HC Deb 08 May 1973 vol 856 cc220-80

The Secretary of State shall have power by regulation to amend Schedule 18 to this Act to provide an equal weekly rate of pension irrespective of sex for every £1 of each year's reckonable contribution factor and for ages of retirement between 60 and 65 inclusive; but there shall be no power under this section compulsorily to raise the retirement age of women above 60.—[Mr. Dell.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

4.0 p.m.

Mr. Edmund Dell (Birkenhead)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Speaker

I have selected new Clause 1 but I gather from the right hon. Member that it will be for the convenience of the House to consider with it the following amendments:

No. 53, in Clause 49, page 64, line 37, at end insert: and (f) it offers to women earners the same rights to membership as it offers to men'. No. 172, in page 64, line 37, at end insert: ' (f) it offers to women earners the same rights as it offers to men'. No. 173, in Clause 51, page 68, line 25, leave out subsection (9).

No. 174, in Clause 52, page 70, line 5, leave out from 'earner' to 'to' in line 6.

No. 152, in Clause 69, page 91, line 19, after 'State', insert: 'of which at least one-third shall be women'. No. 131, in Schedule 18, page 179, line 41, leave out from beginning to the end of line 53 on page 180 and insert: 4.—(1) The Secretary of State shall make regulations specifying the weekly rate of pension (without bonuses) for every £1 of the earner's contribution factor. (2) An earner's weekly rate of pension shall vary according to the age at which he earned his contribution factor (treating him for this purpose as having been in any year, of the age which he had attained on the last day of that year). (3) The regulations referred to in sub-paragraph 4(1) above shall specify separate rates of pension for pensionable ages of 60, 61, 62, 63, 64 and 65 '. No. 155, in page 180, column 2, leave out line 5.

No. 156, in page 180, column 3, leave out lines 5 to 44.

Mr. Dell

I confess I am in some difficulty because I do not see any member of the Government responsible for this Bill in his place to listen to my persuasive arguments. However, as the Minister has now arrived, I shall be able to advance the arguments relevant to this new clause and Amendment No. 131, which is the other amendment grouped here for which I have primary responsibility. My name is added to other amendments but these are two which deal with the reserve pension scheme. The other amendments grouped here deal with occupational pension schemes.

To use the attractive language of an hon. Lady who has a letter in The Times this morning, 7 million people under the Social Security Bill will be "relegated"—I quote the hon. Lady—to the reserve pension scheme. This idea of relegation to that scheme is, of course, the baste Government concept about the scheme. It is that it is a fallback scheme and by its nature a very unattractive scheme. Indeed, one might say that never before in human history has a Government cried "stinking fish" so frequently and so enthusiastically about any product of its own conception as this Government have about the reserve pension scheme.

Nevertheless, the odd fact is that, bad as it is, for many people it will be better than the occupational scheme at minimum levels. There will, for example, be pressure from younger people to be in the reserve pension scheme, and one of the reasons why the Government oppose tax relief on contributions to the reserve pension scheme is that they believe their strategy to be in danger of a choice between the reserve pension scheme and an occupational scheme, which is already very finely balanced. They feel, therefore, that if a tax rebate is given, the balance will fall very much more strongly, for many people in favour of the reserve pension scheme. But in any case, whether or not the figure of 7 million which the Government have estimated for the reserve pension scheme turns out to be the figure, or whether it is a larger figure, the Government tell us that these people are to be relegated to it.

The question is, and the question when the Committee was discussing Part III of the Bill was simply, is there any way in which the reserve pension scheme can be improved? We tried in Committee to improve the reserve pension scheme but the Government were very resistant to the idea of improving it. They said that it was a fallback and that, indeed almost as a matter of principle, it must not be improved. But occupational pension schemes, they said, might be improved. The pressure of members might lead to improvement of the occupational pension scheme but the Minister's view of the reserve pension scheme was that it must not be improved. We had only one success in trying to improve the reserve pension scheme. That was in response to an amendment I moved about enhancement if retirement is deferred.

