HC Deb 17 November 1960 vol 630 cc531-2
14. Dr. King

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many public service pensioners are too old to have qualified for National Insurance pensions.

Sir E. Boyle

The number now receiving public service pensions who were over insured pensionable age when National Insurance began is estimated at about 95,000. I regret that, for lack of information, I cannot estimate how many of these pensioners qualified for National Insurance pension.

Dr. King

Is the Financial Secretary aware that many of the veteran public service pensioners draw pensions which are less than the National Insurance basic pension? Will he ask his right hon. and learned Friend to imitate his predecessor and invite a working party of the House to study this matter and kindred problems?

Sir E. Boyle

I am not sure about this. I understand the point which the hon. Member has made, but I really do not think that on this subject I can add to the supplementary answer which the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance gave on this same point on Monday. It is a very real difficulty, certainly, but I should not like to pledge myself to the appointment of a working party to study the matter further.

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

Can my hon. Friend at least assure us that these pensioners are not excepted from the pledge that pensioners should share in the benefits which come from our expanding economy?

Sir E. Boyle

That pledge was meant to be inclusive. On the other hand, every hon. Member realises that there were bound to be transitional difficulties in the years following the 1946 Act, and they are difficulties which have beset successive Governments, whatever their party affiliations. This is a very difficult matter, but I cannot add to what the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance said about it last Monday.