties. What they may be, I would not know.

The question between us, when comparing our plan with the Government's plan, as the right hon. Gentleman very fairly said this afternoon—I must say that his remarks on this were very fair—is the basic, the most important and fundamental economic question of what is the best way of ensuring that the necessary savings are made which can make good the pensions when they come to be paid. We are now all clearly agreed that any system of National Insurance or superannuation for the future must seek to provide a sufficient volume of savings which can be translated into investment so that that investment can produce at a later stage goods which the old-age pensioners can buy with the money promised to them in the past.

One of the major arguments between us—not the only on—is whether the plans provide a sufficient volume of real savings. I believe that our plan is the greatest scheme of national saving ever put forward. I cannot agree with those who say that it must be inflationary because it is ambitious. It has been criticised on those grounds because, it is said, it cannot all consist of new savings, that these very considerable contributions will exceed outgoings for many years to come. Of course they must do that if they are to be savings and are to be translated into real investment.

It is also said that this ambitious plan is bound to be inflationary because it will not constitute a sufficient volume of real savings and that it will divert savings from elsewhere. I would not have assented to the plan if I had thought that it was too ambitious on those grounds. I believe that if properly presented as a plan it will be possible to achieve real savings in order to make the plan workable without inflation.

It is very surprising, when we come to people in any given occupational group who are not doing any very large volume of saving and offer them a new plan which involves a fairly high contribution with the promise of a good pension in the future, how readily they accept. I am not a great friend of the private schemes for obvious reasons, and particularly of private schemes instituted in the steel industry to try to win the steel workers away from their allegiance to the Labour Party and their belief in socialisation of the steel industry, but the example which I propose to quote is one which occurred quite recently. When Dorman Long, in the constituency next to mine, put forward to their employees a plan which involved an increased contribution of half a crown a week, one could hardly deal with the rush of people to vote for it. I believe that the extent to which people are genuinely willing to save for their old age now that the problems are better understood, and now that the greatly increased number of old people in the community brings us all into contact with old people and makes us conscious of the importance of this matter, is greater than it used to be. It is now possible to encourage wage earners to accept schemes of that kind just as it is possible to persuade university professors or teachers to do so. I believe that a vast new volume of savings will come. If there is a diversion, it will be a diversion from forms of saving which are not of much value and would not be translated into real investment.

The difference between our plan and the right hon. Gentleman's, plan is that his provides for a limited volume of savings, in other words, saying that that is all we can do and that we must leave the rest to private industry. The right hon. Gentleman's volume of savings is limited and is not much above what he needs in order to pay out the benefits. I do not say that that is in itself unsound; but because that is his kind of scheme he has no means of ensuring that the savings he makes are translated into investment. He has no control over them at all. The right hon. Gentleman's plan leaves it to the insurance company to make the choice of where the money shall go, what industry shall be expanded and whether the projects in which they are invested are worth while or not.

We, on the other hand, provide not a complete funding scheme but a substantial fund and confine it in the hands of trustees who will be charged, with some supervision by the Government, with ensuring that these savings are put into real investment and really yield the sort of income which the nation needs at the end in order to meet the requirements of the old-age pensioners when the money is paid out.

The other argument used was that of personal freedom. The right hon. Gentleman said: It is not our view that the machinery of the State should be used to compel people to make provision for their old age over and above a fairly modest and reasonable provision."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th October, 1958; Vol. 594, c. 168.] There is a familiar sound about those words. We read something remarkably like them in the criticism of the Labour Party's plan which was published by the insurance companies.

It would be tempting to speculate upon how this new form of Tory freedom works, upon why, for example, the Government recently compelled the teachers to pay 6 per cent. towards their pensions when they were previously paying 5 per cent., in addition, of course, to their National Insurance contribution. However, there is no time to go into that.

I want to ask one question only. How can one possibly square this alleged zeal for freedom with the proposal that the right of the individual to opt out of this "modest" State scheme, if he so wishes, into another scheme or to opt into the State scheme from an occupational scheme shall be limited by his employer's veto? We agree with the Government in allowing the right under conditions to opt out. Of course we do, since those conditions are the same as our own, but we cannot agree to deny him the right to opt in. If the right is given to opt out of the State scheme into a private scheme then it seems logical that the citizen should be given the right to opt out of a private scheme into the State scheme.

The whole profession of zeal for freedom is absurd while this is denied. We admitted in our plan that there are some difficulties about this and we suggested having an initial period in which every citizen would be given this right of opting into the State scheme. We said that the matter might have to be looked at again and that, perhaps, some method of democratic choice might be necessary. Democratic choice, however, is very different from a veto by the employer. We cannot regard the right hon. Gentleman as being completely consistent in his zeal for freedom when he denies this right.

I referred earlier to those who are now drawing retirement pensions. In February last year, and again in August, I moved on behalf of my party motions demanding an increase of their pensions. The Government at first resisted and then gave way and, in November last, increases were granted. We co-operated with the Government, we helped them to put through the necessary Bill with only three days' debate, but we were not satisfied then and we are profoundly disappointed now that the White Paper makes no change in the position of the retirement pensioner.

There has been some improvement, I admit, but there is still far too large a number of retirement pensioners needing to resort to National Assistance. That is the easiest test to take. It is the test which the former Mr. Osbert Peake used to take—and I always thought he was right in this—of the adequacy of the pension.

In June last, there were 4,830.000 retirement pensioners, but I calculate that 1,130,000 of them—nearly one-quarter—are now resorting to National Assistance. I will say what the calculation is. The September figure of allowances paid by the National Assistance Board to pensioners was 883,000. If we add to that 28 per cent. for spouses, which is the figure given in the Report of the National Assistance Board for 1957, the calculation is a fair one. I say that 1,130,000 retirement pensioners are resorting to National Assistance. The numbers went down in the early part of the year, but they rose again in September. It is far too large a number.

When winter comes with its darkness, its cold and its sickness, the burdens will become heavier to bear and the numbers resorting to National Assistance will, I fear, continue to rise. As the old-age pensioners face this on-coming winter, as they shiver before an inadequate fire or creep to bed to save their fuel and light, are they to be told that this nation, with its mounting stocks of unsaleable coal, can do no more to help them? When purchasing power has to be expanded to check an oncoming depression, the claim of these people is the first that ought to be met. Their incomes are the first which should be increased. As the spending spree develops in the Government's hire-purchase and easy-payment boom, are we to say to them that there are no new clothes for them, not even a little more meat or a little of the butter of which every European State now possesses a surplus? Are we to deny to them any improvement in their condition at this time, when the Government agree that purchasing power ought to be expanded?

Why not use this moment to give these old-age pensioners an improvement in their situation? What could be a better one? Nobody could say that to give the retirement pensioner another 10s. a week would be more inflationary than to give all the credit that is now being given to the hire-purchase finance houses. Which comes first, hire-purchase finance houses or the welfare of 1,130,000 of our fellow-citizens who, by definition, are living on the verge of poverty? That is why, in our Amendment, we say that we regret that the Government's plan contains no provision for an improvement in their condition.

What is needed is an immediate increase in the retirement pension so that pensioners can share in the general welfare of the community. What is needed is a guarantee of purchasing power of that amount in the years to come without the necessity for an Act of Parliament every time. The right hon. Gentleman said that this could not be done by means of a sliding scale based upon a cost of living index and that Parliament must be allowed to decide.

I do not object to that. Let Parliament decide. Let us bring the matter before Parliament, but let us undertake that there will be an annual review. Let us streamline the machinery. We can do it for National Assistance—we always do. We take an Order in Council, or a statutory rule or order, or whatever the title might be, for National Assistance increases. Why not then say that in future there will be a special index of the needs of retirement pensioners, that the amount of pension be now raised to £3 a week and that in future it be kept at a purchasing power equivalent to that, whatever the rise in prices may be? Let us do it by a streamlined method similar to that which we use for National Assistance, in order to guarantee to the retirement pensioners that minimum standard of living which we regard as decent in the middle of this twentieth century.

These are minimum incomes, and it is mere prudence to guarantee their maintenance at that level if it is only part of our war against unemployment, if it is only part of our full employment policy to guarantee that basic minimum. For the future pensions, we must provide, based upon that adequate minimum, a comprehensive system of National Insurance geared to the annual movement of the income of the whole community by making it proportional to wages which are paid. That is the way to do it.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

If that is the right way to do it, why did not the right hon. Gentleman and his friends tackle it that way in October, 1951?

Mr. Marquand

Now, we are to have 1951 as the last refuge of the Tory Party. If we are to have 1951 brought back for the next General Election, it will be 1931 as well that we will have to talk about.

Mr. Lindgren

The difference is that we have had seven years of Conservative Government and the country is now in a worse position.

Mr. Marquand

I have occupied much more time than I intended. I know that many of my hon. Friends wish to speak, and, possibly, some hon. Members opposite may also wish to take part in the debate, although very few of them seem to be interested.

To summarise, I say that the plan is conceived for a different purpose altogether than the one that it pretends to foster. It is a plan for redistribution of the national income and a bad plan, a regressive plan. It places the country well behind other advanced industrial nations. It fails to guarantee to the poorest in our community an adequate and decent standard of living. It is a bad plan. I invite the Minister, when the debate is over and he has listened to all that everybody has to say, to tear up his plan and to think again. If he will not do that, I tell him that it will be an outrage if he puts it on the Statute Book. He must take it first to the people and get their verdict.

5.29 p.m.

Sir Spencer Summers (Aylesbury)

As I listened to the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand), I felt that anyone who followed him from these benches might be easily tempted to discuss, as, no doubt, the right hon. Gentleman would wish, the merits of the Labour Party's plan for solving these problems rather than the Government's plan, which was so ably presented this afternoon by my right hon. Friend the Minister. I shall resist the temptation of being drawn into an elaborate discussion of the Labour Party's plan, to which the right hon. Gentleman made very frequent references. Suffice it to say that we on these benches differ fundamentally from hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the other side in their approach to these matters. They would compel everyone to join a universal scheme, whether they wanted to or not. We would regard it as going far too far in the field of compulsion to compel everybody to do that, as is inherent in the Labour Party's scheme. The Government's proposal distinguishes in that respect in a very important way.

The right hon. Gentleman made it clear that he would regard an attempt to reduce taxation as an undesirable and dangerous policy for any party. He has made it quite clear that his party does not stand for reduced taxation, and we shall not hesitate to take note of that fact when the time comes. I would only add that I think that he did himself less than justice when, in alluding to pension schemes in the steel industry, he sought to challenge the motive of those who brought them in. Let me tell him that the steel industry's record for management relations is second to none. They were brought in for good and proper reasons, and we resent the criticism and the doubts he cast without justification on those who did that.

Mr. Marquand

Is the hon. Member asking the House to believe that the pension plans in the steel industry are negotiated with the trade unions?

Sir S. Summers

The right hon. Gentleman asserted that the pension plans were brought in for political reasons to prevent renationalisation of the industry. Let me assure him that they were brought in for no such reason, and we shall be content to have them judged by the public on their merits.

I shall have some critical points to make on the scheme we are discussing this afternoon, and so, before I do so, I should like to make quite plain how much I would personally congratulate the Minister on one or two of the important features of this scheme. I do not believe that either this scheme or any alternative version of it will be half as popular in the country as many speakers would have us believe. For that reason, I regard it as courageous of the Government to tackle the problem of the mounting deficit in the years ahead now, rather than waiting until after the General Election. I think it is to the credit of the Government that they have not fallen for the temptation to put it off until the situation is considerably worse. I am glad, too, that they have avoided the temptation of competing with the scheme that was launched earlier by the Labour Party.

As we are taught in other fields, to me, in this field also, modesty and virtue go together. It is not necessary for me to take up time in strengthening the arguments which the Minister used for the virtue of graduated contributions and benefits. There is very little difference on either side of the House between the virtue of introducing that fundamental alteration in the National Insurance system as we know it now. I am glad that the Government recognise, even if hon. Gentlemen on the other side do not, the contribution made by occupational schemes to the social development of this country, but, as I shall seek to show—

Mr. J. T. Price

I should like to correct the hon. Member on one point. He is quite wrong in saying that we on this side of the House have made any wholesale condemnation of private occupational pension schemes. We have done nothing of the kind. I personally have negotiated hundreds of them, and I personally want to be left out of that charge.

Sir S. Summers

I am very glad to hear what the hon. Gentleman has said. But when scorn and contempt are poured on those who introduce them from right hon. Gentlemen on the other side, they have only themselves to blame if I draw the inference that I have done.

I am glad the Government have seen fit to put a ceiling on the compulsory element, and I am also glad that they have decided to leave out the self-employed. There is another reason, in addition to those already advanced, for leaving them out, namely, the very substantial additional contribution which they would be called upon to provide if they alone were to meet the cost of the benefits to which they might very properly look forward.

I want, in the limited time which I propose to take up, to deal with one or two of the worries that I personally have about the scheme as now drafted. First. I would draw attention to the two contributions which are to prevail for a single benefit—the contribution of 9s. 11d., which will continue to be paid by those who contract out of the scheme, and the contribution of 8s. 4d.—I am referring, naturally, to the men's figure only—which will be paid by those who do not contract out. Although there may be reasons, and, indeed, there have been reasons advanced for that distinction, I do not think it will be accepted or understood in the country why two different figures should be charged by way of contribution for a precisely corresponding benefit. I shall have suggestions to make in a moment as to how that difficulty could be overcome.

It can be argued that the man who will continue to pay will have some assistance through his employer outside. That does not seem to me a good enough reason for making a distinction both in his contribution and indeed of that of the employer. Secondly, I think it is a pity that the present contributions now payable are to be reduced. We are told that it results from the decisions, the very proper decisions, of the Government to distribute the bulk of the advantage of the Exchequer contribution to the lower-paid workers and a lesser amount, tailing right off, as I understand it, at those earning £15 a week, which has made possible a smaller contribution from the people under £9.

I believe that in future we shall need all the resources we can get to maintain this system without further change without reducing the contributions now paid on the lines indicated in the White Paper. I shall have reason for enlarging upon that in a few moments. Apropos of the two contributions, it is surely going to be an objection on the part of employees in occupational schemes, when consulted by their employers as to whether or not they shall contract out, to be told that if the company with which they are associated contracts out they will have to pay a higher contribution to the scheme than if it did not. That would seem to me to put a premium on objections to contract-mg out, which is the one thing that the Government, I understand, would hope to happen, so that inherent in the scheme is a brake on the tendency to contract out, which I imagine is one which the Government would welcome because it would mean more and more private schemes coming up to the standard demanded by the Government.

Then there is the point that this plan in the White Paper is based on the assumption that there will be an increase of only 2 per cent. per annum in the earnings of our people in this country. Of course it would be politically dangerous, I admit, to put a very much higher figure than that in any White Paper because critics would point to that figure and say that the Government were planning for a future with inflation in it. But even despite that, I think that we are deluding ourselves if we support the proposition based on a 2 per cent. rise when all the evidence goes to show that it will inevitably be substantially more than that. Taking the evidence of recent years, it is between 6 per cent. and 7 per cent.

We must not forget that when, as a result of negotiations between the two sides of industry it is said that an increase of 2 per cent., 3 per cent. or some other figure is granted, that increase is in respect of rates, and it invariably happens that the earnings come out at a higher percentage than the rates because of the effect of time-and-a-quarter, time-and-half and double-time. It is therefore now being assumed that the actual changes in rates negotiated by the collective machinery will be less than 2 per cent. per annum if earnings of 2 per cent. are expected to come out as a result.

However much they may have disapproved of it, nobody imagined that the statement made by Lord Chandos—that science should enable many industries to pay 2½ per cent, more to their workers, in actual terms, without affecting inflation —was ludicrous. I do not want to debate the merits of that proposition, which I do not support; I quote it purely as an illustration of the fact that future earnings increases will be substantially higher than the 2 per cent. referred to.

If something more than 2 per cent. comes out, what will be the result? In page 23 of the White Paper we are told that certain changes in the calculations would result from every 1 per cent. extra that came about. I am not concerned with that; I am concerned with the fact that a process will be going on—slowly if at 2 per cent. and more rapidly if at a higher percentage—of people coming up against the ceiling of £15 a week. Although it may be argued that more and more people are coming in at the bottom because of the so-called inelegant "bulge", eventually, because wages are going up and up, there will be fewer people earning less than £9 and more earning more than £15, so that the principle of graduation which is inherent in this proposition will diminish with every year that passes, as the percentage of earnings increases.

At present, the average wage is about £12 13s., which is a little more than half way through the grid, if I may call it that. In all the examples to which I refer I am dealing only with men. About one-fifth of the men that we are discussing have earnings below the graduated scheme level, but they will no doubt come in as they get older, and the same process will apply to about one-third of the men whose earnings are above the graduated scheme. Those proportions will change materially every year, and they will change faster if 2 per cent. proves to be inadequate. We are not taking seriously enough the consequence of this move up and up through the fixed grid, for the reasons that I have just given.

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

I hope that what I want to say will not divert the hon. Member from his argument, to which we are listening with interest, but would he say what is his own personal objection—leaving aside the Government objection—to meeting that difficulty by having a comprehensive scheme at the beginning and so avoiding the bulges at both ends?

Sir S. Summers

I shall give my constructive suggestion for taking care of that situation, but I would rather do it in my own time.

The next difficulty that I see is that too much reliance is being placed upon firms or individuals contracting out. First, one-third of the occupational schemes are non-contributory according to the survey made by the Government Actuary, and I cannot see any reason why an existing non-contributory scheme should be altered in the slightest if it does not conform to the Government's conditions. It will have been built up for a particular purpose and it might be that the scheme was as extensive in scope as was thought reasonable at the time, having regard to various considerations, such as the resources of the company concerned. The employee will not have contributed to it. Those non-contributory schemes which do not qualify are not likely to be altered and are not likely to form part of the schemes where contracting out may be required.

It is pointed out that many schemes are very nearly good enough to satisfy the Government conditions and that if they were improved in this or that respect they would qualify. The assumption is that if it is not too costly to both sides to bring a scheme up to the required standards, contracting out will be applied for and granted. I believe that many will take the view that even though that may be an acceptable operation now if the test which a contracting-out scheme has to pass is raised again in five or ten years' time it will become possible for schemes to be compulsorily increased each time the State feels it necessary.

Mr. R. E. Winterbottom (Sheffield, Brightside)

One has to remember that many of the contributory schemes which now exist and which may not be quite up to Government requirements already guarantee a certain pension and that if those schemes were completely scrapped many of the employees concerned would be brought on to a Government scheme which provided a lower pension. Therefore, some difficulty would be experienced within the firm itself in that respect.

Sir S. Summers

The hon. Gentleman has referred to schemes being scrapped. I am not forecasting that schemes will be scrapped; I am saying only that I think that people will be nervous about improving their schemes in order to entitle them to contract out because of the fear that still more demanding conditions may be imposed in five years' time. Many of the people concerned will say "Let us go on and not contract out. Let the employees have the benefit both of the graduated State scheme and the one we are running at present." I mention these matters as points which it may be useful for us to regard in their proper proportions.

The State scheme provides a benefit for widows, and there will be many thoroughly desirable schemes in industry which do not feature that benefit. I calculate that this scheme, translated into terms which are frequently used in connection with industrial occupational schemes, means 10d. a week for every year of service. In other words, 10d. a week will be added to the pension for every year of service when the benefit finally becomes payable. There are many industrial schemes where 9d. a week for each year of service is the amount by which a pension is augmented.