Later I shall have something more to say about Government Amendment No. 91, which is relevant to the new clause and the amendment to which at present I am speaking. Amendment No. 91 makes this new clause or Amendment No. 131 more necessary than before if fairness is to be done.

But the Government so far have resisted all other pressures to improve the reserve pension scheme and I can tell them there will be pressure to do so from at least 7 million people. There will be pressure from Members of Parliament to improve it, again if for no other reason than that advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South-West (Mr. George Cunningham) in the speech that he made a few moments ago—that many constituents will be deeply aggrieved by the nature of the reserve pension scheme. Therefore the Government might as well listen now.

One of the facts about the reserve pension scheme is its discrimination against women. An important question in Committee was whether there was anything we could do which would, at small cost, go some way towards reducing the discrimination against women. I made a proposal in Committee that we should eliminate the present tables in Schedule 18, on page 180 of the Bill, which are divided between men and women and different retirement ages of 65 and 60. I said that we should eliminate that method of showing age and reckonable contribution and that we should insert instead actuarially calculated tables depending simply on the age at which reckonable contributions are made, as they are in Schedule 18, but—and this is the difference—depending also on the age at which actual retirement takes place, those ages being between 60 and 65. Instead of the tables here, there would be not a table for men and a table for women but tables for each age of retirement—at 61, 62, 63, 64 or 65—with the earnings per reckonable contribution depending, as in Schedule 18, upon the age at which they were made. That would be the basis of the table in Schedule 18, and not sex discrimination.

The table would be based on the age of contribution and the age of retirement, not tables for men and women, depending on different ages of retirement. In other words, if one takes the position that would then arise, women could still retire at 60, as most women will want to do. I have written a provision into the new clause guaranteeing —though that is not a question here— that they can still retire at 60. On the other hand, they could work on voluntarily if they wished to do so and if they saw reason to do so. They would then benefit from it fully according to the contribution which they had made and the pension they had earned.

Here I make a preliminary remark about Amendment No. 91, to which no doubt we shall return. We shall return to it in the light of what the Government say about my new Clause 1 and Amendment No. 131, because if we accept Amendment No. 91 without some such system as is written into my new clause and my amendment and without, in other words, changing the table in Schedule 18—if Amendment No. 91 is based on the table in that schedule— then actuarially, which is what the Government are concerned with in their reserve pension scheme, women will be "diddled" by Amendment No. 91 instead of benefiting from it. They will get less for their contributions than men would get in equivalent circumstances. The very fact that the Government have put down Amendment No. 91 in response to pleas made to them on all sides of the Committee reinforces the need for new Clause 1 and for Amendment No. 131.

There are many reasons why women might want to work on after the age of 60. They might want to earn a higher pension, which will be particularly important to single women, or they might want to retire at the same time as their husbands. These are the advantages that would accrue for women if the Government accept my arguments.

There are, then, the arguments for men, because I am not simply putting forward a case for women. Men will still be able to retire at 65 but if for a variety of reasons they retired early they would be able to get their reserve pension at the time they retired. Let us take a typical example which the Government foresee arising with the dual system of occupational and reserve pensions. The Government see many people who work for most of their lives under the occupational pension system spending part of their working lives paying for the reserve pension. In addition to their occupational entitlement they will have a reserve entitlement.

In many occupational pension schemes people are required to retire earlier than 65—at 62, 60 or even earlier than that. What will be the position of the man who retires before 65 and gets the benefit of his occupational pension when, as the Bill is now drawn, his reserve pension entitlement can be obtained only at the age of 65? It would be very much better for men to be able to claim their reserve entitlement before the age of 65 if it coincides with age of retirement under an occupational pension scheme. My proposal would meet the needs of men in that respect.

I do not see that the Government can conceivably object as a matter of principle to what I am proposing. It in no way conflicts with the money purchase basis of the reserve scheme. There are genuine reasons for having a flexible reirement age for men as well as women. For women it helps to overcome discrimination against them and it is the only way of dealing with the pension problem created by different retirement ages. For men it enables questions of individual family and health circumstances to be considered. Because the Government cannot object to this in principle, therefore, I offer it to them again to see whether they have any better-informed comments to make on the idea than the Minister brought forward in Committee.

