HC Deb 24 July 1967 vol 751 cc40-1
28. Mr. Ridsdale asked the Minister of Social Security whether she will seek to abolish the earnings rule in areas which have an unemployment rate above 3·5 per cent.

Mr. Pentland

No, Sir. The earnings rule is essential to support the retirement condition and it would be impracticable and quite unfair to have different conditions for national insurance retirement pensions in different parts of the country and at different times.

Mr. Ridsdale

Will not the hon. Gentleman help pensioners to help themselves? If he cannot do that, will he at least advise the Chancellor of the Exchequer to help pensioners by abolishing the Selective Employment Tax in such areas?

Mr. Pentland

No, Sir. We do everything possible to assist pensioners to help themselves, whether in work or in other directions.

Mr. Braine

In view of the generally accepted need to encourage older people to go on working in their own interests and those of the economy, when will the Government consider the earnings rule again?

Mr. Pentland

We have only just looked at the earnings rule and have made certain valuable modifications. It would be quite unacceptable in a national scheme to make payment of a contributory retirement pension dependent upon different conditions in different parts of the country.