I want to mention the changes that I should like to see examined because I think that they would do away with some of the difficulties to which I have alluded, without in any way violating the excellent principles on which the scheme stands. I would start the scheme at £10 and not £9. If the scheme started at £10 and at 9 per cent., instead of 8½ per cent., the contribution would be 18s. combined, instead of 18s. 2d. In other words, for practical purposes the contribution demanded under the scheme would be no less than is demanded now. There would be no difference between the two types of contributor—the man who contracts in and the man who does not—or between the present contribution, which people have got used to, and the one that would be demanded of them.

If in fact it were carried to £15 as now, admittedly on a narrower grid, I calculate that the contributions would, in effect, be what they are now at the beginning; and they would rise, not by 10d. for each £, but by 11d. and when £15 was reached the figure combined would be 27s. 2d. instead of the present figure of 25s. 6d. The individual would be paying a combined contribution of 14s. 5d. on £15 instead of the present combined contribution of 13s. 5d. so that he would pay 1s. a week more under the change which I have suggested than he is now called upon to pay.

People have become used to the present contribution, and I think that more and more as the years go by we shall find that these schemes will not stand the test of the public conscience ten years after they have started. Conditions may have changed or prices altered. Perhaps people will be devoting more of the national resources to things of this kind than they were. All that suggests to me that we ought not to be planning to relieve the scheme by cutting down contributions at present, because we shall need them all to do justice in five or ten years' time. But having suggested ways out of the dilemma to which I have alluded, I would say that the Government are to be complimented and congratulated on the courage they have shown in not emulating the plans of the Socialist Party, which I am certain would be neither popular nor good for the country.

5.52 p.m.

Mr. Robert Woof (Blaydon)

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in this debate. I hope that the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Sir S. Summers) will forgive me if I do not follow him in the ideas which he has placed before the House for the improvement of the Government pension scheme. I wish to make some observations on the proposals outlined in the White Paper.

It is obvious that the Government are now surging forward with a programme of surprises in order to put the electorate in good heart and to defeat what has been suggested are the maneouvres of the Opposition on the occasion of impending by-elections. The highest praise which I can bestow on the proposals contained in the White Paper is that they have attracted considerable attention. Millions of people are concentrating their attention on different aspects of these proposals, but while the topical aspects dominate the picture which they create in the mind of the public there is also much which obscures the real situation.

One expects in a debate such as this a wide range of figures and statistics to be quoted to indicate the broad trends on which the income and expenditure of a national scheme would operate. It is also recognised that in the provision of adequate benefits from a national superannuation scheme the burden must be carried by grading contributions from employer and employee and by the provision of Exchequer grants so that such a scheme may be put on a sound basis and pensions scales operated at a proper subsistence level. A start must be made somewhere, but we have learnt from experience that every new scheme is accompanied by teething troubles and is open to criticism. My criticism is contained in the terms of the Amendment, in the name of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition and other right hon. and hon. Friends, that the White Paper makes no provision for increasing help to old-age pensioners.

We who come into contact with present-day pensioners know that their lives are bound up with little things and that smiles and kindness win their hearts. The old Indian proverb that an empty bag cannot stand up may be applied with truth to the position of present-day pensioners. No one may be complacent about the frightening and miserable position in which many pensioners find themselves. In the White Paper the Government seek credit for lightening the burden of the old-age pensioners by means of Income Tax reliefs, We may think it right and proper that any benefits which are available should be enjoyed by the older people, but we should not forget that the incomes of the vast majority of them do not attract tax exemption.

I believe that a great many old-age pensioners are victims of the rent, interest and profit system which has priority over any consideration to protect them in their old age. When the proposals in the White Paper are applied to this moral and social problem it would appear that the pensioners will have to continue to sing, as the old song says, It's the poor that help the poor. This can only result in stimulating old-age pensioners and their sympathisers to intensify their campaigning for an adequate pension.

We are now experiencing a wave of ideas from the Government to encourage the British people to fulfil their hopes and ambitions. They are promised that the efforts of the Government will be continued in order to secure the freedom and status of the individual. This can, of course, mean that the wounds of insecurity in old age must be cured, but, if I understand the phrase "the status of the individual" correctly, then, by judging their incomes, occupations, material possessions, pensions, or even their culture and standard of education, we shall find that for some people there will be a great deal of happiness and satisfaction, based on security of pension and success of their future careers.

Having submitted that short and humble analysis, I cannot fail to note the words on page 10, paragraph 31, of the White Paper, which are: Without the prospect of steady economic advance the outlook for the increasing pensioner population would be grave indeed. But the Government, firmly confident in the strength and expansion of the British economy, feel fully justified in bringing to the support of the pensions scheme some of the proceeds, measured in terms of the national wages bill, of that expansion. The Government are very careful to stress this vital part of their scheme, but one cannot help but express the differences of emphasis which were made last week in the important unemployment debate, when alarming and intolerable deficiencies were disclosed with velocity of thought.

One really wonders what hope, optimism and enthusiasm there can be for those who are looking forward to playing their part in a national superannuation scheme but are actually living an existence of insecurity. I thought it rather significant that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour should reveal, during the weekend, the alarming amount of unemployment among young persons throughout the country. This hunt for work is not without precedent among young people, and we know that those who are engaged at the present time as youth employment officers are putting their experience to practical use. They are showing responsibility in applying their essential experience, with guidance as its main aim. This they do by offering advice in obtaining openings for work and on the choice of employment. They are, however, now facing a melancholy fact.

I cannot pretend to prophesy, but, if the present trend continues, the reactions from the shortcomings of the annual contributions of such a scheme as we are considering will threaten the financial stability of the scheme. Whatever ideas there may he in this creative endeavour to establish a national superannuation scheme, one thing is inevitably clear. It is that this scheme of action cannot be separated from the economic battle. The fulfilment of this task is even declared in the conclusions of the White Paper which says, in paragraph 75 on page 18: Any improvement in the provision for the old necessarily enlarges their claim on the national economy in the future. This, I am afraid, hits at the pensions scheme with special force. A serious attempt to change the whole direction of economic policy would be gladly welcomed.

Millions of people regard this as of paramount importance in looking forward to the prospect of security in their old age. Thousands of people in Durham County are living a life of anxiety owing to the changing exhaustion and diminishing vend of certain parts of the coalfield. In spite of difficulties and rumours of uncertainty, many of my constituents show a remarkable enthusiasm at being given a chance to contribute to a national pensions scheme. Even so, many of them are working with foreboding in their day-to-day activity in mines that have reached their zenith and are verging upon decay, after having expended their strength of production. Other mines have reached the stage of activity beyond which they cannot advance. The uncertainties of their weekly work and weekly income can be traced from locality to locality.

Unless there are as yet unforeseen developments, their prospects for future employment and security in old age will become a forlorn hope. Experience has proved, not once or twice but repeatedly, that where insecurity is the rule there is great need to obviate the grave demoralising effects. For various reasons, I feel unable to escape the conclusion arrived at by the American economist, Frank P. Graham, that "It is impossible to give men heaven; it is easy to give them hell." The surest way to avoid hell, in trying to render nugatory the claims of hardship and distress, is to open up the narrow limits both for old and young and to give them effective opportunity for new means of livelihood that will enable them to contribute to a pension scheme such as is before the House now. That can be done by affording them a new means of livelihood that can ensure a really valuable pension in the future.

6.8 p.m.

Mr. Arthur Tiley (Bradford, West)

I am very happy to address the House after the hon. Member for Blaydon (Mr. Woof). It is right that he should have made the point which he made so well that all these schemes depend upon the economic security of the country. It is important to bear that in mind when we are considering the schemes which are being discussed.

It is impossible to compare these schemes, because they are not alike in any way. One would make extravagant use of millions of pounds while the other faces up to the requirements of our economy. Surely the intelligent approach to the problem is that we should consider the effect of these schemes on workers, on industry and, most important of all, upon our economy as a whole.

I wonder if for a moment I might introduce a personal note. In my constituency at the last General Election there lived Miss Florence White. She was one of my constituents and I think that in the election she asked me more questions than all the other constituents put together. We are discussing pensions and she has for a whole lifetime worked for spinsters. I know that hon. Members on both sides of the House will join me in wishing her a happy retirement with thanks for all the work she has done in the spinsters' cause.

I have a personal interest in the subject under discussion. All my life I have been in business in insurance. In ordinary parlance, I am an insurance man, the man we occasionally hear about who collects "tuppence per person per week, perhaps". I speak from a practical knowledge of these schemes—not from a purely academic interest—because I have been present when many of these schemes were born. I ought to declare another interest. I am a member of a pension scheme which I think has the reputation of being the worst in the world. It is the one we regulate for ourselves here in the House of Commons. I think one of its conditions is that if an hon. Member is starving, someone rushes with a bowl of soup to assist him.

The booklet "Labour's Policy for Security in Old Age," which I have read with very great interest, proposes to alter all that. I think hon. Members should consider the size of the contributions they would be called upon to pay. One of the first things any prospective member of a pension scheme asks is, "How much do I get out of it; how does it affect me?" My right hon. Friend, in an admirable speech, showed a comprehensive grasp of all the technical details which was amazing. We followed with great interest his splendid portrayal of the technical details of this difficult subject. He said that we are self-employed, and so we are. We have as wages £1,750 a year, although we do not get all that because a large measure goes in expenses. This scheme for the self-employed sets out a contribution of 8 per cent. I hope hon. Members on both sides of the House realise the immensity of these proposals. It means that from the commencement of the scheme, if unhappily it is ever launched on the country, all of us would pay £140 a year.

Mr. G. W. Reynolds (Islington, North)

The hon. Member seems to fall into exactly the same trap as the Minister did. He said he had read the Labour Party's policy statement. May I draw his attention to the fact that with reference to the self-employed person it says quite definitely: further consideration of this particular aspect of the matter would be necessary before a final decision was reached. It is a little unfair for the hon. Member to try to give out that a decision has been reached by the Labour Party when the party enters a definite caveat that the matter will have to be looked into further.

Mr. Tiley

I am grateful for the interruption, because it helps my case. In the analysis at the back of the booklet are set out the receipts we may expect from the scheme and on the credit side is a token sum of £90 million which is calculated as 8 per cent. of the estimated earnings of the self-employed persons. If I remember accurately, the amount is £1,125,000,000, 8 per cent. of which is £90 million. The hon. Member says that his party has not made up its mind, but it has included in the analysis of the receipts £90 million. If that amount is not achieved in ten years, £900 million will not have been collected and the scheme will be bust and bankrupt. It is important for all of us to comprehend the size of the contribution. It is £140 a year and, if we are lucky enough to be Members of this House from the age of 35 to 65, in that period of thirty years we shall have contributed £4,200, and many thousands of pounds will have been added to those contributions in interest.

Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)

The hon. Member obviously has had wide experience in the insurance field. Can he tell us what a self-employed man would have to pay for a comparable insurance with a private insurance company?

Mr. Tiley

I shall deal with that. I am sorry that the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) should think that I should burke that question. I can assure him that in the private insurance field every self-employed man, at any age, irrespective of income, can get a better deal in the private insurance market than that which this scheme provides. An hon. Member of this House would contribute £4,250, plus thousands of pounds in interest, and at the age of 65 he would get £15 a week maximum pension. That is a point which the right lion. Member should remember. If a Member dies before he is 65 almost all those thousands of pounds would have gone. His widow would receive a slightly higher benefit in her weekly pension. A Member would have paid his life savings, but he could not get £100 in cash to meet an emergency if in his later years his wife was ill.

Mr. J. T. Price


Mr. Tiley

May I first finish with the right hon. Member for Llanelly? In the private insurance field if a man dies a week before he is 65 every penny he has contributed would be returned in one lump sum, plus interest. I did not intend to try to sell any schemes, but I was provoked into doing so. Can hon. Members say with their hands on their hearts that they want this huge deduction, of nearly £3 per week, tied up in a scheme over which they have no control? It needs an effort to deal with this pensions problem, but not an effort so great as that.

Mr. R. H. S. Crossman (Coventry, East)

May I make a short point of explanation? The hon. Member mentioned that hon. Members might do better with a private insurance company as they are self employed. He will have observed in our report that if they would like to dc so there is no objection to their doing so if they make it irrevocable. We have made it quite clear that any private arrangement would be valid for the self employed, and if such a person thought he would be better off in a private scheme he would be entitled to join it.

Mr. Tiley

I am happy to have that explanation. As the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) was one of the instigators of the scheme, why did he include £90 million income from those people who can do better outside the scheme?

Mr. J. T. Price

I know that the hon. Member is a very fair-minded man. He is putting a difficult argument simply and forcefully. I did not hear his earlier remarks and I apologise for that, but I want now to deal with his mathematics. The hon. Member has quoted a particular case and has said that the accumulation of contributions would be about £4,200 over a lifetime of 30 years. There would be some interest added to it and in return the pension payable would be about £15 a week, which is £780 a year. On capital values, at age 65, allowing ten years' purchase, that is equivalent to a capital payment of £7,800 to £8,000, against the £4,200 of contributions mentioned. A man would have to get a lot of interest to make up the margin. I know that the hon. Member does not want to be unfair and I have merely dealt with his mathematics.

Mr. Tiley

The hon. Member is showing a lack of knowledge of the way that premiums paid in private insurance grow. In a private insurance scheme of that period of years, the capital sum at 65 would be approximately £9,000. It is also very important that we should never forget that under the Labour Party's proposals, if a man dies at 64¾, the whole sum is confiscated and the family's life savings are gone. A deduction of £3 a week in those circumstances is very large.

I have read all the text books for this exercise. The booklet "Labour's Policy for Security in Old Age" would have been better entitled, "Tales of Cross-man", or simply, "If". I have read the Government Actuary's splendid Report and I have read the White Paper. In answer to the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand), I must say that over many years' experience I have not found that people rush to join pension schemes. Young people do not rush to join them. It is when a man reaches 55 that he begins to consider saving for old age. There is no queue for saving and there is no queue at the Prudential. Any queue which does occur is at the post office for football pool postal orders. When one is 30, the age of 65 seems a very long way off.

I was very glad that the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. J. T. Price) dissociated himself from the criticisms of the operations of the life offices. If the Labour Party's scheme, or the Government's scheme, is to succeed, much will depend on the conditioning and education of the public by British life offices over a generation. The idea of saving has to be sold and much is owed to the 40,000 companies who, without compulsion and without legislation, have introduced pension schemes for the benefit of more than 5 million workers.

We have heard jibes and criticisms directed against the schemes of the insurance offices. Those criticisms should cease, for the insurance offices have been educating our countrymen to save and that education has proceeded for 200 years. No praise for that work is given in the Labour Party's booklet and no speeches have been made about the efforts of private business to secure pensions for employees. Many firms and companies do not have these pension schemes but, at the wish of their employees, they operate cash bonus schemes and profit-sharing arrangements, which the employees have voted for and which they prefer to having a pension at 65.

There are two reasons for the growth of these schemes. One is obviously that employers wish to keep their staffs. Why not? That is not a shocking thing. If one has a staff of which one is proud, one wants to retain it. I should have thought that that was a state of mind which we should all want to induce in employers. The second and most important reason is that, during my lifetime, employers have accepted a greater responsibility for the well-being of their employees. We have passed the time when these matters were not considered by the heads of firms and by directors in their board rooms. The happiness of thousands of families depends on private employers, and I am glad that they have accepted the responsibility.

The right hon. Member for Llanelly would say that employers had done that merely to save tax. The other day he said that the cost to the Exchequer of these schemes was £100 million a year. What a pity he did not say that it was £200 million, at which figure almost the whole problem would have been solved. Many millions of £s have been paid by employers into schemes to arrange for past-service pensions for workmen who were over the ages of 55 or 60 when the schemes began. Millions of £s have been paid in that way without contributions from the workers. It is right that that should have been the case, for those workers have contributed to the growth of the companies concerned. However, the employers had no legal liability. This has been one of the most unsordid acts in British industrial history.

During our long Recess, from which we have all returned revitalised, not a single question about pensions was put to me. Nobody lives nearer to his constituents than I do, because I live with them and when I am in the North, I work with them, play with them, and pray with them. At all my meetings I did not get a single question about pension schemes. After the initial publicity, interest waned, because men began to see what the cost would be and what would be the deductions from their wage packets.

I have no doubt that the men in our factories often consider vital statistics, but they are not the statistics of actuarial calculations. They are concerned with permutations. One of the great faults of the way the Labour Party plan has been presented is that it fails to show people easily what benefits they will get. It is simple for the well-paid journalist to assess his pension, because he will be on the maximum, bust when it comes to finding what ordinary mortals will get, the sums are worse than anything I have found since I passed the 11-plus examination. It would have been an improvement for a slide rule and formula to have been included so that ordinary folk could have calculated their pensions. I have no doubt that the cost of that could have been met if on one side of the slide rule had appeared the words, "Be a Mackeson type and live to enjoy your pension".

As has been admitted, the Labour Party's scheme is not an actuarial assessment of the vexed problem of dealing with old age. It is a brilliant essay, and the hon. Member for Coventry, East and the other people who have produced it deserve high praise for the thought that has been put into it. With the information that was available,to them, it must have been a very difficult job indeed, and I should like to pay my tribute.

This publication has some very important things in it. Whatever the Socialist propaganda may say, whatever the speeches of hon. Members opposite, delivered either in this House or in their divisions, may try to imply about a half-pay pension at 65, the book makes it clear—it is thoroughly honest about it—that a man can have that pension only if he is at school now; that he can have a pension of this nature at 65 only if he has worked for it, and that he can have a pension of this size only if he has paid and saved throughout his life. It has established those important points.

We, on this side, have been saying that in our propaganda for years. At long last we see it here—but it is not in the Socialists' propaganda speeches or leaflets.

The booklet says something else. Fortunately, the words that I want to quote are in the introduction. I say that that is fortunate, because I should imagine that not many people will go on to the bitter end of this highly technical essay. It says: We would emphasise, however, that the much more generous provision for old age which we propose will demand both self-restraint and hard work from the rest of the community. If the old are enabled to spend more, the rest of us will have that much less to spend"— How important it is that we should all realise that, because it establishes a wage freeze, imposes restraint, and reduces our standard of living. We are to be poorer—the book says so. Then follows the most important point—and I must say that I am helping the Opposition's case in reading this, because the strength of my own argument is so great: unless we make up the loss by increased national production. Where does the cost of all this come from? It amounts, in all, to 10 per cent. There is 8 per cent. from the wage bill —made up of 3 per cent. from the employee, and 5 per cent. from the employer—plus the 2 per cent. State contribution. There is only one source for this income. That source lies in the goods that we make, and sell at home and abroad—and to sell abroad is more important than to sell at home—

Mr. George Lawson (Motherwell)

Will not the hon. Member agree that his arguments apply as precisely to the private schemes as to the State schemes?

Mr. Tiley

The private schemes have come into operation, not by compulsion on a fixed day but by being gradually brought into operation as a trade or an industry found itself able to make provision for pensions—

Mr. J. Griffiths

The money comes from the same place—all from the production of wealth.

Mr. Tiley

Yes, that is true. There is only one place. It comes from the goods we make and the goods we sell.

I think of the difficulties at present apparent to all in Lancashire, and in my own West Riding. Many of my friends are trying at this moment to sell textiles in all corners of the world. Many of the mills are on short time. I wonder what would be the effect on all those men, on all that trade, on all those orders, if the message were sent that, on a certain day. prices were to be advanced by 5 per cent. or 6 per cent. because of this scheme.

It is impossible to divorce the two questions. We have to sell our goods. We have to be competitive. We have the European Common Market confronting us. Is this the time compulsorily to put such a load on the earning capacity of workers and employers in industry? I submit that it is not. The Opposition scheme is inflationary, and hon. Members opposite realise that it is inflationary. That is why they now promise to put up the present pension of 50s. to £3. I have always thought that a pension of 50s. from the Conservatives was equal in purchasing power to one of £3 from the Socialists.