As usual, in order to encourage them a little in my direction I offer the Government a compromise. I always offer them a compromise and I always try to encourage them forward little by little to try to overcome their resistance to improving the reserve scheme. I offer them Amendment No. 131 or new Clause 1. The amendment provides that the change should be made now, written into the Bill now. The clause says that if the Government do not want to do it now, but if they want to wait a little and think about it, they should take the power to do it by regulation at such time as they think right. The clause gives the Government the power to introduce changes in Schedule 18 by regulation in accordance with the principles I am advancing.

There is only one possible objection to the proposal—cost, and, in particular, it is sometimes argued, the cost to men. The Under-Secretary in Committee in replying to a debate which I initiated in moving an amendment dedicated to the same purpose as the new clause and the amendment now before us, gave a cost which was totally irrelevant to the argument I was presenting. Indeed, he tried to attribute his answer to the speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Mr. O'Malley), but it was irrelevant to anything that my hon. Friend said. The Under-Secretary said that the cost would be increased by no less than half. He said— despite their"— that is women— earlier retirement age"— in other words he was referring to a situation in which women retired earlier— … the cost of providing the benefit on women's contributions would be increased by no less than half."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 5th April 1973; c. 1559.] That is not what I was proposing and it is not what I am proposing now. There is no such cost. The figure which the Under-Secretary gave was irrelevant, and when I challenged him to give an accurate cost for my proposal he failed to do so.

4.15 p.m.

Under my proposal the pension depends on the contribution and age of retirement, irrespective of sex. The cost of my proposal is very small simply because the additional cost of women's pensions is affected far more by early retirement than it is by a longer life. Ninety per cent. of the difference is accounted for by earlier retirement. A 4 per cent. contribution buys only slightly more pension for a man, including his widow's pension, than it buys for a woman, provided the retirement age is the same.

In other words, the small amount of transfer that would take place between men and women would be no greater than the transfer which in any case takes place between manual workers and non-manual workers who have different lengths of life, or between people who live in Rochdale and people who live in Brighton who have different lengths of life. This is the measure of the sort of transfer that would take place between men and women if my proposal were adopted. Therefore it is possible for a small cost to make a major advance in overcoming the pension problem created by different retirement ages for men and women. I see no ground of principle and I hope that the Government will not say there is a ground of cost on which they can reject my proposals.

Mrs. Barbara Castle (Blackburn)

First may I say how welcome it is to see the Secretary of State here on Report. We missed him sadly during the Committee proceedings during which we fought out long, far-reaching questions of principle affecting the whole foundation of his social security strategy. Nobly as the Under-Secretary has battled on in the right hon. Gentleman's absence, it would have been deplorable for the House to have gone ahead to finish the Bill without the Secretary of State having listened to and, I hope, personally answered a number of the detailed points of principle which we thrashed out in Committee for so long.

I want to congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Dell) not only on the way in which he moved his new clause but on the ingenuity he displayed in approaching one of the central problems and deficiencies of the Bill, namely the problem faced by women under the Government's social security proposals. His proposal shows what can be done in overcoming administrative and actuarial difficulties in the way of complete equality if only one starts passionately motivated by the right principle.

The trouble is that the Government have approached the needs of women in exactly the opposite way and that is why the Bill as it stands and, if it passes the Report stage unamended, as it will stand is an insult and an injury to the women of this country—and insult and injury of which they are becoming increasingly and angrily aware. This large group of amendments continues the battle for equal pension rights for women which we conducted throughout the Committee. It deals with only a part of the battle because grouped here are amendments dealing with occupational pension schemes and with the State reserve scheme.

One of the difficulties that we have experienced in getting justice for women in this Bill is that the scheme is so complicated that they have no means of realising the injustice being perpetrated against them unless and until someone can explain the implications to them in very simple language. The whole purpose of these amendments, therefore, can be understood only against the background of the wider concept of women's rights at present embodied in the Bill.

