HC Deb 01 December 1970 vol 807 cc1057-8
9. Sir B. Rhys Williams

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now take steps to end the earnings rule for pensioners.

Mr. Dean

No, Sir. The earnings rule for retirement pensioners is, however, one of the aspects of social security included in the Government's consideration of the reconstruction of the national insurance scheme.

Sir B. Rhys Williams

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is important that the basis of the Welfare State should be not need but entitlement based on either contributions or status; and that therefore to operate an earnings rule is entirely against the spirit of the Welfare State as understood on this side of the House?

Mr. Dean

My hon. Friend has gone a little wide of the Question, but I assure the House that we are committed to improving the earnings rule, and we shall certainly do that.

Mr. Lipton

But is the hon. Gentleman aware that if under the existing regulation a retirement pensioner over the age of 70 is still employed, his employer has to pay £3 6s. 11d. a week for a stamp, and this is a penal imposition on any employer who wishes to carry on employing older people?

Mr. Dean

But I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will realise that there is no earnings rule there and, therefore, there is a substantial encouragement on the part of the employee.