What humbug it was for the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Middles-brooch, East to speak of the plight of the pensioners. It is no good going hack to 1951 and leaving it there. The important years were those between 1946 and 1951, when nothing was done to aid these poor old folks. Now the right hon. Gentleman talks with such deep affection for them. What humbug was that portion of his speech—and the old-age pensioners realise that, too—

Mr. Marquand

Since the hon. Member uses such a strong expression, I may point out, perhaps, that he knows perfectly well that I did not have time to deal with all that 1951 business. I am not sure whether the hon. Member was in this House in February, 1957. If he was, he had an opportunity to hear from me the full case about 1951. If he was not, perhaps he will read that speech.

Mr. Tiley

I have attended all the debates on this subject since I came here three and a half years ago. I never miss them. We are all interested in this subject. We all have parents. Some people may have their mink coats and their Rolls Royces, but we, on this side, have dads and mums just as have hon. Members opposite. This generation of mine has done a cruel thing to the old folks, but devaluation did not occur in the years of Conservative administration. Indeed, it was the duty of a Conservative Government to restore the balance for the pensioners.

The horrid thing in those years—when we were spending money that we did not earn—was that those who did save had a sense of insecurity. They dared not spend the money they had saved for old age because of fears of dwindling money value. Apart from increasing the pensions, the best thing that the Conservatives have been able to do has been to stabilise the cost of living, and the worst thing that we could do would be to introduce legislation to force up prices. That is why the country will not accept this Opposition scheme.

I am sorry that I am talking somewhat at length, though there have been interruptions, of course, but I want now to deal with two or three technical points. Great excitement was caused the other day when the hon. Member for Coventry, East intervened on the subject of the compulsion there will be on some employees to be in certain schemes. We ought to look at this question broadly—and I also think that my right hon. Friend should reconsider the matter, because it is irksome to all of us to see compulsion anywhere in such matters.

It is important to bear in mind, however, that the interest of the worker is not in any way influenced by that compulsion, because the fact that a scheme is in being and that the man is compelled to be in it means that it is better than the scheme that the State is supplying. If a scheme is worse than the State scheme, it will come to an end or be improved. Therefore, the idea of prejudice arising from compulsion does not arise. We ought to be a little careful how we discuss this, because one of the effects of the imposition of a scheme on the lines suggested by the Opposition might well be to bring to an end some better schemes than are presently being enjoyed by workers everywhere.

Another practical point about compulsion is this. Employers use it because they are in the same difficulty as we, as a country, find ourselves; the difficulty is that one can deal with pensions in this way only by making people of twenty come into a scheme in addition to older employees and stay in it throughout their working lives. That is one of the reasons for the compulsion.

The other reason is, in itself, very interesting. In nearly all the private schemes, there is a life assurance benefit.

Mr. Crossman

indicated assent.

Mr. Tiley

I am glad to see that the hon. Member for Coventry, East agrees. The life assurance benefit is given without medical examination and usually free, and this simple fact gives a great advantage to those with bad health, to those with bad hearts, perhaps, to those who have suffered from cancer or some such disease, inasmuch as they can come into the scheme without prejudice. I have seen literally many hundreds of £s paid as death claims under this heading on the commencement of schemes before the ink on the documents putting them into force was dry. There can be that opportunity only if there is no choice. The good have to come in with the bad, because the life offices which give the cover give it without medical examination on condition that all come in. If it were otherwise, the selection would go against them; the bad lives would select, and many of the good ones would stay outside. If there is compulsion, it is there only in the interests of the worker.

One of the great disadvantages in private schemes, of course, is their lack of mobility and the prejudice to members of them in the event of their leaving the service of particular employers. I am very glad to see it said, in paragraph 20 of the White Paper, that: It is important from the national point of view that such schemes should not prevent that degree of mobility of labour…which is needed…It is also desirable that contributions set aside for an individual's old age should remain saved for that object, and not be dissipated on a change of employment. In almost every one of the private schemes, there is a provision in these, or very similar words: If before the normal retiring age"— which is usually 65— a member leaves the service of the company of his own accord, a refund of all contributions paid by him will be made or a pension starting at his normal retiring date of the amount secured by his own contributions already paid. I ask my right hon. Friend the Minister to use his influence with the proprietors of all these private schemes so as to make sure that, if a member leaves, he takes with him as a paid-up pension his own contributions and the contributions paid for him by his firm during his service as a member of the scheme. If that were done, we could remove the destroyer of pension rights, the cash option. I assure the House that the cash option is put in only as an enticement to people to join. It is given to them because the question they ask, as they surrender their money is, "What shall we get out of it?", and one is able to say, at the inception of a scheme, "You can always have your money back". There have been many instances of men leaving companies with pension schemes merely in order to get their money back. It would be a very simple matter, by legislation and arrangement, to have the cash option taken out of these schemes, a paid-up pension, by a very simple operation, being placed in cold storage, as it were, until a man is 65.

I apologise for having spoken for so long. I have many other comments which I should like to add on this subject, but I will conclude by saying that I welcome the White Paper. I hope that it will be the basis of a successful Bill. I compliment my right hon. Friend on the way that this very important matter is being tackled. I hope that, if we do not do anything extravagant, we shall have money available to deal more generously with some of the hard cases among pensioners—war pensioners, widows, those suffering from industrial injury, and those stricken by illness early in life who have their families to maintain. There is great scope here. We should not devote all our money to those who are fit and well and capable, in many cases, of making their own provision, but we should encourage schemes augmented by employers. I welcome the White Paper, and I wish my right hon. Friend every success.

6.45 p.m.

Mr. Bernard Taylor (Mansfield)

The hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Tiley) has evidently given more time to reading the Labour Party's proposals on national superannuation than he has to studying his own Government's White Paper. I regret that I failed to comprehend his mathematical calculations on the basis of the Labour Party's scheme. Perhaps, on some other occasion, we can talk about it.

The hon. Gentleman, referring to private schemes, said that some employers, at any rate, had risen to their responsibilities in making provision for their workpeople in occupational schemes. I do not deny that, but I must reply that it is my considered opinion that there are two main reasons for the increased momentum we have witnessed during the past twenty years in the development of occupational schemes. Our attention is directed to this matter in the White Paper itself.

First, during the period I mentioned there has been keen competition for labour, giving an added incentive to employers to provide an attraction. This has found expression in the institution of occupational schemes. Secondly, there has been something in it financially, too. I make no complaint either upon this or the first factor, but it should be borne in mind that, while there has not been a direct contribution from the Exchequer, there have been very substantial Income Tax allowances in respect of all moneys paid into private occupational schemes.

I believe it was Professor Titmuss who observed, in 1954, that the Exchequer contribution to the National Insurance Fund was £70 million, and in the same period allowances in taxation as a result of the institution of private occupational schemes totalled about £100 million. When people talk, as they do, about the direct liability of the Exchequer to the National Insurance Fund, those who are members of private occupational schemes should carefully bear that fact in mind before criticising what the Exchequer does in that respect.

The hon. Member for Aylesbury (Sir S. Summers)—I am sorry that he is not in his place at the moment—congratulated the Minister on presenting his proposals in the White Paper with modesty and virtue. I can only say that the Government have every reason to be modest about their very feeble attempt to approach this pressing and important problem of providing for old age.

The Minister, with his usual clarity, forcefulness and forthrightness, explained the proposals contained in the White Paper. But I thought that he was guilty of one very serious omission. I cannot think that it was by deliberate intent on his part. If he did mention it, it was only a very brief reference. He certainly took no step to elaborate upon what is a very important part of the proposals in the White Paper, namely, the Exchequer contribution. He proposes a ceiling for the whole of the twenty years, whereas, on the other hand, the contributions of both employers and employees are to be subject to a quinquennial increase. There may be some reason why the Minister made no comment about that matter.

To make my own position clear, I have believed for some time that the day is long overdue when better and more adequate provision should be made for people in their retirement. It cannot be denied that many—I do not say all; I use the adjective "many"—pensioners today have an inadequate income. There is a very simple proof of that, which was mentioned by my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand). More than a million—25 per cent.—of our old-age pensioners have to have recourse to the National Assistance Board because of the inadequacy of their income.

What more proof do we want than that? But it is not only the existing pensioners whose income is inadequate. Many future pensioners are faced under the existing set-up with a catastrophic drop between pre-retirement wages and post-retirement pensions. Those are two things which we have to bear in mind and to which the proposals in the White Paper give very little attention.

Further, it is my belief that the present system—and I think that this goes by almost common consent—in the light of modern circumstances, is outdated. It would be a failure on the part of either this Government or any other Government to continue on the existing insurance principle in order to meet the challenge of modern society. What is worse than the prospect of penury and poverty in old age, after a lifetime of toil in field, factory, office, shop or mine? That is the prospect which faces many potential pensioners.

In those circumstances, I believe that the Government have been spurred on to submit these proposals by the Labour Party's scheme, about which the hon. Member for Bradford, West had so much to say. We welcome the opportunity of considering the proposals in the White Paper, which has given us some idea of what is in the Government's mind. We have also been informed that in the not too distant future, after Christmas, the proposals contained in the White Paper will be embodied in a Bill. With this in view, the last paragraph of the introduction to the White Paper reads: It is the Government's wish that all affected, and particularly those concerned with the administrative problems which changes of this sort in the national scheme involve for industry,"— and then come the operative words— should have the opportunity to express their views before the details of the scheme are fixed. Only a short time has elapsed since the publication of the White Paper, but protests have already been made by and on behalf of existing old-age pensioners against the proposals contained in it. What is the reason for these protests? The answer, which is very simple, is that there is nothing at all for them and also there is no proposal for any improvement in the existing rate of benefit for the many people whose wages are not more than £9 a week. So that for all these people—I believe that my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough West put the figure at 7¾ million —there is nothing at all.

I was travelling to London in the train on the morning after the White Paper was published and the bold, big headlines on the front page of a newspaper read, "Pensions of £6 per week". That is true in a way but it is not the whole truth. This is the exact position. To obtain a pension of £6 a week under the Government's scheme a man will have to join at the age of 18, and, provided that his average weekly earnings during that period are £15 a week, and that he is married, he will at the age of 65 get £6 a week.

Three reason are given in the White Paper for the Government's scheme: First to put the National Insurance scheme on a sound financial basis; secondly to provide for those who are not covered by private occupational schemes; and thirdly to preserve and encourage development of such occupational schemes. If I am not mistaken, the right hon. Gentleman has put them in order of importance and priority. The first is to put the existing National Insurance scheme on a sound financial basis. But there is nothing about an improvement in the standards of existing pensioners. They are still left out in the cold. There are no proposals for them to participate in what we hear so much about from the opposite benches—the improved standards of living. I know that it will not have escaped the Minister's notice that the Labour Party's scheme not only makes proposals for the future—everybody knows that no superannuation scheme comes into complete and full operation overnight; it is a gradual process—but shows that this side has not forgotten the existing pensioners who over the years have given so much to enrich our community. In our scheme, it is proposed immediately to increase the basic rate by 20 per cent. from 50s. to 60s.

A subject which has for some time concerned all of us who are interested in these matters is that of occupational schemes, which, as the White Paper explains, have grown considerably during the past twenty years. They have been a good thing and have given additional provision above the existing State pension. While some of these schemes are good and some, in fact, are very good, it can, however, be said that some are less good and some of them are no good at all. Whatever their category, however, most of them have what I regard as the fatal weakness that they have no transferability rights.

Mr. J. T. Price

To get the perspective right, may I point out to my hon. Friend that although many of the schemes do not have those rights, there are some industries in which transferability has been arranged? For example, the flour-milling industry, the Co-operative movement and one or two others have extensive transfer schemes, which we would like to see extended to other industries.

Mr. Taylor

What I said was that most of them had no transferability rights. Some, of course, do have them. There is transferability, for instance, within the local government service and the Civil Service.

Occupational schemes can be an attraction at the younger end of life, but, later in life, they can also be a rod. They can prevent what is a necessary feature of our national economy—mobility. When the Minister replies, I should like him to say a little more about this important question of transferability in relation to the occupational schemes.

A great deal has been said, particularly by the Minister, about contracting out and the conditions that must be fulfilled before approval is given to an occupational scheme. The right hon. Gentleman, because he attends diligently to these matters, will be aware of the observation on this point in paragraph 253 of the Phillips Report. I am, however, extremely disappointed that all that the White Paper says is that the Government, while recognising the difficulties of transferability, welcome the developments that are taking place. That is the only reference to it in the White Paper. I should like the Minister to say more about this when he replies.

According to paragraph 70 of the White Paper, the decision in contracting out is to be left with the employer. This is staggering—frightening, in fact. Where is that Tory freedom of which hon. Members opposite boast? The right of choice in contracting out of occupational schemes is to be denied to the individual contributor. We are told that there would be disadvantages in allowing individual option, but the disadvantages in not giving individual choice would be much greater than the difficulties to which paragraph 43 refers.

What have the Government in mind in advising employers to apply to contract out against the wishes of any substantial number of…employees"? Will there be consultation with representatives of the employees? Will the Government advise that an individual ballot be taken so that the best industrial relations may be preserved? What have the Government in mind in placing this obligation solely and entirely upon the employer? It is disastrous that in proposals of this kind, concerning the personal matter of pensions upon retirement, the individual should not have choice concerning the scheme to which he belongs.

The Minister did not say much about the question of contributions to meet what has been referred to since 1946 as the emerging cost of pensions. He laid emphasis on the lower contributions during the initial stages, but said little about the four quinquennial increases in contributions, from a minimum of 5d. to a maximum of 9d. While contributions may be increased to that extent, the Exchequer contribution will remain static and the ceiling will remain fixed at £170 million. Although under the Government's proposals the contributions of employers and of employees will increase during the twenty years by £417 million, the contribution from the Exchequer is to remain static.

It is wholly unfair that in the tripartite system which has characterised all our insurance schemes since 1911, the burden of meeting the emerging cost of pensions is to be borne by the contributors. If £170 million is a fair share from the Exchequer in 1961–62, when the contributions of employers and employees will amount to £802 million, it cannot be a fair share, under a tripartite arrangement, in 1981–82, when contributions from employers and employees will total £1,219 million. The country should know of this. It emphasises the point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East that this will be a burden upon the contributors.

The White Paper tells us that those contracting out of the scheme will pay, not the reduced contribution of 8s. 4d., but the existing contribution of 9s. I Id. I put the following question to the Minister who is to reply to the debate. I am thinking of those who contract out because they are members of an occupational scheme, and whose wages may not be more than £9 a week. That is quite a possibility. It may be rare, but it is a possibility. Will their contribution for the flat-rate pension be at the existing rate of 9s. 11d. and not at 8s. 4d. as proposed in the White Paper? The contribution of those who contracted out following the four quinquennial periods, with no promise of an improvement in the basic rate of pension, will in 1980 not be 9s. 11d. but 12s. 11d., much more than it is today.

I should have liked to have made some observations about the self-employed, but on this note I will sit down. I say this with all seriousness. Having looked at these proposals and compared them with the proposals in the scheme of the Labour Party, I say that this is really a shoddy scheme. It is not good enough. There are no improvements to existing pensioners. I believe profoundly that the main purpose of the Government's proposals in this White Paper is to free the Exchequer from what it has always been understood it should carry, the liability to meet the emerging cost of pensions. The more it is studied the more will that become obvious.

7.11 p.m.

Mr. S. Storey (Stretford)

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand), who moved the Amendment, made great play, both at the beginning and the end of his speech, with his observation that our proposals compare unfavourably with those in other countries. In doing so he did not pay sufficient regard to the fact that our proposals must be judged in the light of the fact that one out of every two men and one of every four women are covered by occupational schemes.

Nor did he, in my opinion, pay sufficient regard to the fact that there is a dual purpose in the White Paper proposals. Anybody will misjudge the issue before the House who does not recognise this dual purpose of the White Paper proposals. The proposals are not merely an attempt to introduce a system of pensions graduated to past earnings; they are also one to place National Insurance upon a sound financial basis.

As one who for 22 years has provided all his employees with the opportunity to contribute towards additional pension and has for nearly as long advocated in this House that the State should give an opportunity to the workers to contribute to adequate higher pensions upon an actuarial basis, I regret that the need for this dual purpose in the White Paper proposals prevents these proposals from giving a greater opportunity to earn additional pensions. But the years of inflation and the cost of the basic pension for those who entered insurance at over 16 must be paid for before higher additional pensions can be bought.

The desire to make higher additional pensions possible leads me to my first criticism of the White Paper proposals, and that is that the basic contribution is too low. I think it should be an established principle that everybody must pay contributions equal to the actuarial contribution for National Insurance plus the appropriate contributions for National Health and for industrial injuries. In the White Paper proposals the basic contribution is only 15s. 4d. while the actuarial cost of present National Insurance benefits plus the appropriate contributions for National Health and Industrial Injuries is 15s. 9½d. An extra 6d. all round would. I feel, be fully justified, and would be a means of making more graduated contributions available for graduated additions to the basic pension.

Taking the long view, I think there is good reason why this principle should be established. In due course, it is expected that there will be a balance of income over expenditure and the then Minister will be subjected to pressure how he should use his balance, and if this principle is established he will be in a stronger position to use the balance to increase graduated additions rather than to reduce basic contributions.

My second criticism of the White Paper proposals is that the graduated contributions are too low on the lower range of earnings: at £9, nil; at £10, is. 8d.; at £12, 5s.; and at £15, 10s. 2d.

In my firm's scheme men contribute at £9, 6s.; at £10, 8s.; at £12, 10s.; and at £15, 12s. It is only fair to add that these contributions are paid on basic salaries and take no account of earnings through overtime or through a share of the profits.

Mr. J. T. Price

The hon. Gentleman is trying to deploy a very difficult tactical argument. Probably it will have to be gone into in Committee. The difference between the hon. Gentleman's firm's scheme and that put forward by the Minister is surely this, that the Government's scheme does not set out to provide a pension related to years of service in the firm, as the hon. Gentleman's scheme does. It provides only a pension related to the capital value of the accumulated money paid in—

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Not at all.

Mr. Price

—so people paying 1s. 8d.—

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Wrong again.

Mr. Price

The right hon. Gentleman said in his speech today, if I got him aright, that £l5 capital entitled one to Is. of pension. If the contributor is paying only a low contribution that will be reflected in the capital sum available at the time when he retires. I am sorry to have made such a long interruption.

Mr. Storey

I do not think I need follow the hon. Gentleman. The point I was making was that if we had a higher contribution, a less sharply graded scale of contributions than in the White Paper proposals, starting at a lower level of earnings, it would, I think, be acceptable to workers and would make larger graduated pensions possible and allow them to start at a lower earnings level.

Those are my main criticisms of the White Paper proposals. While I regret that part of the graduated contributions and the additional contribution to be paid by those in occupational schemes are in fact a tax towards paying for the basic pension, I recognise that this is at present necessary. I hope, however, that our aim will be at a target where the basic pension will be paid for by a flat-rate contribution plus an Exchequer grant and the additional pension related to the contributions paid.

I think it is right that the State should offer an opportunity to contribute towards additional pensions. I hope it will never make it compulsory for all, but only for those who are not in occupational schemes. I hope we shall always do all that we can to encourage occupational schemes, because they are more flexible and can be adapted to meet the particular needs of particular industries.

Doubt has been expressed whether the requirements of the present proposals, that to contract out of the private occupational scheme one must provide benefits corresponding to the maximum earnings level of the State scheme and provide for preservation of pension benefits at this level on a change of employment, are not too onerous. I do not think this is so. In private schemes, the employer usually bears the cost of past service at the start of the scheme, of late entrants, and of inflation, and no part of the employee's contribution is required for these purposes. Private schemes, therefore, give better additional pensions than the State scheme can hope to give for a long time. Therefore, the conditions proposed should not prove too onerous.