Our battle for women is first, against the whole two-tier structure of pensions which the Government have introduced. The basic scheme which is to be applicable to everyone and financed by earnings-related contributions will produce only a totally inadequate flat-rate benefit. Even in its limited provisions, the scheme is deeply unequal to women anyway because it is imbued with the now out of date concept of women's dependancy. This is a point to which we shall return in the context of other amendments and which I cannot explore too deeply at this stage.

That was the starting point and, in fighting the concept of dependency in the basic scheme and the subordinate position that it gives to women, we warned that the consequence would be that inequality to women would be perpetrated throughout the rest of the Government's elaborate pensions structure. These amendments prove that our warnings were entirely justified.

No one is expected to live on the basic flat-rate scheme. For that reason everyone is to have a second earnings-related pension on top of it. As my right hon. Friend has demonstrated and as we said time and again in Committee, that second-tier pension is of two entirely different qualities.

The Government's most favoured pension scheme for the earnings-related second pension is the private occupational pension scheme. Only those unfortunate enough not to be covered by one—there will be seven or eight million of them— will, to use the famous phrase in The Times this morning already quoted by my right hon. Friend, be "relegated" to the State reserve scheme. It is remarkably significant that the hon. Member for Melton (Miss Pike) should have chosen that word so instinctively to describe the inferior status of the State reserve scheme.

It is because women gat such a poor deal in the basic flat-rate scheme that it is all the more essential that they should get equality of treatment in the second tier. What have the Government done? To begin with, they have put all the emphasis on the occupational pension scheme. Then they have given women no statutory right to belong to it.

The Secretary of State has said in many a public speech that it is his hope and aim that eventually everyone will belong to an occupational pension scheme. However it is his intention to rely only upon persuasion. In the meantime he will do nothing to make the State reserve scheme competitive in terms of the level of benefit that it provides. Only those who get into the occupational pension scheme will get a really adequate coverage at the second tier stage.

The Opposition do not like the concept of the two-tier scheme for reasons which I do not intend to elaborate now. But if we have to have one, that second tier must give everyone equality. Above all it must not discriminate purely on sex grounds. But that in effect is what the Bill will do.

We all know that the occupational pension scheme is more likely to be introduced in those areas where the employee is strongly organised, well paid and able to assert himself. It will be the lower paid and above all the women who will be relegated to the State reserve scheme unless we give them an equal statutory right with men to belong to a private occupational one. Therefore, is not it elementary natural justice to say that women could have the right by law to belong to the better scheme? I repeat— and I can make quotations to support my assertion—that the Under-Secretary has never concealed the fact that he knows the occupational scheme is the better one.

It may be a tragedy that we have to embody these basic rights for women in the law of the land. It is a pity that we cannot leave them to negotiations across the collective bargaining table. But all our history shows that we cannot. We could not even leave to the negotiating table the establishment of that basic right for women to the same pay for the same work. We had to legislate for it. In so far as pensions are recognised as being deferred pay, so we must legislate for equality of rights for women in pensions. If we do not we shall have a continuance of the present situation where, of those in full time manual work, 17.9 per cent. of women are in occupational pension schemes compared with 46.2 per cent. of men—perhaps because the men are better organised or perhaps because the men are in better jobs. Whatever the reason, that is the fact. It will continue unless we say that where an employer introduces an occupational pension scheme for his employees, women employees must have an equal right to membership with men.

That proposition is not merely a matter of common justice. It is one of political consistency. The House will remember our debates on the Equal Pay (No. 2) Bill, which I had the honour to introduce and to get on to the statute book. At the time that Bill was before the House the TUC represented to me that it would be meaningless unless it was accompanied by equal rights for women in employers' pension schemes. By the time that Bill reached its Report stage, I was under a great deal of pressure from a number of my right lion, and hon. Friends to accept an amendment giving equality of pension rights to women as part of that Bill. I announced to the House that, as I wanted to be sure to get that Bill on to the statute book without delay—and how right I was has been proved by events—I did not wish to hold up the Bill by complicating it with what would have to be very detailed consideration of what constituted equality of pension rights under any employer's pension scheme.

