HC Deb 03 December 1962 vol 668 cc924-6
26. Mr. J. Bennett

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance how much the combined contribution for male employed persons was in November, 1951; and how much it is today.

Mrs. Thatcher

Excluding the National Health Service element, the weekly contribution payable for an employed man in November, 1951, was 8s. 7d. The current flat-rate contribution for National Insurance and Indusrial Injuries is 15s. 10d. for a man participating in the graduated pensions arrangements and 18s. 8d. for a man who is contracted out.

Mr. Bennett

May I ask the hon. Lady —with even less hope—if it is the deliberate intention of the Government to take more and more from the employed worker in benefits and continue to give him less and less in return?

Mrs. Thatcher

Yes —[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] The "Yes" was to indicate that I had successfully translated the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question into basic English or basic Scottish. I should scarcely call an increase in basic benefits from 30s. to 57s. 6d. a decrease.

Mr. Rankin

Will the hon. Lady also translate the question into basic facts? I know personally old-age pensioners who can buy only one bag of coal per week, and when the weather becomes very cold they have to go to bed for at least two days every week to keep warm. Will the hon. Lady consider dealing with this problem from that point of view instead of in the facetious way in which she treated it?

Mrs. Thatcher

I am concerned only in translating the answers in terms of basic facts and not the questions. In so far as the hon. Gentleman knows the people needing extra fuel, I trust that he will see that they receive a visit from the National Assistance officials and that they get the extra help.

29. Mr. Small

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will state the increase in the total contributions including National Health Service element and National Health Service contributions, levied on all contributors, in 1961 compared with 1951; and how much was levied from employers and employees, respectively, in graduated contributions in 1961.

Mrs. Thatcher

The increase between the financial years 1951–62 and 1961–62 was about £673 million. Of the 1961–62 total, about £148 million was paid in graduated contributions, of which half came from employers.

Mr. Small

I thank the hon. Lady for those figures, but is it not realised that, since there have been increases in contribution from employers and employees, this is an opportune time for an increase in the Exchequer contribution? Overtime earnings enter into the total calculation, as well as loss of earnings, and the time is now ripe for the Exchequer to increase its contribution.

Mrs. Thatcher

There has been an increase in the Exchequer contribution, which is running at roughly £200 million this year.

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