I end as I began by emphasising the dual purpose of these proposals. Their dual-purpose character has its advantages. As a breeder of dual-purpose cattle I know the advantages of being able switch from milk to beef or beef to milk when circumstances demand. In present circumstances it is no bad thing to make it possible for the Minister to switch part of the milk of graduated contributions to the beef of basic pensions. I hope that the Minister will consider the suggestions I have offered and see whether it is not possible to provide bigger graduated additional pensions. In that hope I support the proposals in the White Paper.

7.22 p.m.

Mr. George Lawson (Motherwell)

I think it fair to say that in speaking of the dual purpose which he envisaged as being in the Minister's mind when he introduced the White Paper, the hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Storey) considered that one side of that duality was not as important as the other. According to the hon. Member, one aspect of the duality was that the scheme should be on a sound financial basis. The other was that it should provide a graduated system of payments. In my opinion, there is, in fact, no real dual purpose about the White Paper or about the Bill which is likely to be based upon it.

As I saw the Minister shake with laughter at various stages of the debate. I felt no doubt about the audacity and clarity with which the right hon. Gentleman, at least, has the real purpose of this scheme in mind. That purpose, quite nakedly, is, under the cloak of putting the scheme on a sound financial basis, to get out of the financial obligation which has been accruing for a long time. In fact we are abandoning Beveridge quite nakedly and openly.

Towards the end of the war the Beveridge Scheme was considered a great scheme. It was one of those things which sometimes come forward during war years when an endeavour is made to mobilise all the people. We are all one of a kind and all in together. We are all "Jock Tamson's bairns." We all pull together, suffer together and benefit together. The Beveridge Scheme was one of the great benefits that was to emerge in the years following the war. The great giant Want was to be abandoned. One means of doing that was to provide for the sick, the widowed and the old. They were to be provided with pension rights so as to enable them to live on a reasonable basis without further assistance.

All that has been abandoned. Quite clearly, the position now is that in future the million or so people who at present receive £9 a week or less will subsist in the foreseeable future on a basic pension of £2 10s. for a single person and £4 for a couple, supplemented by National Assistance. That Assistance, which was to be progressively eliminated, is now to be knit into the system.

It is perhaps not commonly known that there has not been a deficit on the National Insurance Scheme until this year. We have been catching up on the deficit by raising contributions, and this scheme will ensure that by 1961 there will be no threat of a deficit at all. The purpose, therefore, is to avoid the increase which was rightly accruing on the principle which previously had been accepted. What is to happen was very well put in the Economist when it said: It will be seen that the main feature of the scheme—indeed in some ways its whole essence—is that it is expected to save the Exchequer £99 million in its first year of operation, rising to no less than £428 million in 1981–82. The Economist welcomes the scheme. It likes it and regards it as generous. It is an excellent scheme from that journal's point of view, and its excellence lies in the fact that it will save expense to the Exchequer, at a cost to be met in terms of contribution.

In fact, at the five-yearly intervals there is a steep rise in the contribution. According to the White Paper, in 1961 the extra contribution will amount to £104 million. In that same year, according to the old system, there would have been, if things remained as they are now, a deficit of £144 million. An extra £104 million is to come in and if allowance is made for the extra £46 million, bringing the Exchequer contribution to £170 million, there is a net saving in taxation of £99 million. In each of the five-year periods the same situation will arise.

It is so nakedly brazen—I was about to say it is dishonest, but I cannot say that it is dishonest if I also say that it is nakedly brazen—that the £170 million Exchequer contribution in 1961, representing an increase of £46 million, remains fixed, but it is not fixed as a percentage of the total. In 1961, according to my calculations, the £170 million will amount to about 21 per cent. of the amount paid in contributions. By 1981 the £170 million will represent only 13 per cent, of the contributions. That is a steep fall and is clear evidence to my mind of how the Government are shuffling out of this responsibility.

This is not the only thing. The Government are adding £46 million in 1961 in order to help, but, according to the calculations, in 1981 there will be a surplus of £42 million. Where will the surplus go? To my mind it will go back into Treasury funds. It is no use telling us that this surplus will be used for beneficial purposes. Like so many others, this surplus will be used to relieve taxation burdens. So we have here a scheme which has not two main purposes but one purpose, that of enabling the Government to shuffle off the responsibility which has accrued over the years.

When we take the measure of the actual payments made, of contributions made and of the extra benefits that will be reaped, we find, according to the White Paper, that in 1961–62 £104 million more will be paid in contributions. How much more will be paid out in extra benefits? Nil. In the next period £205 million more will be paid in in contributions with a miserly £3 million paid in extra benefits. If we take it as far as 1981–82 there will be additional contributions of £496 million and only £63 million paid in extra benefits. This is to cover all the so-called graduated superannuation scheme benefits—only £63 million other than would have been paid if we had continued on the fiat rate basis. Clearly it is a dodge to get lid of a responsibility that should properly be accepted by this Government, and any other succeeding Government, on the basis of past decisions and also on the basis of what was put to the people in earlier years.

Let me put another point to the House. Reference is made to those who contract out. I would prefer to say those who are contracted out, because the ordinary fellow will have no choice. So it is said that those who are contracted out will be paying their due contribution towards the basic pension. I question this. We have already heard from the Minister figures to the effect that a man with a wife, who retires now at the age of 65, has pension rights actuarially worth £2,650. I have not much confidence in actuarial estimates, but this means that at the present pension rate such a man and his wife will have to live, drawing £4 a week, for 12½years before he can cash the £2,650 which the pension is supposed to be worth. The chances of a couple doing this are not too great.

Mr. Storey

Does the hon. Gentleman not realise that this is the actuarial expectation of life at 65?

Mr. Lawson

I use my own judgment. Knowing how many men and women in my own area have died, I ask myself how many men retiring at 65 can expect to live with their wives for 12½ years —not so many of them. Of course, there will he a few, but the actuaries are working it out very much on the safe side. Actuarial considerations may be quite sound for insurance companies, but they do not properly apply to the nation, and the Minister said as much himself. He blew sky-high the actuarial consideration when he told us that actuarially the total value of the existing pensions was £40,000 million.

We must recognise that the nation, not the insurance companies, meets its obligations as they arise. We feed the old people of today out of the product of yesterday and the day before. We clothe them out of the product of six months or a year ago. We put them in houses built, in some cases, too many years ago. They live on nothing but current production, and the generation to come will live on the generation that is pro-clueing in that day. Actuarial considerations to the nation are therefore eyewash. A nation has to meet its existing obligations and future generations have to meet the obligations of the past. In many ways we are not meeting them too well. Each generation stands on the shoulders of the previous one. A nation cannot save except by adding to its capacity to produce wealth. The right hon. Gentleman knows this very well and all the arguments about actuarial considerations bog down the minds of ordinary people in their attempts to understand the problems facing them.

The question as to what the nation can afford is a political one. The decision needs to be taken by us, and by those who follow us, as to what the nation can afford. If I am told that this nation, with all its means of producing wealth and all the boasts about what we can do, cannot afford the equivalent of £2 10s., now and twenty years hence, for those who follow us, we should hang our heads in shame. I believe we can meet very substantially more than that. If I have a complaint to make about the scheme of my own party, it is that we are far too miserly, and I would like to press for better benefits. But I am speaking for myself on this point.

As regards subsidising, it is not correct to suggest that the man who contracts out, perhaps receiving a wage or salary of £20, £30, £40 or £50 a week, will pay more than the man receiving £15 a week. It is suggested that this man is paying for his pension, but, of course, he is not doing so. If there is any question of a subsidy, that man is being subsidised. If we apply actuarial considerations, the man with £20 or £50 who retires and receives his flat rate pension will not have paid actuarially for that pension, or at least only a few will have done so. Therefore, such people are being subsidised by the existing contributors who, in the main, are earning less than £15 a week. I repeat that, in my view, it is not a question of trying to meet dual purposes but of trying to meet one main purpose, which is how to escape from the debt we undertook willingly, the obligation towards our old people.

In looking at the so-called graduated aspect of the question, to my mind the Government have made this part of the scheme as difficult as they can make it, as unpopular as they can make it, as unworthy as they can make it. No one who had a genuine choice of this scheme as compared with the other schemes which will become available would enter into this one. I know that this point was thought by the Minister to have been answered the other day in reply to criticisms by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, when he spoke of the fact that the graduated side of this so-called superannuation scheme was, in fact, offering poorer terms than could be obtained from almost any insurance company. The answer which the Minister gave was that the whole thing had to be seen as one.

I submit that that is not the case. The whole thing is not to be seen as one. Properly speaking, when some people can contract out of or be contracted out of part of the scheme, that part of the scheme must be seen separately and must be judged on its own merits, and what a part of the scheme it is. In order to obtain a pension of 6s. per week, one will have to pay 1s. 8d. per week for 47 years. Is that based on actuarial principles? It is not; it is much worse than any insurance company can offer. In order to get even 6s. extra, one has to pay 1s. 8d. a week for 47 years. There can be very little doubt that that will drive almost everybody into private superannuation schemes, and that, if we like, is the other purpose—to build up, to protect and encourage private superanuation schemes, not because they are necessarily so much better than the kind of scheme which the State could produce, but because the friends of the Government are deeply tied up with them.

The State could produce a scheme which, apart from any other benefits, would have two immense benefits over any kind of private pension scheme that I know. The State can, in fact, scale up payments and benefits if there is inflation, and why not? If a man made a contribution towards a scheme in 1939, when the value of the £ was 20s., and then, by 1957, the value of the £ had dropped to 6s. 8d., I should have thought that the contribution which he made in 1939 was probably worth three times the value of his contribution in 1957. Only a State scheme can take account of that. The shillings paid in 1914 were worth, perhaps, three, four or even five times the shillings paid today, and, therefore, the shillings paid then should be legitimately scaled up to represent the value today.

Only a State scheme can do that, because only a State scheme can scale up these values. A State scheme should do this, it ought to do it and indeed must do it. A State scheme should take into account the fact that the nation grows richer, and such a scheme should ensure that retired people benefit from the added wealth of the nation. If a nation's wealth goes up considerably or even doubles, I should have thought that the old-age pensioner or the retired person could have that added share of the wealth of the nation, and only a State scheme can do it. This is the dynamic nature of the Labour Party scheme, which will give due weight to the contributions paid and scale them up as the nation becomes richer.

I would have the existing old-age pensioner's pension rights scaled up to meet any rise in the cost of living, and, further, I would have these rights scaled up to meet any addition to the nation's wealth. Only a State scheme can do this, and I have no doubt that the party of which I am happy to be a member will stand for this principle. I believe that, when people appreciate the vast differences between that scheme and this, there can he no doubt that we will be in a position to be able to carry it out and that our scheme will be of great and lasting benefit to the people of this country.

7.44 p.m.

Vice-Admiral John Hughes Hallett (Croydon, North-East)

The hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Lawson) used some rather complicated arguments in parts of his speech, but one thing which he made quite clear—and it filled me with a certain amount of alarm—was that he would use his own judgment with regard to the expectation of life of pensioners. As I understand it, he believes that the expectation of life is a good deal less than that supposed to he the case by the Government Actuary. I find this rather alarming, because I am not quite certain what he would do with old people when the time came and they obstinately refused to die, thereby embarrassing the finances of the scheme.

It was inevitable that this debate should largely take the form of a comparison between the Government White Paper and the very much more ambitious scheme for national superannuation produced eighteen months ago by the Labour Party. When the Leader of the Opposition touched on this matter when he spoke a fortnight ago today—I think it was at the beginning of the debate on the Address—and again when the right hon. Member for Middlesborough, East (Mr. Marquand) spoke today, they both omitted to mention what, to my mind, is the main difference between the two schemes.

The people responsible for the Government White Paper drafted it in the knowledge that it would have to be translated M practice within a matter almost of weeks, or, more accurately, would have to be embodied in a Statute in a matter of weeks, after the White Paper came out, and that is a very sobering thought. On the other hand, the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) and his companions were emboldened, I suggest, by the thought that whatever else happened it was highly improbable that they would be called upon to implement their scheme in the forseeable future.

One complaint made against the Government scheme, and it was made by the hon. Member for Motherwell, and also, if I understood him rightly, by my hon. Friend the Member for Stretford (Mr. Storey), is that the graduated benefits for the higher-paid workers are less than those which would be actuarily justified by the graduated contributions which they are asked to pay. That, of course, is perfectly true. It is even more true of the Labour Party's plan, in which there was a considerable element of subsidy from the younger and better-off people towards the older and less well-off people. Surely, this is inevitable in any scheme if one wants the higher-paid people to take the bigger share of the burden of meeting the expenses of existing pensions for which contributions have not been paid anything like in full.

I should have said that this was quite inevitable. I should have said it was deliberate in both schemes, and, further, I would say it was justified.

But it does raise this question of contracting out. I approach this question of contracting out from a rather different point of view from that of most of the speakers who have so far taken part in today's debate. It seems to me that the danger in any scheme of this nature is that too many people will contract out. We may find that people on whom we are relying to subsidise the lower-paid are outside the scheme, and that only the people who are inside will get the subsidies, that emphasises the danger that is to be faced. In my opinion that danger is very much more present in the Labour Party's plan than it is in the Government's plan, for the simple reason that the Government's plan is a more moderate and less ambitious one.

I should like to suggest to my right hon. Friend that at some stage, when we have the Bill before us to debate, we shall need a great deal more information and more assurances on the basis of the Government's calculations as to the number of people likely to go outside the scheme. I am told by an expert who is a constituent of mine that, if one takes a hypothetical firm in which all the workers are evenly graded in ages from 18 to 65 and all are earning £15 a week—I know that hon. Members may think this is ridiculous, but one takes a simple case in order to be able to understand it at all—a private scheme could offer the same benefits as the Government scheme at a cost of about £5 per annum per employee less, from the point of view of the employer.

If, on the other hand, one assumed that all the men were earning £14 a week, it would appear that the private scheme and the Government scheme would break even, and if one imagined the average earnings were below £14, then there would be a progressive advantage in the Government scheme. The figures are not very big. Indeed. I thought they were very small.

Mr. J. T. Price

They are not very helpful either.

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

I suggest to the hon. Member that they lead to a tentative conclusion. I think it possible that the average employer, though he may be running a scheme which would be acceptable and would entitle him to contract out, may decide not to contract out but to let his work-people enjoy the benefits of both the Government graduated scheme and his own scheme.

Another criticism that we hear—it has been made directly or indirectly by most of the Opposition speakers today—is "Why do we not rely more on Income Tax and less on contributions?" That is really all that the hon. Member for Motherwell was saying when he talked about the Government shuffling out of their responsibility, and it was the tenor of a large part of the speech of the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East.

I should have thought that there were two answers. The first is an obvious one which is often made, and it is that in principle it is better to keep the scheme as closly resembling an insurance scheme as possible; but I know that is a matter on which people have different opinions. There is a second reason, which I should have hoped would have commended itself to hon. Members on both sides of the House. If one pays for the big emerging deficits out of Income Tax, what one is doing is to make a number of elderly people share the burden whom most of us think ought not to be called upon to share it. I refer to the elderly people who have small incomes derived from savings. I do not mean wealthy people; I mean the small public service pensioners, many of whom are still outside the scheme altogether. There are also the self-employed who are outside the scheme. Why should those categories have to share the burden? Surely it is right to try to concentrate as much of it as possible on the broad section of the population which can best afford to pay it, namely, the more highly paid people still in active working life.

We then come to the greatest criticism the Opposition are making of the scheme, that there is nothing in it for the existing pensioner. There is no doubt that this is the criticism on which the Opposition will be electioneering. I will not waste time by repeating the arguments my right hon. Friend deployed, but I want to elaborate a little a point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Tiley).

The Socialist Party has not been honest with the country about the effect of its scheme on existing pensioners. It involves an 8 per cent. levy on earnings as between employers and employed, 5 per cent. coming from the employers. In addition, there is a 2 per cent. levy on all earnings from the taxpayer. It is all very well to say that in due course all this will be met by expanding production and so on. Let us hope it is, but it will not be met overnight by expanding production. The immediate effect of suddenly charging 8 per cent. on all earnings and handing most of it out in increased benefits for existing old pensioners to spend will be to send up the cost of living. We have a right to be told by the Opposition Front Bench what they estimate will be the amount of the rise in the cost of living and what will be the real increase in the value of the pension which they are offering to the existing old people.

I go further and suggest that they should give the estimate on two separate hypotheses. The first is that by great restraint the trade unions do not ask for a rise in wages to meet the increased cost of living, and the second is that they do. I am not so sure that they will not. It is only a few months since the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) rather plaintively asked hon. Members on this side of the House what we thought the cost of living index was for if it was not a device to assist the trade unions in calculating wage rises. That is their general view. If there were an increase in wages to meet the initial rise in the cost of living induced by Labour's plan, the whole of the extra benefit being offered to existing pensioners would be swamped immediately and counterbalanced by the rise. I infer from my study of the White Paper—I should like the Government to confirm this—that it is the considered opinion of the Government that the White Paper scheme will not have any material effect on the cost of living index figure.

That last point, the threat to the cost of living by Labour's scheme, brings me to my final point, which was my principal reason for intervening. One of the most important sentences in the White Paper is in paragraph 31: However, the fact remains that the provision made for the old depends on the extent to which the remainder of the community is prepared to see resources allocated to this end… I admit at once that a similar point was made equally forcibly in the Labour scheme, but the operative words to which I want to draw the attention of the House are: …provision made for the old depends on the extent to which the remainder of the community…". that is, those who are not old. The title of the White Paper is "Provision for Old Age", and the reference to the National Insurance Scheme is made only in a sub-title.

It is only right when we are considering the future of the National Insurance Scheme that we should give very careful thought to the effect of any changes that we may make upon elderly people who are either outside the National Insurance Scheme altogether or else for one reason or another do not rely primarily for their income upon the National Insurance pension but have another approximately equal pension or income from savings. It would be wrong to try to think of National Insurance pensioners in isolation from the rest of the people of pensionable age in the kingdom. Let us consider, for example, the small public service pensioners—there are still a large number of them living today —who were never inside the National Insurance Scheme. We must think about the effect on the purchasing power of their incomes of any changes that we might make.

The same applies to an even greater extent to men who retired from work in the nationalised industries. Unfortunately, even less has been done to bring their pensions up to date than has proved possible in the case of the public service pensioners. Then there is that almost forgotten group of people, the unfortunate non-established civil servants, who have retired and who get no pension at all. Many of them are outside this National Insurance scheme.

Not only would it he wrong to let these important categories of people suffer in- directly by embarking upon too ambitious a scheme to improve National Insurance pensions, but these people have a right to some of the help and to some of the concessions that we are making, and that have already been made in the lifetime of the present Government, to the National Insurance pensioners. Unlike the National Insurance pensioners, the incomes of those people have been nothing like brought up to the amount that would be necessary to compensate for the fall in the value of money. The last Pensions Increase Act was drafted when the cost of living was 100 on the present scale. The cost has now risen to 108, so most of the increases have gone. In principle, the claim of those people to consideration is as great as the claim of the National Insurance pensioners as a whole.

I would ask the Government at least that a pledge should be given that any future increases in current rates of public service pension—I should like to have seen this form part of the White Paper plan—should be accompanied by a pro rata increase in the existing pensions. I do not say that we should bring them up to the same level. Otherwise, all these assurances that are given about the repeated reviews of pensions and so on strike almost a knell of doom in the hearts of people living on small incomes, because the only thing they can look forward to is to paying extra tax to pay for the better pensions.