But I gave a pledge that the Labour Government would introduce equal pension rights for women, by legislation, before the Equal Pay Act came into full operation at the end of 1975. Hon. Gentlemen and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, then on these benches, welcomed it, and seemed to imply what a pity it was we had not been able to incorporate that provision in the Bill itself.

4.30 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Social Services (Sir Keith Joseph)

The right hon. Lady is speaking now as if she gave an unqualified undertaking to the House at that time. What she said was: The legislation will prescribe a suitable date for equalising men's and women's pension rights, taking due account of any inherent differences between men and women in regard to pension needs."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th May 1970; Vol. 801, c. 1789.] Does she deny that?

Mrs. Castle

Of course I will not deny my own words. I will come in a moment to the point about the accrual rate, but the right hon. Gentleman is showing that he is suffering from lack of attendance at Committee stage because otherwise he would have known that there are two sharply differentiated points in our amendments, and two separate matters of principle, on which the House will have a chance to vote and to make a decision in a short while.

The point I am arguing at present on Amendment No. 53 is merely that where a pension scheme is introduced by an employer, women shall have equal rights with the men who belong to it. There is no possible way of saying that that does not fall within the definition of equal pension rights, even taking account of differing needs. I am saying that it is a complicated matter, and that is why I could not legislate at that time. That is what I am coming to as a separate point.

I ask the House to recognise on Amendment 53, and I ask the Secretary of State to realise on Amendment 53, that if the Secretary of State is rejecting it he is rejecting the right of women to belong to an occupational pension scheme covering the men in the same firm. Just that. I defy anybody in this House to say that we can talk about equal pension rights and not give that elementary form of equality.

When I moved this amendment in Committee, then known as the famous Amendment 205 on which Members have been lobbied since by various women's organisations, the Under-Secretary of State had two alternative but equally astonishing replies. The first was that he tried to say, "Oh, but we have given women equal right to membership in our Bill because if they are not allowed into an occupational pension scheme they have to be in the State reserve scheme." What a glorious definition of equality. If they are not allowed by the employer into the better scheme, then they can go into the inferior scheme. The Under-Secretary of State himself described it as an inferior scheme. In case he tries to deny that, let me remind the House of the exact words he used on 6th March: The chances are that in the majority of cases members of occupational pension schemes will have a higher level of cover than is the case in the reserve scheme."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 6th March, 1973, c. 821.] So if we want to give women a chance to be in the better scheme, then we must give them the right to be in an occupational scheme. That argument was self-evident, but then the hon. Gentleman came out with his real answer which is behind the Government's injustice to women throughout this Bill. He said: "Oh, but if we insist that women have the right to belong to a private scheme as well as the men, some occupational pension schemes will just fold up." In other words, the employers will not be prepared to take on the liability of sex equality. That was the attitude employers took to equal pay. That is why we had to legislate for it. If we now want to make equal pay a reality, then we have to legislate for this basic equal pension right.

The Government paid lip service to the Equal Pay Bill, said it did not go far enough. I cannot tell the House how many improvements the Government said ought to have been made in it, yet once they had conned the women of this country in the last election and were taking responsibility from that Front Bench they changed their tune. That is why, for instance, they are not carrying out the provisions of the Equal Pay Act that would have given women 90 per cent. of the men's rate by the end of this year. That is why they are refusing to legislate on equal pension rights.

Therefore, I say to the House that I do not believe anyone who has ever paid lip service to sex equality can possibly fail to support Amendment No. 53. I dare say all members of the House have had a further communication from Women's National Commission reiterating their support for this amendment, as has the National Joint Council of Working Women's Organisations. That is what the women's nationwide representatives want to see this House do this afternoon.

I turn to the second aspect of equality, that is, the need for equality of accrual rates. Here again there is a very close link between the State reserve scheme and the occupational pension scheme.

