HC Deb 26 June 1967 vol 749 cc67-8
21 and 22. Mr. Neave

asked the Minister of Social Security (1) what would be the cost to the National Insurance fund of paying retirement and widows' pensions to all old people excluded from National Insurance in 1948 at the rates laid down in paragraph 3 of her memorandum on the National Insurance (No. 2) Bill, 1967, Command Paper No. 3320; and

(2) how many old people there are who were excluded from National Insurance in 1948; and what is their average age at the present date.

Miss Herbison

The immediate annual cost would be about £40 million. The number involved would be about 175,000, with an average age of 85.

Mr. Neave

Since these old people were not allowed by law to contribute to National Insurance, and as the Minister now intends to spend another £290 million in increases, cannot she afford to include them in her Bill? Is not this a very cruel and wicked policy? Will not she get away from officialdom and do something?

Miss Herbison

I do not accept that it is a very cruel and wicked policy. This afternoon the Opposition has urged me to be more selective in what I am doing. What the hon. Gentleman asks is that I should indiscriminately give money to people who have not contributed. We have done something very worth while. Four hundred thousand more old people are in receipt of a supplementary pension; in other words, those who were never helped under the 13 years of Tory Government have been helped by us, and helped well.

Mr. Dean

Does the right hon. Lady realise that my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Mr. Neave) is asking her to be selective in the case of people who are more than 80 years old? Will she look at this again?

Miss Herbison

The hon. Member for Abingdon (Mr. Neave) asked that indiscriminately I should give £40 million to some people who may be very well off indeed.

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