I should be much happier if the White Paper had included a paragraph to say that the Minister of Pensions was to take on responsibility for all pensions paid in this country out of public funds. I believe that the groups of pensioner I am referring to would do very much better under the humane and experienced outlook of my right hon. Friend and the officials of his Ministry than they would do under the Treasury or the Service Departments, who have consistently neglected these other categories.

However that may be, I beg the Government to remember that for at least 2 million people the new pension policy will be judged more by what it is going to do for categories of pensioner outside the National Insurance scheme than by the proposals themselves. I would like to see the two things brought forward in unison. Having said that, I have nothing but praise for the proposals in the White Paper. I regard them as prudent and excellent and a great advance upon the existing scheme.

8.4 p.m.

Mr. R. E. Prentice (East Ham, North)

I listened very carefully to what was said by the hon. and gallant Member for Croydon, North-East (Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett). As I am one of his constituents I was very anxious to find something in his speech with which I could agree. I found this very difficult until, towards the end, the hon. and gallant Member began speaking of the categories of pensioner outside the National Insurance scheme. I felt that there he made a good case.

Those categories have suffered from the failure of his right hon. Friends to stabilise the cost of living. More could be done to ameliorate their position. In the earlier part of his speech the hon. and gallant Gentleman devoted more time to attacking the Labour Party's scheme than he did to discussing the White Paper which the Government have presented. That has been a common feature of many speeches made from the Government benches today. We had a very long speech from the hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Tiley), who is an expert in this field, but I do not think that he mentioned the White Paper once. He devoted almost the whole of his speech to attacking our scheme. In doing so the hon. Member showed great realism, because the only real scheme before the country is that which has been put forward by the Labour Party. That scheme is the one under examination rather than the poorer effort put forward by the Government.

I will put to the Government three detailed points from their White Paper, and I hope that they will pay some attention to them. The first relates to transferability of pension rights in private schemes. One of the few things that hon. Members on this side of the House can approve in the Government's White Paper is what is stated in paragraph 20 in which the Government welcome any tendency towards making private pension schemes more transferable. One of the evil features of these schemes which we welcome for other reasons is the way in which they tend to tie the middle-aged and older worker to his job. That is bad for the economy. A man may have a desire to go to another job so as to use his talents with more scope and more benefit to the community. He cannot do so, because he is afraid of losing his pension rights. Besides that, there is the human right that a man has to change from one job to another. He may not be happy with his colleagues, or he may think that he is victimised by his boss. He may want to move to another area because of his wife's poor health. He may be prevented from changing his job because he is afraid of losing his pension rights.

I would, therefore, ask why the Government cannot go rather further than they have done in this scheme. They say, later on, in the White Paper that if a scheme is to be contracted out of one of the conditions will be that the people leaving that scheme should be able to carry with them some of their pension rights, but only the equivalent of what they would have built up in the national scheme. I wonder why we cannot legislate in such a way that people will carry with them whatever pension rights they may have built up in their job. I do not see why we should be content with half measures.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (Miss Edith Pitt)

I assume that the hon. Gentleman realises, although he has not said so, that the White Paper proposes that rights up to the maximum of the State scheme should be carried w hen a man leaves an occupation, assuming that he would have been contributing at the £15 per week level.

Mr. Prentice

I appreciate that point, but I maintain that he may have built up rights in his old job and I do not see why he should not take with him the rights that he has built up.

I would make a brief reference to paragraph 52 of the White Paper and to the system which the Minister described as a "brick scheme" of building up pension rights. I understand that for every £15 which a male worker has contributed in graded contributions he will earn for himself Is. per week pension. There is no provision for inflation during his lifetime or for a rise in national prosperity. One pound at the age of 20 is to count the same as £1 later at the age of 55 or 60, and that seems bad.

This problem was referred to by the hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Lawson). People who are now doing a job for which they are paid £10 per week would have been paid only £2 10s. or £3 for the same job 40 years ago. If in those days they had paid into the National Insurance Fund £1 it would have been a much larger sum in reality than £1 is today. We do not know what in forty years' time a job of that sort will attract in the form of wages. In the Labour Party's scheme one of the important features, which has not been publicised as it should be, is the scaling up of contributions by a factor representing any increase in average national earnings. That is one of the things missing from the White Paper.

Another feature of the "brick system" which I do not think is adequately explained is the reason for making it harder for a woman to earn 1s. a week extra pension than it is for a man. A man has to have paid in fifteen "bricks" and the woman has to have paid in eighteen. It is said that a woman retires at the age of 60, but in any case she will have a smaller pension than the man who retires at 65, because she will have paid graduated contributions for a shorter time. That is a rational difference and no one will quarrel with it, but what are the other reasons for making it harder for her to earn an adequate pension? I infer from the White Paper that, on the average, women live longer than men. That may he true on the average, but it is unfair to the individual woman who may not live so long as the man next door and have a smaller pension than he has. I do not think that is a valid reason at all. On these points I should like to hear something from the Minister who is to reply to the debate.

I turn to criticise the Government on a rather wider basis, on the grounds of the Amendment, which was moved by my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand). The fact is that the Government have rejected completely the idea of national superannuation. I remember that in the debate on the Address my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) described the Government's scheme as a "shoddy imitation" of the Labour scheme. I disagreed with him; it is shoddy all right, but it is not an imitation. It is something fundamentally different.

When the Labour Party put forward its plan for national superannuation eighteen months ago we hoped—indeed we were led to believe by some Ministerial statements—that the Government themselves were to introduce a scheme for national superannuation. We hoped then we should have a national debate about the details, but that everyone would agree that the only way to tackle poverty in old age was to try to give every worker in industry the rights enjoyed now by about a third of the workers and to give them a comprehensive national superannuation scheme.

The fact is that the Government have gone on record with a decision that they are indefinitely to postpone any scheme of that sort. They are indefinitely to accept the situation in which two-thirds of the workers do not enjoy national superannuation. Certainly no one could describe the scheme before us today as a scheme for national superannuation. Take the position of the person who will be most favourably treated under this scheme. Someone who is eighteen years of age in 1961 when the scheme comes into operation and who earns £15 a week or more for the whole of his working life, retiring at 65 with a dependent wife in the year 2008 will receive £6 1s. a week, which is £2 1s. more than the £4 basic minimum which is now paid. Even in that case, apart from the fact that the great majority will get less, the Government are not proposing to provide that person with a superannuation scheme. He will still want to get into an occupational scheme to make really adequate provision for his old age.

How is the attitude of the Government rationalised? It is done partly by the Minister telling us this afternoon that it would be too adventurous for the State to go in for a national superannuation scheme. We are told by a Minister of a Conservative Government in 1958 that they have not enough faith in the future economy of the country to be able to risk running a scheme whereby suitable provision could be made for the aged. The only other excuse is contained in paragraph 32 of the White Paper, suggesting that in some way or other the national superannuation scheme would be an invasion of freedom. That paragraph says: For the State to go further would be to arrogate to itself the individual's right to dispose of his income in what he thinks the right way, and would seriously undermine the individual sense of responsibility for his own affairs. Yet, in another part of the White Paper, the Government welcome the spread of occupational schemes. The man who comes into certain industries and professions is told by his employer that a condition of his working there is to join the scheme. He is not left free to go into the scheme or keep out of it; it is a condition of his employment. Theoretically a man who wanted to be a teacher or a local government officer could instead become a building labourer or farm worker. In practice the vast majority of workers want a superannuation scheme. The trade unions have been pressing for the spread of these schemes and the individual workers know that by making modest contributions they can ensure a decent standard for their old age. I suggest that paragraph 32 of the White Paper is sheer humbug and an attempt to rationalise what the Government have done. What they have done is to make a squalid retreat in front of the vested interests of the insurance companies.

The only other aspect I wish to mention is the failure to provide anything for existing pensioners. I do so as the representative of an area in which the proportion of elderly people is higher than the national average. Whenever I am in my constituency I am reminded of the struggle that people are having to make ends meet and to keep up appearances under our present miserable pension provisions. As I understood it, the Government's excuse this afternoon for not being prepared to do anything to help existing pensioners was based on three grounds. The first was that this is a White Paper dealing with machinery and not rates of benefit. The second point was that pensions had been raised in January, 1958, to the highest level ever achieved, and the third was that the cost-of-living index had been roughly stable since then.

I feel that all those grounds deserve a comment. The Minister said that the scheme before us was one dealing only with the machinery of pensions. Our experience has been that all major schemes for altering the structure of pensions have in fact taken into account the question of rates of pension. The Beveridge scheme did so. The Labour Government's National Insurance Act did so and the Labour Party's present proposals for national superannuation do so. When a Government or a political party is examining the fundamental aspects of pensions, one of the important things to consider is how the existing pensioners are getting on and whether something else should be done for them.

Then the Minister said that in January this year we raised the rates to the highest level ever. Every time Government spokesmen make this claim about the high rate achieved in January, 1958, it is a rather bogus claim. They base their figures on the official cost-of-living index and everyone knows that it does not provide a fair picture of pensioners' spending power.

On the question of the real spending power of pensioners, The Times' estimate of the new rates of pensions in January, 1958, was that they were very little improvement on those shortly after the war when the National Insurance proposals were brought out. In any case, the Government can make that claim only for those pensioners who got the full benefits of the increase in January, 1958. The majority of pensioners did not get the full benefit. Those who were affected by the Rent Act did not get the full benefit, for that increase came half way between the initial increase in the rent of 7s. 6d. a week—which wiped out three-quarters of the 10s. increase for thousands of pensioners—and the second rent increase in April, 1958.

Pensioners on National Assistance did not get the full benefit. The only increase they got was 5s. for a single person and 9s. for a married couple. Pensioners who were smokers and who had had the tobacco concession did not get the full benefit, because they lost the tobacco concession of 2s. 4d. a week. The only pensioners who got the full benefit were those who were non-smokers, not on National Assistance and not affected by the Rent Act—possibly one-quarter of the whole number, but certainly not much more than that.

The Government then say that the cost-of-living index has not gone up very much since January, 1958. Are we to infer from that that the Government regard the present level of pensions as being satisfactory unless there is a substantial rise in the cost of living? We do not regard it as satisfactory. We have been on record for a long time as demanding a higher level of pensions.

In any event, we know from experience just how slow the Government are to improve conditions for pensioners when the cost of living goes up. The increase which took effect in January, 1958, came two and three quarter years after the previous increase in May, 1955. During that period. the cost of living had risen by 10 per cent. We know from experience that the Government are very slow to respond, even when there is a substantial rise in the cost of living.

The White Paper means that the Government are prepared indefinitely to tolerate a position in which elderly people who have no private superannuation scheme and no substantial private savings have three alternatives. One is to live off their children or other relatives. Another is to go on National Assistance—as more than I million do at present. The third is slowly to starve. There are many old-age pensioners who are too proud —wrongly so—to go on National Assistance or to take anything from their relatives and who are living in,the most desperate conditions.

I believe this to be a very important moral problem. Old age carries with it certain heavy burdens, as a rule. It is liable to bring with it bad health, failing mental or physical powers—not always, but in many cases—it is liable to bring with it bereavement and loneliness and perhaps boredom and frustration. Those things are inevitable, although they can be mitigated by doctors and by kindness. However, they cannot be avoided altogether. What the community can avoid is imposing on top of these things a burden of crushing poverty, and that is something which the Labour Party is pledged to do.

Another point to bear in mind is that our present standard of living has been built up partly by the hard work and sacrifice in the past of the elderly people of today. The Government are fond of telling us how much better off we are today than we have ever been before. That is not to their credit, for we should have been better off still under a more intelligent Government. However, it is true that every modern industrial society tends to improve its standard of living, not only by current production but by capital built up in the past. This capital was created by the hard work and sacrifice of those who have now retired. There is, therefore, a duty to see that elderly people share in that extra prosperity.

Throughout the world, social reformers have been considering this problem. As we have been told, in Germany, the United States, some Commonwealth countries and Israel, people are bringing forward and carrying into effect schemes which are far ahead of the scheme which we have in this country. The Labour Party has put forward a scheme far in advance on what we are now operating. The Government have had their opportunity, but have failed. The country will, therefore, know that fair play for the elderly and for the widows and for others in similar circumstances will be achieved only by a change of Government.

8.25 p.m.

Mr. Anthony Kershaw (Stroud)

The hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) said that the Labour Party proposes to abolish crushing poverty for the old. It does not propose to do anything of the sort. It proposes to give the old 10s. a week more, and that proposal is made with other proposals which are likely to be so inflationary that that 10s. a week will very shortly not be worth the extra money which it is proposed to give. All the sound and fury which we have heard from the benches opposite about crushing poverty for the old would have carried more conviction if the Labour Party had had the sense, or the economic and financial ability, to give the old people what they should have had when the Labour Party left office.

The Labour Party has proved itself utterly incapable of discharging that responsibility. It ran away from its responsibilities and resigned office when it realised that it could not do that. Wherever the hearts of hon. Members opposite may be, their heads were wanting. Old people can have no confidence in the Labour Party being able to provide for their necessities.

Mr. Prentice

Will the hon. Member acknowledge that the level of pensions when the Labour Party came into office was 10s. and that when the Labour Party left office that amount had been trebled, the biggest increase ever made by any Government?

Mr. Kershaw

The hon. Member should brush up his history. As he knows, that is completely untrue. The 1946 legislation which made that increase had been agreed by all parties and had nothing to do with the 10s. pension.

Mr. Patrick Maitland (Lanark)

Is it not the case that the Conservative Party has raised the pension three times in its term of office and that the pension is now worth more than it ever was under the Labour Party?

Mr. Kershaw

When the Labour Party left office, the pension had been at 26s. a week for the whole of the four years for which it had been operative. The Labour Party left office having given an increase to some pensioners, not all, of 4s. a week, when, as my right hon. Friend the Minister pointed out, to have kept pace with the cost of living the pension should have been increased to 33s. 4d. We now have a pension which although not lavish —it is certainly not—is now worth 12s. more in real terms than ever before.

Hon. Members opposite try to discount that argument by saying that the cost-of-living index is not reliable, especially for old people. As the hon. Member for East Ham, North knows, or ought to know, the conditions of old people are specially taken into consideration in calculating the cost of living and the index, which applies to them, is weighted in favour of the things which they have to buy rather more than do other people.

Whatever the hon. Member may say about the cost-of-living index, he should agree with his hon. Friend the Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) who said the other day that the cost-of-living index was the only reliable index of present costs, since no one could use anything else because there was no other method. It is carefully watched and kept up to date to make sure that it applies to modern conditions.

It often seems to me that when hon. Members opposite think that figures will help them, they rely upon figures. but when they do not help, then, like the hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Lawson) and the hon. Member for East Ham, North, they say that they have no faith in actuarial figures, that from personal experience it is known that people live or do not live, for such and such a number of years, and that we should make any provision that seems good to us at the time. I do not know whether it would really appeal to the country if we, from time to time, without reference to any sort of figures or any thought of planning for the future, made up our minds to pay on the basis of what we thought the country could afford on that day or week. What security that could lead to, I do not know.

The hon. Member's criticism of the "brick" system really boils down to criticising it because hon. Members opposite think that, under their system of government, we are certain to have permanent inflation. I should have thought that, after all the experiences of inflation we have had since the war, one of the objects of all political parties—and I know they all pay lip-service to this, but only the Conservative Party does anything about it—would be to curb inflation and make sure that it no longer eroded the savings and pensions of those who have come to rely upon them. To take as a basis of criticism of the "brick" system the idea that inflation is to be permanently with us is a confession of weakness, and it also holds the seeds of great dangers for the country's future pension policy.

Taking up the hon. Member's point about transferability, I would ask him to read paragraph 41 (b) of the White Paper. There he will see that the person Who contracts out shall have preserved for him …pension rights up to, but not necessarily beyond… I would ask him to take note of the word "necessarily." It does not follow that the pension rights that the man might take away would not be considerably greater. The hon. Member must appreciate that all these occupational pension schemes are adopted by the various firms because it is considered that they will make life in a firm more pleasant, will make the firm more efficient, help to get more production and will give more security to those who work there. Therefore, a matter like that would obviously be the way in which the scheme would be sold to the firm, and we may be quite certain that employees would not have their rights taken away in the way suggested. I therefore ask the hon. Member to note the words "not necessarily beyond". He might also call the attention of his hon. Friend the Member for Motherwell to that whole paragraph, as that hon. Gentleman did not appear to be assisted by his reading—

Mr. Prentice

I was paying particular attention to that paragraph, criticising it for not going rather further, and suggesting that, in fact, the man should be able to take with him all the pension rights that he had built up in that scheme.

Mr. Kershaw

Yes, I took the hon. Member's point, and I agree. I gathered that he was in favour of that, but the principle of the Government's scheme is that it could not happen in the way feared, as is shown by the use of the words "not necessarily beyond." The White Paper has come before us for two reasons; because of the emerging deficit, and because it is now widely felt throughout the country, not only by political parties but by the people themselves, that the present flat-rate system is not satisfactory. To the Conservative way of thinking, it is quite wrong that a benefit or subsidy should be applied to everybody, regardless of need. One of the reasons for my welcoming the White Paper is that the Exchequer subsidy which, in future, is to be paid into the National Insurance scheme, will be concentrated on the lower contributions and lower benefits—in fact, on the people who need it, and not on those who do not.

As I understand it, the scheme brings about a situation in which the contributions are subsidised from the taxpayer up to a limit of £15 a week, the contribution falling away rapidly between £9 and £15, but the lower-paid workers—those earning below £9 a week—will get quite considerable benefit—at any rate, when the scheme starts—by the extended contributions, and will, therefore, receive the help that they, in their position, need.

I think that it is quite unjust—indeed, ridiculous, on the face of it —to say that the lower-paid workers are excluded from the scheme. They are not excluded. The result to them will be that a man will get the same benefits for the payment of 1s. 7d. a week less, for four years, certainly, and a smaller amount in the succeeding four or five years, and so on. That is the sort of exclusion from the scheme that I welcome. If I were excluded from paying my bills to the tune of 1s. 7d. less in each case, I would be delighted. To say that the lower-paid workers are excluded from the scheme is ridiculous.

The alternative put before us is that the necessary subsidies to the lower-paid workers should all be found from the taxpayer and not from increased contributions. That, as I understand it, is the way that the Labour Party scheme, very largely, works.

There is a limit to what one can persuade younger people to pay today in flat-rate contributions. I do not say that the limit is not reached and then, as the standard of living rises, it moves on again. The flat-rate contribution may then go up, so that the limit is again reached. It does not follow that the flat-rate contribution we have today is absolutely the top figure that any young person would be prepared to pay, but I do feel, and I understand that others think the same, that at the moment our flat-rate contribution is about as much as they are willing to pay.

When the flat-rate contribution was put up some months ago, there was quite an outcry from some younger people, and letters were written to the Press by them saying that they objected to paying, as they put it, for somebody else's grandfather. There is a limit beyond which we should not drive them, because if that sort of attitude, that spirit of resentment against the tax, began to prevail generally it would put the whole future of the national scheme in jeopardy there would be constant agitation from taxpayers as a class that they should not have to contribute so much to the scheme.

There would be another effect. If increased contributions are exacted by law from people, without consent on their part, the effect certainly will be to stimulate demands for higher wages in order to make good the increased weekly contribution. We have seen that, of course, in the last few months. Such a thing would be directly inflationary. To ask for higher wages in order to offset that kind of contribution would, in itself, be directly inflationary. As The Times points out today, that would certainly be a consequence of increasing the flat-rate demand over and over again.

There are, as my hon. Friend the Member for Stretford (Mr. Storey) pointed out, many younger people who are quite willing and anxious to pay a good deal more in contributions than the State demands for the National Insurance scheme. I see no reason why they should not be able to do so. The way in which they can do so without contributing to inflation is individually and voluntarily to take part in pension schemes, either completely private schemes or occupational schemes. They cannot then say, "I am not doing it from my own choice. I disagree, and I demand a higher wage in order to meet my commitment." If a young person chooses to enter a scheme or chooses to enter employment with a company where there is a scheme, such an attitude is not tenable, and, moreover, that kind of increase in contribution is not in itself inflationary. They regard that heavy contribution, perhaps, as a contribution to their future, as deferred wages, as part of the conditions in which they work; they are pleased to be able to pay it and it is their choice that they do so.

It has been said that many voluntary schemes will become out of date when the White Paper is translated into law, and I have one or two questions to put about that. I take it that the option to contract out of the national scheme is a continuing option and that it will not be necessary to make an irrevocable decision once and for all, at any particular time. In The Times today there is a paragraph in the leading article which says: No country has yet worked opting out successfully because it involves comparing in-comparables and making the assumption, always falsified, that the State will never alter its own scheme. Employers are bound to rely upon actuaries in deciding how to choose, but no actuary will be happy to give advice. That paragraph must have been written with the idea in mind that, at some particular point in time—presumably when the Measure embodying the scheme comes into operation—it will be necessary for an employer to make up his mind whether to join or not to join, and there will never be an opportunity to take another look at it. I hope that it will be a sort of continuing choice open to people controlling private occupational schemes so that it will be possible for them, in the light of the State benefits, to decide that they no longer wish to compete, so to speak. It should be open to them to decide either that they will drop their scheme or, as my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Croydon, North-East (Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett) said, keep their scheme running in conjunction with the State scheme, although it will not be quite so beneficial. I do not see why the choice should be so frightfully difficult.

In the White Paper, the criteria by which a person must decide whether to join the scheme are that the benefit shall be equal or better, that it shall be trans- ferable and that it shall be sound financially. While the figures may be very complex—I would not like to work them out—I do not see why those skilled in the matter should have any difficulty in making up their minds about it. While there is the continuing right to contract out, I do not think that the number of voluntary schemes will sharply diminish, nor that a number of occupational schemes will be started anew.

It has also been suggested that the workers are imposed upon because it is the decision not of them individually but of the employer whether or not to contract out of the national scheme. I do not think that this criticism is very valid. After all, the workers have the safeguard that the scheme shall be as good as or better than the national scheme, that it shall be transferable and that it shall be financially sound. Presumably the employers and the workpeople will get together in consultation to make the decision, but the compulsion will be upon those in the scheme to choose which is the better scheme and which is more financially favourable to them. They have the liberty to choose how they think they would be better off. I do not think that that is much of an imposition, nor do I think that the liberties of the country will be endangered by that sort of Tory control.

Others have spoken better than I about investigations in the future into pensions of those who are not able to take part in this scheme today, such as the war pensioners, disability pensioners, widows and others who will not directly benefit by the proposals which will come into force as a consequence of the White Paper. That is a sphere in which more can and should be done. I wonder also whether my right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance would not be better in charge of some of the Treasury and Service schemes. I think that the people affected might get a better deal if he were.

I welcome the White Paper. The scheme is imaginative and is based on sound lines. It will give benefits which will not be eroded by inflation or mal-administration and I hope, in due course, to see it put into law.

8.43 p.m.

Mr. Malcolm MacMillan (Western Isles)

The hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Kershaw) made, latterly, a very interesting speech but when he launched into battle at the beginning I thought that his vigour and unself-consciousness must have been based either upon a very short memory or a poor knowledge of the Tory Party's history in respect of the subject under discussion today. When he spoke about what the Government have done for the pensioners and for the other classes to which he referred, my mind went back, like others who are veteran hon. Members of this House, to pre-war years, when as late as 1938 a Tory Prime Minister stood at that Box and refused to give the House of Commons time even to discuss the question of an increase in pensions for old people. The Tory Party's minds were as closed as that to any possibility of improving the lot of the most needy section of the community at that time.

I do not think any hon. Member opposite will challenge that; but that expressed the mind, attitude and intention of the Tory Party at that time. And that had continued for certainly twenty years. There had been no change and no intention to change, and that state of affairs would still have continued had it not been for a new attitude created largely by the pressure of the Socialist Ministers in the Coalition Government. I mention particularly the late Arthur Greenwood and Ernest Bevin, without any aspersions being cast upon their other colleagues. The influence of these men alone in the setting up, largely through Arthur Greenwood's pressure, of the Beveridge Committee, and the work of Ernest Bevin and his friends towards the abolition of the Poor Law, were the real beginning of the post-war Welfare State structure that was finally created by a Socialist Government.

Of course, the Government cannot demolish that structure merely because they happen to get a little Tory majority. They dare not demolish the whole social security structure merely for a political prejudice or whim. It is not, however, because of any underlying foundation of principle or conviction. It is because they dare not face the electors if they started to demolish something for which the Labour Government has the right to take credit and which the hon. Member for Stroud might have been generous enough to give it. I can now abandon the lion. Member for the time being; but I ask him to try to remember the history of those years, from the First World War right up to the Second War, when there was no change, and no intention of change, for the better for the old-age pensioners, on the Tory side of the House.

My hon. Friends, one after another, have today indeed done what the hon. Member said. They have criticised these Tory proposals, and rightly so. Nobody from the Government side has effectively answered the criticisms made from this side. Hon. Members opposite have defended the White Paper as a whole and its proposals in general; but they have made no sustained attempt to argue the case in detail.

For example, hon. Members opposite have not attempted to defend with any argument or logic, but merely with blind support of the Government, the refusal to provide anything more for existing pensioners. They have not made any case in support of the White Paper proposal for the exclusion—the hon. Member for Stroud argued that "exclusion" might not be the right word; in our view it is, in the terms in which we have been arguing—of those who earn under £9 a week. That applies also to the millions of women in industry, almost all of whom are earning under £9 a week. The hon. Member made no case whatever for the lumping-together—I shall come to the point in some detail—of all the self-employed, as though they were all professional people or fairly well-to-do. Throughout all the criticism that has been made from this side of the House, we have had from the Government side only occasional interruptions plus general support for the proposals in the White Paper.

My hon. Friend the Member for Motherwell (Mr. Lawson) expressed what I regard as a wholesome distaste—at least, a wholesome distrust—of statistics. The only joke on record by the late Senator McCarthy was when a paper was placed before him by his henchman with a heading "Population of New York, broken down by sex and age". McCarthy sent it back with two words added, "and Communism". Statistics certainly have to be treated with discretion and certainly can be used both ways. I agree with my hon. Friend that there is a good deal of ambiguity in the use of statistics which do not take into account the many human factors, and disturbing factors of various kinds, which, quite rightly, he mentioned tonight.

I want the Minister to consider breaking down, not by age and sex, the general classification of people within the heading of "Self-employed". Within this category there is a class of workers in the community which so far has been left completely outside the consideration of any plan. I refer to the body of out-workers who are classified as self-employed and who are included together with shopkeepers, clergymen and professional people of all kinds.

So far, we have not met the needs of those people. There are many classes of them. I have thousands of them in my constituency alone. There are all the weavers, for example, in the world-famous Harris tweed industry. All these workers are right outside Class I insurance, for example. At the same time, they all have to pay the higher contributions of the self-employed, but they are not within the Industrial Injuries scheme. Yet there is not a word or suggestion about any new proposal to bring them in. There are thousands more who are classed as out-workers and self-employed throughout the country. There are people to whom work is given out in the millinery trade, the leather trade, and other trades, various jobs of making up and finishing garments and other things. No consideration has been given to these people yet. I should not say, perhaps, that no consideration has been given to them; but no provision is proposed for those thousands of people.

For a minute or two, I shall have to sketch in a little of the background of what I want to say about the narrower issue of the weaver outworkers in my own constituency. I hope hon. Members will not mind for one minute being taken across the Minch to the Western Isles, because the picture is not one familiar to everyone here, but only to one or two hon. Members; and it is necessary that I should fill it in.

The Harris tweed industry is today world famous because of the enterprise of the workers and manufacturers and everybody concerned in the production of this woollen texile. Most of the raw material has to be imported. It is processed, woven and generally finished in the Islands themselves—that is, in the Outer Hebrides. It is woven in the homes of the islanders. The men who weave it work under almost the same conditions as the workers in Galashiels and the Border towns, in Lancashire and Yorkshire except that they work singly. They earn, broadly, the same kind of wages. They work virtually to the same specifications in the matter of the cloth; and they work under the control of somebody else who can render them unemployed, not necessarily at a whim, but certainly if trade is bad.

Those men are nevertheless left outside two of the main benefits of the social security scheme. They are left outside the Industrial Injuries scheme; they are left outside unemployment insurance benefit when they are unemployed. Yet they are classed as self-employed persons, paying higher contributions, and drawing smaller benefits.

I do not think that is justifiable any longer under any scheme whatsoever, and I think the House should address itself to the problem of these people who, I think, number in all tens of thousands, scattered throughout the country from the Western Isles right down to the south of England, and are employed in these various trades and jobs. It is time we looked at the problems of this minority in this country in the same way as we pay attention to the problems of minorities in our Colonies overseas and in other parts of the world. We just cannot tuck a few thousand people away across the Minch and out in the Atlantic and forget their needs, yet at the same time subject them to Income Tax and rate them as local citizens and call them up in war, and still have a clear conscience about it.

I have written to Minister after Minister on this subject. One always gets the reply that these men are under contracts for services and not under a contract of service. Secondly, one gets the reply that it would be extremely difficult to bring them within the Act because it would mean amending Regulations. I do not think the consideration that there would be inconvenience to the Government in amending a Regulation is a justification for penalising tens of thousands of our fellow citziens. I do not think that that can be argued or justified by any Minister; and yet that is what one gets in any reply. Occasionally one gets a certain expression of sympathy. But that is the end of it.

A suggestion made by one Minister, at least, is that the industry should be reorganised. It is not within the power of the workers to reconstruct this organisation in such a way that the employer-employee relationship brings them under a general contract of service and within class one insurance.

Yet all these people are going to be left out, as self-employed, of these provisions as they are outlined, and they are to be left lumped together with professional people earning considerable salaries in some cases. They are to be lumped with the most prosperous shopkeepers, with less prosperous clergymen, with politicians generally, and all sorts of professional people; and yet, in fact, they are broadly of the same economic status as and in every way similar in their working conditions to, the workers who happen to have a factory roof over their heads and who technically are under contract of service.

There is surely something unjust about that sort of situation. I know that there are administrative difficulties, of course, but that does not release us from our moral obligation to try to break down this classification as self-employed of those who are in fact of an average working-class economic status and who work in conditions of dependence upon another person's capacity to provide them with the work. That is exactly the position of these men.

They are not alone. In case people think that I am pleading a purely constituency case, I must say that there are thousands of men and women throughout the country, in the various trades which I have mentioned, who are hoping that some scheme will come forward which will treat them as what in fact they are —working people dependent on others for their bread and butter and who can at a moment become "self-unemployed," if there is such a ridiculous phrase—or who can be unemployed without benefit of unemployment insurance, yet who still have to pay higher rates in respect of pensions and everything else.

8.56 p.m.

Mr. R. H. S. Crossman (Coventry, East)

I am well aware that one has no right to ask for indulgence on such occasions, but I think that the House is usually sympathetic to people who have spent thirteen years on the back benches and, having revelled in their freedom, find themselves in the constriction of the Dispatch Box. Moreover, as I sat listening to the debate I became more and more aware that, whereas I have spent only three years thinking about this problem of pensions, there are large numbers of people on both sides of the House who have spent their lives on it and who know a great deal more than I do about it. For instance, all those who heard him must have been impressed by the expert knowledge displayed, even when he disagreed with us, by the hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Tiley), and I know from my hon. Friends, who are well-informed in these matters, what an enormous wealth of knowledge on the subject this House can show. Therefore, in winding up the debate on behalf of the Opposition, one has a very heavy responsibility.

There is a second impression that I have got from the debate. We are told, especially by the newspapers, that the House of Commons has ceased to have real issues before it. There is even complaint made that the parties always agree. Today, as the Minister very fairly said at the end of his speech, we have been discussing a great issue, a momentous issue, an issue on which there is apparently an absolute cleavage between the two sides of the House. I want to discuss it rationally, calmly and coolly, but I want to repeat that here is an issue which we shall not decide. The people of this country have to decide.

We can discuss what the issue is by studying the different approaches to the subject of the Government and of the Opposition. What are the Government's objectives in their provision for old age? What is their first objective? I will read it aloud to the House from the White Paper: To place the National Insurance Scheme on a sound financial basis. That was not our first objective on this side of the House. We think it very important, but our first objective in national superannuation was to deal with the greatest social challenge of the Welfare State—the existence of grinding poverty among old, retired people, and I believe that the difference between the Government and ourselves all stems from this basic difference of objective.

The objective of this scheme, as the Government quite candidly say, is some shift of responsibility from the wealthier taxpayer and the ensuring, in the good old way, that the working class shall be made to pay for their old-age pension. That is the basic aim of this scheme, whereas our basic aim is to begin the job of abolishing poverty in old age. I think that it was the Minister himself who said that he thought this was a vague phrase. When we talked in the 1930s about abolishing unemployment, the Tories told us that it was a vague phrase. But it was done when the British people decided that it had to be done, and the abolition of poverty in old age is an aim any democracy can take upon itself, and will if it wills the means as well as the end. I am extremely glad to have heard from the Tory side, as well as from ours, frank admissions of what this means.

What we are discussing is how much the working, active part of our community is prepared to do to end the shame and disgrace which exists in every city and in every village of this country. I shall not be deterred by any suggestion of sentimentality from restating these things at the end of this debate. It is a shame and a disgrace, in a country which has been growing wealthier and more prosperous year by year, that over 1 million old people should be destitute unless they go through a means test with the National Assistance Board.

That is a disgrace to a democracy, but that is not the full scale of the problem, as the Minister well knows. I need not repeat to the right hon. Gentleman the findings of the only two boroughs where a careful study has been made of the old. In Bethnal Green and Salford they have discovered that there are almost as many old people so poor that they are entitled to National Assistance as there are those who are actually drawing it, so the problem is nearly double. We have literally millions of people on the edge of destitution. That is the problem we believe we have to tackle in order to plan for national superannuation. What depressed me, listening to the Minister again and reading his document was—I will not say the cynical—the extraordinarily complacent way in which the Minister and all his supporters talked as though this just could not be done.

I was interested in asking myself what were their motives. I believe there are two main reasons why quite serious people doubt whether it is possible for us to abolish poverty in old age. One is the belief that if people are poor when they are old it is somehow their fault, that they ought to have made provision, and that we ought not to do too much to help those who have failed to make provision. This is very much the same argument as we heard in the 1930s about unemployment. It was said that we should not do too much for the unemployed because, after all, the fellow who really wanted a job could get it—so it was true that if a working-class person had really wanted to make provision for his old age, he could have done so.

Of course, that is a delusion. It is a delusion that somebody who was 70 years old and who had saved 10 per cent. of his wages from the day he had left school could have done anything but experience the ghastly effect of inflation on working-class savings, and discovered that, at the end of all the saving, what had piled up was not sufficient to keep him above the destitution level or to prevent him from doing more than postponing for a few months, or possibly for a few years, the visit to the National Assistance Board which must be paid before supplementation is received.

I have been interested to study a point which is not often made in public but which I think we ought to make in public this evening. That is the very great difference between what happens to the savings of the wealthy and what happens to the savings of the poor. I know it is an abstract calculation but it is still interesting. It has been calculated recently what would happen to sums of money invested in two different ways.

Let us imagine that a man had £100 in 1919 and put this money in the Post Office, left it there and let it accrue, never drawing a penny of the interest. That money swelled in the Post Office until 1957. What would have happened to the money? In 1957 he would have had £381 and he would have had a gross income of £16 a year. Suppose we take £100, which was not a poor man's £100 in the Post Office but part of a great investment made through a stockbroker in good equity shares in 1919. If this money had been allowed to accumulate from 1919, through the ups and downs, through the gains and losses, what would have happened to the £100? The answer is, of course, that it would have swollen to £3,086, not £381, and the income would have been £1,500 a year and not £16.

I only say this to remind us how it is that people who have to save—[Laughter.] Government supporters may laugh but this is a fact. [An HON. MEMBER: "One thousand five hundred pounds?"] I am very sorry. The sum is £150; but now please observe the difference—the £150 income as against the £16 income, and the £3,000-odd as against £380. That is the difference between the accumulation which takes part in the growth of industrial prosperity and the savings of the poor.

After studying those figures, can one really pretend any more that one is justified in saying, as the Government did in this White Paper, that one of their major objectives must be to prevent anything being done by any superannuation which would undermine our personal responsibility for looking after old age? Frankly, for the vast majority of the people of this country, there is no possibility through individual savings of doing more than providing a little something extra. Anything which is done for old age must be done collectively, either through private occupational schemes, through public occupational schemes, or through, as we propose, a national superannuation scheme.

This brings me to say a few words about private occupational schemes. As is well known, we in the Labour Party, in considering what to do, gave full recognition to what hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House have referred to —the pioneering work in looking after old people done not only by private employers but also by progressive municipal and nationalised industries. Of course, it is true that great work has been done, and I need not repeat the figures, because the Minister gave them. There are nearly 9 million people in schemes, and about 1 million of our present pensioners draw some form of supplementation of their National Insurance pension.

All that is true, but no one in this debate has denied that, if we allow private schemes to grow and give them every encouragement over the next ten years, we shall still have millions of workers without any superannuation. The case for national action is surely proved when, after we have allowed private enterprise every opportunity—and not only that but given it the most colossal tax concessions to encourage it to do so—we find that only half the insured population is in private schemes. Though it may be the number will grow, we know that it is extremely unlikely that the agricultural worker, the shop assistant and people in the building industry will be in any kind of private scheme in ten years' time.

Therefore, we came to the conclusion that the Minister was right when he used the phrase about two nations, which he might have said he borrowed from us, and we had borrowed it from Disraeli. We believe it to be the most grievous social problem of our day—the gross and growing gap between the standard of life enjoyed by those who can regard the National Insurance pension as a supplementation of their main pension and those who have to supplement their main National Insurance pension by resort to the National Assistance Board. That division is accentuated by the Government's tax concession policy, because the Government give more in tax concessions to the private schemes than to the old-age pensioner himself, and this difference, which is going deeper and deeper, is the evil which we must remedy.

I listened to the Minister saying that the virtue of his own scheme was its moderation. I must say that I think that moderation is a great virtue only on certain occasions, but to be very moderate in face of a shameful evil is, of course, to be an apostle of appeasement—or doing as little as possible about a great social scandal. We suggest that the main difference between us is whether we should do as little as possible and pretend it is rather more, or do something bigger and clear out this shame and disgrace in 20 to 25 years. I will not claim that our scheme will abolish poverty and old age in ten years. However, only if we start now in a big way can we hope to abolish it in 20 to 25 years. If we do not begin now, what can we hope to do?

I turn to study the details of the Government's scheme, which were admirably covered by my right hon. Friend and other hon. Friends. All I need do is to summarise for the Minister's convenience the reasons why we shall vote this evening, why we regard his scheme as completely intolerable, and why we are asking him formally to take over ours, knowing well that he will not. This must be fought out in the forum of public opinion outside the House of Commons.

I will sum up three major reasons why we reject the Government's proposals. First, the Government scheme is not all embracing. I will not quibble about words about excluding the £9-a-weeker, but the Minister was free and easy about the self-employed. It is difficult, but one does not solve a difficult problem by saying that it does not exist and by leaving such people out altogether. To leave the problem of the self-employed out of the scheme is not to deal with the problem.

During the debate the subject of women's pensions has hardly been mentioned. I was struck by some remarks in the Government Actuary's Report about occupational pension schemes which the hon. Member for Bradford, West ought to notice to show that they are not all perfect.

Widows' pensions, whether death occurs in service or after retirement, are provided for five in every six members in schemes for the public service and nationalised industries. In the majority of private non-insured schemes and almost all insured schemes the benefit is either a cash sum or no specific benefit is given. This is a very serious gap in private insurance and it is a gap in no way filled in the Government scheme. Under the Government scheme for widows, if the widow is over 60 she will draw half the graded pension when the husband dies. If under 60, she gets nothing except the widow's pension. I would ask the Minister to look at our scheme and see whether he could incorporate something from it in respect of the problem of the widow. The treatment of the widow has been a social lapse in this country. One had hoped the Government would help to remedy a wrong for which we are all to some extent responsible.

The second major reason why we reject the scheme is that it makes the national superannuation scheme deliberately inferior to any private scheme. It sets conditions for the national scheme which no decent employer would accept. What decent employer would agree if the top limit for approval of his scheme was £15? Would I.C.I. think it a good scheme if ordered to carry out one stopping at £15 a week? Yet the Government scheme is to stop at £15 a week.

With regard to the benefits, The Times was a little harsh to the Minister. It is not fair to a State scheme to study the graded element without the flat-rate element, and on that point I am prepared to say that The Times was overharsh to the Minister. Nevertheless, it remains true that the benefits offered under the national scheme, even the benefits found there for the wage level from £9 to £15 a week, are pitiable. Even in the year 2,008 the fellow who starts work at 15 at £15 a week and continues to work at £15 a week will get his pension increased by only £2.

Yet a Government which assumes a 2 per cent. increase in the national income and says that it has some confidence in the standing of our economy offer a pension plan of such pitiable and mean dimensions. It is not really a pension plan at all; it is a plan for dealing with a fiscal problem, a problem of, as the Economist let the cat out of the bag, how to relieve the taxpayer. That was what I meant when I said that the working class are to pay for their pensions. Though the working class are to be taxed, not all taxpayers pay contributions. A few rather wealthy taxpayers, including the wealthiest people in the country, do not contribute. They are the people, therefore, who gain when we reduce the Exchequer contribution.

If we fix the Exchequer contribution at £170 million, all we do is to ensure that as the years go on the burden on the contributor increases while the burden on the Exchequer decreases; that is to say, the general payment for pensions is shifted, not on to the lowest-paid worker —I agree that he is given a slight relief for five or ten years—but to the middle-grade worker, who has to pay more money for pensions while the richer members of the community get off altogether. To describe that as a scheme of superannuation and of graded pensions is an insult to the very idea.

The third reason why we object to the scheme is that it leaves out completely the problem of destitution in old age among the existing pensioners and those with £9 per week and under. The Government are looking forward under this scheme; they assume that in twenty years there will still be one million people on National Assistance. The number will certainly go up when the cost of living goes up. The basic idea of the Government's scheme is a destitution pension for the lowest-paid worker, who is to be kept near to the National Assistance level. We on this side of the House cannot possibly accept that idea.

I want to turn now from the unpleasant subject of the Government's scheme and to say a few words about our own scheme. I am glad that more than half of the debate has been about our scheme. I know why. It is because ours is the scheme; ours is the kind of scheme that we have either to accept or to reject. This is a decision whether or not to start a real scheme of old-age pensions. I need not repeat the essence of the scheme. It does not merely give an increase on the existing pension but includes a guarantee against inflation.

In this scheme there are very stiff contributions. We do not deny that. Over a period of time they will provide a steady old-age pension which will provide half-pay on retirement for the average worker. What are the objections which the Minister and his supporters have made against our plan this afternoon? Let me deal first with the existing pensioners. As far as I can understand from the Minister, we ought to separate what we shall do for the existing pensioner from any long-term plan. I know what he means. It is that when we come to Parliament we shall have to provide relief for the existing pensioner before the big scheme gets under way. There must be a payment for these pensioners before we get the bigger contributions in. Nobody likes to pay bigger contributions; it is very unpleasant. We must help the existing pensioners before we get to that point.

Nevertheless we have taken the path of honesty. We have openly said to the existing pensioners, "We shall do for you all we can possibly afford, because we shall try to make sure that people in the future never go through what you have had to go through. The least we can do for you is to incorporate in our scheme a firm proposal to show what you can expect when we come to Parliament." We should like to give more than £3 or £4 10s., but 10s. is a very big increase. We have added to that the much larger liability of guaranteeing purchasing power against inflation by adjusting the pension annually if the cost of living rises. The adjustment is only upwards; we do not propose to adjust it downwards, and we are perfectly frank about that.

What is the answer of the Minister on this subject of guaranteeing the pension against inflation? I cannot believe that anybody in this House argues that we cannot afford to do it. An hon. Member who says that we cannot afford to guarantee the pension against inflation is suggesting that we should cheat the old-age pensioner. All we are saying is that if the purchasing power which we give in one year slips in the next year the pensioner should have it restored. It is just common practice. All we are suggesting is that instead of waiting until the Opposition force the Government into acting six months later and then three months for the Bill to go through, making nine months in all while the people are cheated of 1s. or 2s. of their pension, we should have an automatic annual adjustment. All I want to know is why that is not in the Government's scheme. If they object to our £3, why can they not at least guarantee the pension?

I suggest the reason they give against it has been made considerably more difficult by the actions of the Grigg Committee and the Minister of Defence. The Report of the Grigg Committee on Army wages and pensions has a very important phrase: It is, however, essential that inflation should not be allowed to eat away the real value of Service emoluments. In that case no one is afraid to say that there may be inflation under a Tory Government. The Government add that they: agree that Service pay and pension should be reviewed regularly at intervals of not more than two years. So here the principle is conceded. When they want to be a great nuclear Power and to get rid of conscription they are willing to pay the bill, but when they want to abolish poverty in old age the Tories will not pay the bill. An automatic adjustment is decency and something we ought to have had years and years ago. I hope that when the Minister of Health replies he will tell us in detail what are his objections to that guarantee. I suggest that he should write into the Bill that the pensions should be based on a special cost-of-living index for establishing the cost of living of old and retired people.

Turning from the existing problem, let us go to our big scheme and consider what the Minister and all his supporters said about it. There were only two objections. The first was that it would cause inflation and was too ambitious. The second was that it would jeopardise private insurance. I have a suspicion that the second played a larger rôle in the thinking of the Minister than the first. However, let us take the first. Now it is suggested that if we put on a special increase of contributions in a national scheme the British worker will immediately cause wide inflation by rushing to the wage market. There have been a good many schemes introduced in the nationalised industries, in municipal industries and private industries. How many employers have discovered that the moment they introduced a sensible scheme the workers went wild and demanded higher wages? Or is it true that the workers would do it to us and not to a private employer or a nationalised board?

What is being said is that the British industrial worker is not as intelligent as the British middle class, for the British middle class learned a long time ago that in order to make provision for old age they must show a little control and have deferred wages or salary locked up in a pension fund and saved on their behalf. Why should anyone believe in 1958 that the rest of the workers are not sensible enough to understand this and to do it as sensibly as people have been doing it for twenty or thirty years in private schemes? I do not think the argument about inflation holds water.

I emphasise that we on this side of the House are not tied and have not tied ourselves to percentages. We did not do so for a very good reason. The precise estimate of the percentages of contribution with which a scheme can be started is an estimate which can be made only by a Government knowing the exact situation and having consulted trade unions and employers on the precise question of what size of contribution working-class people would take. It would therefore have been very silly of us to have laid down in writing a specific figure. All we have said is that we will have a maximum figure which we think people will accept as a genuine contribution to deferred wages.

Now I come to the second and material reason for the Government's objection to our scheme. It is their fear that a national superannuation scheme will undermine private schemes. We have taken the greatest trouble to allow for contracting out, such trouble that the Government have borrowed intact all our proposals on this matter—apart from their one outrageous suggestion that they will not allow freedom of choice to the individual worker. However, we worked very hard on contracting out and we are delighted to find that the Government think it perfectly workable to allow good schemes to contract out.

What is this fear that if people are given a foundation of insurance and get the habit of deferring their pay collectively they will therefore not be interested in looking after their old age? All the evidence shows that if people get the first habit of learning to save they then go on to save for themselves. There is no evidence whatsoever that private pension schemes detract from private savings. On the contrary, they increase them, and the insurance companies are extremely shortsighted if they fail to realise that we shall create a foundation so that each ambitious family can say that half-pay as a pension is not good enough and that two-thirds is preferable and that they will save enough to get that. I hope they will, which brings me to my final point.

I recently visited Russia and China. What struck me was what has struck everybody else—the tremendous rate of capital investment in those countries, the forced saving which is taking place. We should be under no illusion about this. It is not because the Chinese or Russian people want to save in this proportion. It is because in totalitarian countries a Government can levy savings.

The future of the Western democracies will depend on the self-discipline of the Western democracies. Will they be prepared voluntarily to save? Will they be prepared voluntarily to defer wages and salaries? In any old-age pension scheme of our sort, we combine two objectives, the obtaining of savings for capital investment, and provision for old age.

One of the few motives which can be used to persuade a person to save and to lend money to the State or to private industry is that of looking after his old age in the long distant future and abolishing poverty among old people in the immediate present. That is the basic philosophy of our scheme; and what a poor, puny, petty thing this little Government prevarication is!

I suppose it is no good asking, but the Prime Minister is a man of imagination. The Prime Minister said the other day that he had borrowed a couple of Old Wykehamist ties. If he had borrowed our national superannuation, he might have won the next election.

9.29 p.m.

The Minister of Health (Mr. Derek Walker-Smith)

I am sure that the House will wish me to start by congratulating the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) on his maiden speech from the Dispatch Box. He started by saying that he came to the Dispatch Box after thirteen years on the back benches. He has a very special talent for opposition, because he has spent thirteen years in opposition. Whatever the Government, the hon. Member has always been in opposition. He is, in fact, a sort of Vicar of Bray in reverse—whatever the Government, he is in Opposition. [Interruption.] I hear an hon. Gentleman speak of talent. I have always admired the talents of the hon. Member for Coventry, East. My difficulty, in the past, has been to get his right hon. Friends to agree with me, but now that they have given this tardy recognition to his talents, I hope that that, and the good sense of the electorate, will keep him permanently on the Opposition Front Bench.

I do not think, however, that economics are the hon. Gentleman's strong point. He started his speech by entering into some calculations as to what the return would be between gilt-edged securities and equities over a certain period. I should have thought that he would have had more feeling for his right hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton) whose policies were the prime reason for the poor return on gilt-edged securities in this country today. Of course, and probably through force of habit, the hon. Gentleman got his notes muddled up. In some ways he is like Lord Randolph Churchill—[Interruption.] He has the arithmetic of Lord Randolph Churchill, without his statesmanship.

Apart from the contribution of the hon. Member for Coventry, East, we have had some very interesting and informed contributions to this debate. In particular, we have had constructive speeches from my hon. Friends the Members for Aylesbury (Sir S. Summers), Stretford (Mr. Storey) and Bradford, West (Mr. Tiley), all based on practical experience of these matters. I am sure that my right hon. Friend will take into careful account all the suggestions that they have made.

We are dealing here with a great social and economic problem. Our object is to seek to achieve the highest common factor of what is socially desirable and economically practicable. We have no reason to apologise for taking into account the economic aspects. We want to do our best for the old—and I reject with scorn the suggestion of the hon. Member that we are lacking in sympathy for them—but we want to do that without laying undue burdens upon the productive and young section of the community. The hon. Gentleman quoted Disraeli, but, as be may recall, Disraeli also said that the young are the trustees of posterity. Therefore, we seek to do our best for the old and to keep in balance the claims of the young and productive element.

In a speech of great lucidity and power, my right hon. Friend described the scheme set forth in detail in the White Paper. We follow these principles: first, that we should not mortgage the interests of the future for the comfort of the present; secondly, that we should seek to concentrate the resources of the Exchequer upon the areas of greatest need; thirdly, the State should not dictate the use of the income of the individual so as to compel him to make provision for old age above a reasonable level, and the State should not wholly replace the private action which is making so notable a contribution in this respect.

In applying these principles, we claim to have evolved a scheme which is as good as any yet devised. It is a scheme which may be capable of improvement—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—but it is a scheme which, in every respect, is immensely superior to the so-called Labour plan.

Right hon. and hon. Members opposite, in their Amendment, lay three charges against our scheme. First, they say that existing rates of pension should be raised immediately. This has loomed large in many of the speeches, and it is the one precise undertaking which is given in the Labour pamphlet. Whatever else is imprecise and amorphous, it is said that pensioners have a right to know what the Labour Party's precise intentions are in regard to existing rates. If the Opposition still had the advantage of being untested in action, these promises for the future, if they were not to be read in the light of past performance, might excite interest and hope. As it is, they will arouse only curiosity and challenge inquiry.

All the speeches from the benches opposite today have sought to overlook the Labour Government's record in regard to old-age pensions. We think well enough of the sagacity of the British people to know that they will judge what the Labour Party promises for the future by what it failed to do in the past.

The existing pension rates–50s. single and 80s. married—give substantially greater purchasing power to the pensioner than at any previous time. The 50s. pension is higher, by as much as 6s. 10d., than the equivalent of the rate introduced by the Labour Government in 1946, and higher by 11s. 5d. than the position reached in 1951 when, after five years, Labour had left the rate unimproved. By contrast, the real value of pensions dropped steadily under the Labour Government. After five years, their 26s. rate was worth only 20s. 2d. As a result of six years of Labour Government, all real value was torn from the value of the pension as given. It was not until October, 1951, on the very eve of the General Election, that they had their death-bed repentance and introduced their first increase. Even then, the real purchasing power of the pension after the Labour Party raised it with an eye on the election was still lower than the initial rate in 1946. It was rather remarkable that we should have a speech complaining about what we are doing for the old-age pensioners from the hon. Member for Mansfield (Mr. B. Taylor), who was Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry at that time, and who failed—[Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren) need not look so anxious. It was not he; it was his hon. Friend the Member for Mansfield who made the speech.

Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)

if the right hon. and learned Gentleman wants to see anxious faces he should look around.

Mr. Walker-Smith

The hon. Member for Coventry, East referred to the shame and disgrace of the old-age pensioners. He twice used the phrase "cheating the old-age pensioner". That no doubt awoke some echo in his mind because of what he wrote in the Sunday Pictorial on 7th November, 1954. The hon. Gentleman then said that the old people under the Labour Government were cheated even of the modest slice of the national cake which they had been promised. Surely it is shameful for a party with that record, in which the indictment was written by the hon. Member for Coventry, East, to have the effrontery to seek to censure this Government, who by acid test of achievement have done so much more for the pensioners.

We have undertaken in the White Paper to keep the pension rates under review. That will be a sympathetic review, as the public will know, based on our record of increases in the pension rate compared with the Socialist record of letting down the purchasing value, and it will be a review which will be easier to translate into effect because the scheme will be on a sound financial basis.

The hon. Member for Coventry, East said that half the time of the debate had been spent on the Labour plan. I do not intend to spend half of my speech on it, but I should, no doubt, make some reference to it. The chief disadvantage of the Labour plan is that it is not, in fact, a plan at all. A plan is something which can be put into operation. Only one part of this which is called the Labour plan is officially endorsed by the party opposite. Official responsibility for the meat of it, the figures, the calculations and all the things which are dangled before the public to try to excite their interest and attract their votes is disclaimed by right hon. Gentlemen opposite, so that they are able to say to the electors when they have voted for them on the basis of Part II, "We need not honour that because we have reserved our position in advance".

I want now to come to the second part of the charge made against our proposals, namely, that they are not inflation-proof, as it is called. Everybody would agree with the importance of the object of maintaining the purchasing power of pensions. I gladly give the assurance to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Croydon, North-East (Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett), whose speech, unfortunately, I did not hear, that we certainly do not expect our scheme to increase the cost of living.

The real issue here is whether we should assume the continuance of inflation and try to build defences into the scheme or whether, by general action, we should seek to counter inflation in the knowledge that the old-age pensioners will be the prime beneficiaries of our success. There is no doubt of the answer to that. The flood waters of inflation will never be held by artificial barriers erected for the protection of this sector or that. The right way to counter inflation is to seek to abate the waters at their source and prevent the flow of inflation bringing distress and difficulty in their wake.

The Labour Party put forward the policy of the automatic link. We say that that is misconceived, because it will not work. [Interruption.] Of course, there may be inflation in the long period in which we are looking ahead in the context of these pension schemes. We are looking ahead for thirty or forty years and it is possible, having regard to the forgiving nature of the British people, that there might be a Labour Government for a short period towards the end of that time. That would, no doubt, bring inflation in its wake then, as it has done now, but that would not be cured—

Mr. Crossman

The question I asked the right hon. and learned Gentleman was why the Minister of Defence thought it possible to have an automatic check against inflation when the right hon. and learned Gentleman does not think so. Here is the quotation: It is, however, essential"— says the Grigg Report— that inflation should not be allowed to eat away the real value of Service emoluments"— in other words, inflation should not be allowed to eat it away— …and we therefore recommend…that there should be an automatic biennial review of pay… Underneath, comes this statement: The Government agree that Service pay and pension should be reviewed regularly at intervals of not more than two years.

Mr. Walker-Smith

The hon. Member has put a question perfectly quietly. I assume that an answer is required and that I will be allowed to give it. There is nothing in what the hon. Member has read out to indicate an automatic link. What is there stated is that there will be a review at a stated period. In paragraph 34 of the White Paper we have given an undertaking to review unspecified as to time. I was saying that it might well be that a Government would have to review on the basis of inflation if we had another experience of Labour government and had the same inflationary processes as we had on the previous occasion.

I have given the first two reasons why we do not consider that an automatic link would be a defence against inflation in this context: the impracticability of it and the constitutional position as defined by my right hon. Friend. There is, however, a third reason—that there is a real danger that the assumption of inflation would of itself provide a fresh stimulus to inflation. It would certainly be a great disincentive to that long-term saving necessary for investment to which both the hon. Gentleman and the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) referred today.

Therefore, on this part of the question we say the only real defences against inflation are the basic counter-inflationary policies which we follow, but that if there should be a danger of inflation, that is covered by the review promised in the White Paper, and that the proposal of an automatic link is unnecessary, impracticable and unworkable.

I come to the third ground of criticism that is, that this White Paper fails to provide a fully comprehensive system for the doing away of poverty. I should like to deal with that both on the basis of the criticism in regard to universality and the position of the lower-paid workers and in regard to the criticism of the ceiling of £15 put in our scheme.

There is, of course, no question of absolute universality in any graduated pension scheme. The Labour plan, like ours, has a ceiling and machinery for contracting out, though both differ from ours. Our scheme gives to the lower-paid worker a reduction in his contribution for flat-rate benefit with the prospect, as his earnings advance, of moving into the graduated field to supplement his flat-rate pension. The suggestion has been made in the course of the debate that the lower-paid workers are not having a reasonable deal on this and that, in fact, they will not progress forward into the higher ranges. That is to take a far too static view of society. We would expect some of these to move forward into the graduated field, but, of course, out of the 7¾ million affected, 4¾ million are women, many of them married women who do not desire to pay the contributions which would be necessary to earn them graduated pensions.

It was suggested by one hon. Member opposite that agricultural workers came under the £9 earnings limit. That was a confusion of earnings with wages. The average earnings of agricultural workers are already appreciably over the £9 limit

The right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East suggested that the benefit of the reduced contribution would not last very long, that it would take the whole of the twenty years and the four quinquennial increases before the lower-paid worker under our scheme comes up to the rate of contribution which he pays at present. On this question of universality we come to a great difference in the political philosophy of the parties. Hon. Gentlemen opposite feel it right that the State should extend its activities, and they, naturally, blame us for not taking this opportunity to push State action further into the life of the individual. But it is not part of our policy or philosophy that a State system should be used to dictate the pattern of spending of individuals so as to make them have a greater provision for their old-age pensions than the reasonable minimum which we have thought it right to prescribe.

This is a difference of approach. The right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay), as we know, believes in the principle that the gentleman in Whitehall knows best. We do not wish to extend that principle into insurance. We have evolved our scheme not on a bureaucratic basis but in a way which we think is better suited to the characteristics and traditions of the British people.

This matter has been debated here today and my right hon. Friend will note the suggestions that have been made. When we come to the Bill the House will be able to resume its discussion in greater detail. Meanwhile, I submit the conclusion to the House that the Labour plan is a precarious and prodigal plan.

It is basically unattractive, extravagant and founded upon over-optimism. Our scheme is a balanced and practical plan, the product of mature thought. With its aid we shall safeguard the future which the plan of the party opposite will sacrifice, and sustain the present which the party opposite would squander.

Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 311, Noes 260.

Division No. 3.] AYES [9.58 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.
Aitken, W. T. Cunningham, Knox Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Currie, G. B. H. Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)
Alport, C. J. M. Dance, J. C. G. Hill, John (S. Norfolk)
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Davidson, Viscountess Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathooat (Tiverton) D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hirst, Geoffrey
Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William Deedes, W. F. Holland-Martin, C. J.
Arbuthnot, John do Ferranti, B. R. V. Z. Hope, Lord John
Armstrong, C. W. Digby, Simon Wingfield Hornby, R. P.
Ashton, H. Dodds-Parker, A. D. Horobin, Sir Ian
Astor, Hon. J. J. Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence
Atkins, H. E. Doughty, C. J. A. Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Drayson, G. B. Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)
Baldwin, Sir Archer du Cann, E. D. L. Howard, John (Test)
Balniel, Lord Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)
Barber, Anthony Duthie, W. S. Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.
Barlow, Sir John Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Hughes-Young, M. H. C.
Barter, John Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Hulbert, Sir Norman
Batsford, Brian Elliott,R.W.(Ne'castle upon Tyne,N.) Hurd, A. R.
Baxter, Sir Beverley Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.)
Beamish, Col. Tufton Errington, Sir Eric Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark(E'b'gh, W.)
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Erroll, F. J. Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun)
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Farey-Jones, F. W. Hyde, Montgomery
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Fell, A. Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry
Bennett, Dr. Reginald Finlay, Graeme Iremonger, T. L.
Bovins, J. R. (Toxteth) Fisher, Nigel Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Bidgood, J. C. Fletcher-Cooke, C. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Forrest, G. Jennings, J. C. (Burton)
Bingham, R. M. Fort, R. Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
Bishop, F. P. Freeth, Denzil Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)
Black, C. W. Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)
Body, R. F. Gammons, Lady Joseph, Sir Keith
Bosom, Sir Alfred Gibson-Watt, D. Kaberry, D.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Glover, D. Keegan, D.
Braine, B. R. Glyn, Col. Richard H. Kerby, Capt. H. B.
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow. W.) Godlier, J. B. Kerr, Sir Hamilton
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Goodhart, Philip Kershaw, J. A.
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Gough, C. F. H. Kimball, M.
Brooman-White, R. C. Gower, H. R. Kirk, P. M.
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Graham, Sir Fergus Lagden, G. W.
Bryan, P. Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside) Lambton, Viscount
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Lancaster, Col. C. G.
Burden, F. F. A. Gresham Cooke, R. Langford-Holt, J. A.
Butcher, Sir Herbert Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Leavey, J. A.
Butler, Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden) Grimston Sir Robert (Westbury) Leburn, W. G.
Campbell, Sir David Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Carr, Robert Gurden, Harold Legh, Hon. Peter (Peterefield)
Cary, Sir Robert Hall, John (Wycombe) Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.
Chichester-Clark, R. Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Lindsay, Martin (Soilhull)
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Harris, Reader (Heston) Linstead, Sir H. N.
Cole, Norman Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) Llewellyn, D. T.
Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G.(Sutton Coldfield)
Cooke, Robert Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Cooper, A. E. Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)
Cooper-Key, E. M. Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Loveys, W. H.
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Harvie-Watt, Sir George Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby
Corlield, Capt. F. V. Hay, John Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Crowder, Sir John (Finchiey) Henderson, John (Cathcart) Wadden, S. J.
Macdonald, Sir Peter Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale) Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)
Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Partridge, E. Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
McKibbin, Alan Peel, W. J. Storey, S.
Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Peyton, J. W. W. Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
McLaughlin, Mrs. P. Pickthorn, K. W. M. Studholme, Sir Henry
Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Pike, Miss Mervyn Summers, Sir Spencer
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster) Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)
McLean, Neil (Inverness) Pitman, I. J. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Pitt, Miss E. M. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Harold(Bromley) Pott, H. P. Teeling, W.
Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Price, David (Eastleigh) Temple, John M.
Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Maddan, Martin Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Profumo, J. D. Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)
Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Ramsden, J. E. Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Rawlinson, Peter Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Markham, Major Sir Frank Redmayne, E. Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Marlowe, A. A. H. Rees-Davies, W. R. Turner, H. F. L.
Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E. Renton, D. L. M. Vane, W. M. F.
Marshall, Douglas Ridsdale, J. E. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Mathew, R. Rippon, A. G. F. Vickers, Miss Joan
Maudling,, Rt. Hon. R. Roberts, Sir Peter (Healey) Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.
Mawby, R. L. Robertson, Sir David Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Robson Brown, Sir William Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Medlioott, Sir Frank Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek
Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R. Roper, Sir Harold Wail, Patrick
Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)
Moore, Sir Thomas Russell, R. S. Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Morrison, John (Salisbury) Sandys, Rt. Hon. D. Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. Webbe, Sir H.
Nabarro, G. D. N. Sharpies, R. C. Webster, David
Nairn, D. L. S. Shepherd, William Whitelaw, W. S. I.
Neave, Airey Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.) Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Nicholls, Harmar Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham) Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch) Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Noble, Michael (Argyll) Spearman, Sir Alexander Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Nugent, G. R. H. Speir, R. M. Wood, Hon. R.
O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.) Woollam, John Victor
Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.) Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Osborne, C. Stevens, Geoffrey TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Page, R. G. Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.) Mr. Heath and Mr. Oakshott
Ainsley, J. W. Coldrick, W. Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.
Albu, A. H. Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Greenwood, Anthony
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Corbet, Mrs. Freda Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Grey, C.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Cronin, J. D. Griffiths Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)
Anderson, Frank Grossman, R. H. S. Griffiths, William (Exchange)
Awbery, S. S. Cullen, Mrs. A. Hale, Leslie
Bacon, Miss Alice Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)
Baird, J. Darling, George (Hillsborough) Hamilton, W. W.
Balfour, A. Davies, Rt.Hon.Clement(Montgomery) Hannan, W.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)
Bean, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Davies, Harold (Leek) Hastings, S.
Benson, Sir George Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Hayman, F. H.
Beswick, Frank Deer, G. Healey, Denis
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) de Freitas, Geoffrey Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)
Blackburn, F. Delargy, H. J. Herbison, Miss M.
Blenkinsop, A. Diamond, John Hewitson, Capt. M.
Blyton, W. R. Dodds, N. N. Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)
Boardman, H. Donnelly, D. L. Holman, P.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch) Holmes, Horace
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester) S.W.) Dye, S. Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)
Bowles, F. G. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Howell, Denis (All Saints)
Boyd, T. C. Edelman, M. Hoy, J. H.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Brockway, A. F. Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Hunter, A. E.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Hynd, H. (Accrington)
Brown, Thomas (Inoe) Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)
Burke, W. A. Fernyhough, E. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Burton, Miss F. E. Finch, H. J. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Fitch, Alan Janner, B.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Fletcher, Eric Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.
Callaghan, L. J. Foot, D. M. Jeger, George (Goole)
Carmichael, J. Forman, J. C. Jeger, Mrs.Lena(Holbn & St.Pncs,S.)
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)
Champion, A. J. Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Johnson, Jams (Rugby)
Chapman, W. D. George, Lady Megan Lloyd(Car'then) Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield)
Chetwynd, G. R. Gibson, C. W. Jones, David (The Hartlepoois)
Clunie, J. Gooch, E. G. Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)
Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Oliver, G. H. Sparks, J. A.
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Oram, A. E. Spriggs, Leslie
Jones, T. W. (Merloneth) Orbach, M. Steele, T.
Kenyon, C. Oswald, T. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Owen, W. J. Stonehouse, John
King, Dr. H. M. Padley, W. E. Stones, W. (Consett)
Lawson, G. M. Paget, R. T. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Ledger, R. J. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Palmer, A. M. F. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Lever, Harold (Cheatham) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Swingler, S. T.
Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Parglter, G. A. Sylvester, G. O.
Lewis, Arthur Parker, J. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Lindgren, G. S. Parkin, B. T. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Lipton, Marcus Paton, John Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Logan, D. G. Peart, T. F. Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Pentland, N. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
McAlister, Mrs. Mary Prentice, R. E. Timmons, J.
McCann, J. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Tomney, F.
MacColl, J. E. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
MacDermot, Niall Probert, A. R. Usborne, H. C.
McGhee, H. G. Proctor, W. T. Vlant, S. P.
Mcinnes, J. Pursey, Cmdr. H. Warbey, W. N.
McKay, John (Wallsend) Randall, H. E. Watkins, T. E.
McLeavy, Frank Rankin, John Weitzman, D.
MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Redhead, E. C. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Reeves, J. Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Mahon, Simon Reid, William Wheeldon, W. E.
Mallalleu, E. L. (Brigg) Reynolds, G. W. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Mallaileu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.) Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Wigg, George
Mann, Mrs. Jean Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Wilcook, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Wilkins, W. A.
Mason, Roy Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Willey, Frederick
Mayhew, C. P. Rogers, George (Kensington, N.) Williams, David (Neath)
Mellish, R. J. Ross, William Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Messer, Sir F. Royle, C. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Mikardo, Ian Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Mitohison, G. R. Short, E. W. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Monslow, W. Shurmer, P. L. E. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Moody, A. S. Silverman, Julius (Aston) Winterbottom, Richard
Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Morrison,Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewis'm,S.) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Woof, R. E.
Mort, D. L. Skeffington, A. M. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Moss, R. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.) Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Moyle, A. Slater, J. (Sedgefield) Zilliacus, K.
Neal, Harold (Bolsovsr) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Snow, J. W. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.) Sorensen, R. W. Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Pearson.
O'Brien, Sir Thomas Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank

Main Question Put:

The House divided: Ayes 308, Noes 261.

Division No. 4.] AYES [10.10 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Bingham, R. M. Cooper-Key, E. M.
Aitken, W. T. Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Bishop, F. P. Corfield, Capt. F. V.
Alport, C. J. M. Black, C. W. Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Body, R. F. Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Bossom, Sir Aifred Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)
Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)
Arbuthnot, John Barine, B. R. Cunningham, Knox
Armstrong, C. W. Braithwalte, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Currie, G. B. H.
Ashton, H. Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Dance, J. C. G.
Astor, Hon. J. J. Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Davidson, Viscountess
Atkins, H. E. Brooman-White, R. C. D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Deedes, W. F.
Baldwin, Sir Archer Bryan, P. de Fellanti, B. R. V. Z.
Balniel, Lord Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Dlgby, Simon Wingfield
Barber, Anthony Burden, F. F. A. Dodds-Parker, A. D.
Barlow, Sir John Butcher, Sir Herbert Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.
Barter, John Butler, Rt. Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden) Doughty, C. J. A.
Batsford, Brian Campbell, Sir David Drayson, G. B.
Baxter, Sir Beverley Carr, Robert du Cann, E. D. L.
Beamish, Col. Tufton Cary, Sir Robert Dugdale, at. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Chichester-Clark, R. Duthie, W. S.
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald Cole, Norman Elliott,R.W.(Ne'castle upon Tyne,N.)
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn
Bidgood, J. C. Cooke, Robert Errington, Sir Eric
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Cooper, A. E. Erroll, F. J.
Farey-Jones, F. W. Kimball, M. Price, David (Eastleigh)
Finlay, Graeme Kirk, P. M. Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Fisher, Nigel Lagden, G. W. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Fletcher-Cooke, C. Lambton, Viscount Profumo, J. D.
Forrest, G. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Ramsden, J. E.
Fort, R. Langford-Holt, J. A. Rawlinson, Peter
Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Leavey, J. A. Redmayne, M.
Freeth, Denzil Leburn, W. G. Rees-Davies, W. R.
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Renton, D. L. M.
Gammans, Lady Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Ridsdale, J. E.
Gibson-Watt, D. Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Rippon, A. G. F.
Glover, D. Lindsay, Martin (Solihull) Roberts, Sir Peter (Healey)
Glyn, Col. Richard H Linstead, Sir H. N. Robertson, Sir David
Godber, J. B. Llewellyn, D. T. Robson Brown, Sir William
Goodhart, Philip Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (Sutton Goldfield) Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Gough, C. F. H. Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Roper, Sir Harold
Gower, H. R. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Ropner, col. Sir Leonard
Graham, Sir Fergus Loveys, W. H. Russell, R. S.
Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside) Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.
Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Gresham Cooke, R. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick) Sharpies, R. C.
Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Shepherd, William
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) McAdden, S. J. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Gurden, Harold Macdonald, Sir Peter Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Hall, John (Wycombe) Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)
Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. McKibbin, Alan Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Spearman, Sir Alexander
Harris, Reader (Heston) McLaughlin, Mrs. P. Spear, R. M.
Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)
Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster) Sperm, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vero (Macclesf'd) McLean, Neil (Inverness) Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Stevens, Geoffrey
Harvey, John (Walthametow, E.) Maomillan,Rt.Hn.Harold(Bromley) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Harvie-Watt, Sir George Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)
Hay, John Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. Maddan, Martin Storey, S.
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Hornoasele) Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Studholme, Sir Henry
Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Summers, Sir Spencer
Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Markham, Major Sir Frank Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)
Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Marlowe, A. A. H. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Marshall, Douglas Tooling, W.
Hirst, Geoffrey Mathew, R. Temple, John M.
Holland-Martin, C. J. Maudling, Rt. Hon. R. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Hope, Lord John Mawby, R. L. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Hornby, R. P. Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)
Horobin, Sir Ian Medlicott, Sir Frank Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R. Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Howard, Hn. Greville (St. Ives) Moore, Sir Thomas Turner, H. F. L.
Howard, John (Test) Morrison, John (Salisbury) Vane, W. M. F.
Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Hughes-Hallett, Vice-Admiral J. Nabarro, G. D. N. Vickers, Miss Joan
Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Nairn, D. L. S. Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.
Hulbert, Sir Norman Neave, Airey Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Hurd, A. R. Nicholls, Harmar Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.) Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham) Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek
Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark(E'b'gh, W.) Nicolson, N.(B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch) Wall, Patrick
Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun) Noble, Michael (Argyll) Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)
Hyde, Montgomery Nugent, G. R. H. Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Iremonger, T. L. Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Webbe, Sir H.
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Webster, David
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Osborne, C. Whitelaw, W. S. I.
Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Page, R. G. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam) Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Partridge, E. Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Peel, W. J. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green) Peyton, J. W. W. Wood, Hon. R.
Joseph, Sir Keith Pickthorn, K. W. M. Woollam, John Victor
Kaberry, D. Pike, Miss Mervyn Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Keegan, D. Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Kerby, Capt. H. B. Pitman, I. J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Pitt, Miss E. M. Mr. Heath and Mr. Oakshott.
Kershaw, J. A. Pott, H. P.
Ainsley, J. W. Bacon, Miss Alice Beswick, Frank
Albu, A. H. Baird, J. Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vaie)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Balfour, A. Blackburn, F.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Ballenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Blenkinsop, A.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Bonn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Blyton, W. R.
Awbery, S. S. Benson, Sir George Boardman, H.
Bonham Carter, Mark Holt, A. F. Peart, T. F.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Pentland, N.
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Howell, Denis (All Saints) Prentice, R. E.
Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan) Hoy, J. H. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Bowles, F. G. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Boyd, T. C. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Probert, A. R.
Braddook, Mrs. Elizabeth Hunter, A. E. Proctor, W. T.
Brockway, A. F. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Randall, H. E.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Rankin, John
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Redhead, E. C.
Burke, W. A. Janner, B. Reeves, J.
Burton, Miss F. E. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Reid, William
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Jeger, George (Goole) Reynolds, C. W.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Jeger, Mrs.Lena(Holbn&St. Pnos,S.) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Callaghan, L. J. Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Carmichael, J. Johnson, James (Rugby) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Jones,Rt.Hon.A.Creech(Wakofield) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Champlon, A. J. Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Chapman, W. D. Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Ross, William
Chetwynd, G. R. Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Royle, C.
Clunie, J. Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Coldrick, W. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Short, E. W.
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Kenyon, C. Shurmer, P. L. E.
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) King, Dr. H. M. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Cronin, J. D. Lawson, G. M. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Crossman, R. H. S. Ledger, R. J. Skeffington, A. M.
Cullen, Mrs. A. Leo, Frederick (Newton) Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Slater, J. (Sedgefield)
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Lever, Harold (Cheatham) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Davies,Rt.Hon.Clement(Montgomery) Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Snow, J. W.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Lewis, Arthur Sorensen, R. W.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Lindgren, G. S. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Lipton, Marcus Sparks, J. A.
Deer, G. Logan, D. G. Spriggs, Leslie
de Freitas, Geoffrey Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Steele, T.
Delargy, H. J. McAlister, Mrs. Mary Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Diamond, John McCann, J. Stonehouse, John
Dodds, N. N. MacColl, A. E. Stones, W. (Consett)
Donnelly, D. L. MacDermot, Niall Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwoh) McGhee, H. G. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhait)
Dye, S. Mclnnes, J. Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. McKay, John (Wallsend) Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Edelman, M. McLeavy, Frank Swingler, S. T.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Sylvester, G. O.
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Mahon, Simon Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Mallalleu, E. L. (Brigg) Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Mallaileu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.) Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Mann, Mrs. Jean Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Fernyhough, E. Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Finch, H. J. Mason, Roy Timmons, J.
Fitch, Alan Mayhew, C. P. Tomney, F.
Fletcher, Eric Mellish, R. J. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Foot, D. M. Mikardo, Ian Usborne, H. C.
Forman, J. C. Mitchlson, G. R. Viant, S. P.
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Monslow, W. Wade, D. W.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Moody, A. S. Warbey, W. N.
George, Lady Megan Lloyd(Car'then) Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Watkins, T. E.
Gibson, C. W. Morrison,Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewis'm,S.) Weitzman, D.
Gooch, E. G. Mort, D. L. Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Moss, R. Wheeldon, W. E.
Greenwood, Anthony Moyle, A. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Wigg, George
Grey, C. F. Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.) Wilkins, W. A.
Griffiths, William (Exchange) O'Brien, Sir Thomas Willey, Frederick
Grimond, J. Oliver, G. H. Williams, David (Neath)
Hale, Leslie Oram, A. E. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tiliery)
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Orbach, M. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Hamilton, W. W. Oswald, T. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Hannan, W. Owen, W. J. Willis, Eustaoe (Edinburgh, E.)
Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Padley, W. E. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Hastings, S. Paget, R. T. Winterbottom, Richard
Hayman, F. H. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Healey, Denis Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Woof, R. E.
Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Palmer, A. M. F. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Herbison, Miss M. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Hewitson, Capt. M. Pargiter, G. A. Zilliacus, K.
Hobson, C. R. (Keighley) Parker, J.
Holman, P. Parkin, B. T. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Holmes, Horace Paton, John Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Pearson.


That is House welcomes the Paper on Provision for Old Age (Command Paper No.538.)