Our Amendments Nos. 155 and 156 would eliminate the low accrual rate for women in the State reserve scheme. We talked about the same thing in Committee about the occupational pension scheme. We said we thought it was intolerable that the return in pension for a man should be 1 per cent. of his reckonable earnings and that it should be only 0.70 per cent. for the women.

Here, of course, the Government will come out with their actuarial argument. That is why I believe that the amendments which my right hon. Friend moved earlier are so important. The Government will argue that this different and lower return in pension for women on the same reckonable earnings is due to the fact that women retire earlier and that they live longer. Indeed, in our debate on the difference in accrual rates on occupational pension schemes, the Undersecretary of State said that women, because of these two factors, draw their pensions for 19½ years on average compared with 12 years in the case of men.

There are two answers to this. First and foremost, women have never run away from the need to equalise the retirement age. Women have never asked for an extra bonus as far as the retirement age is concerned. That is why it is the women who have said that the retirement pension should be equalised. Clearly, one cannot and should not raise the compulsory retirement age of women to 65. Equally clearly, the Government are not prepared to bring the men's retirement age down to 60 to bring them into line. That is why we argued the point in Committee. My right hon. Friend has argued it very effectively here again this afternoon. We are in favour of flexibility of retirement ages. Let us by all means link the level of pensions to the retirement age, but let us remember that the present statutory retirement age is imposed on women by this House. Here again, should not they be given the option of working longer for a higher pension and, equally, should not men who want to retire earlier be given the opportunity plus the appropriate pension rate?

But this sharp difference in the pensions which will be payable to women and to men also arises from the Government taking into account in the case of women a factor which they do not take into account in the case of anyone else, namely, their longevity. The difference of seven and a half years between the duration of the pensions of women and men is not entirely accounted for by the difference in the retirement age. Three years of it is accounted for by the fact that women live longer. But we do not say that different types of male workers shall be penalised according to their life expectation. Non-manual workers have a longer expectation of life in retirement than do manual workers, yet no one suggests that a non-manual worker should because of that get a lower pension.

We deeply protest at this simple act of sex discrimination against women, particularly because women, being largely among the lower paid, will in any case receive inadequate pensions. To reduce those inadequate pensions still further because women live longer is to condemn women to live longer in the poverty by which they are penalised because they manage to survive. If we accept the principle of equality, there are ways of overcoming the difference in the retirement age, and that is the only difference that should be taken into account.

Finally, Amendment No. 152 provides that when the Government set up the Reserve Pension Board which will operate the State reserve scheme women should form at least one-third of the membership. Here again, I moved an amendment in similar terms in connection with the Occupational Pensions Board. After all, women represent one-third of the working population. Women have been discriminated against in pay and in pensions in the past and will still be discriminated against. It is therefore vital that their needs should be represented strongly on the boards which will operate both schemes.

When I raised this subject in Committee in the context of the Occupational Pensions Board, the Under-Secretary of State told me that I need have no fears, the Government would choose the members on their merits. He thought that I would be pleasantly surprised when I saw the announcement of the membership of the Occupational Pensions Board. I am still waiting for that pleasant surprise. The first announcement was of the chairman and the vice-chairman, neither of whom was a woman—naturally, from the point of view of the Government. On 18th April six more members of the Occupational Pensions Board were announced—all pensions managers, representatives of pensions companies or actuaries—not a woman among them.

I am confident that we shall have the same experience when the appointments to the Reserve Pension Board are announced unless the Government's hands are tied by the House accepting Amendment No. 152. Women have remained" under-privileged because of the lack of a positive attitude about their needs. The Government have not begun to grasp, tried to cope with or even accepted that those needs exist. The House is far more sensitive on this issue than are the Government, and the way to show that sensitivity is to assert the rights of women by accepting these amendments.

4.45 p.m.

Mrs. Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)

The right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) described the proposals in this Bill as an insult and injury to the women of this country. That is sheer unadulterated nonsense. On Second Reading the Bill was welcomed as the biggest step forward in combating poverty that this country had taken for many years. There were a few snags, one of which was that women could not build up higher contributions under the scheme by choosing to work beyond the minimum retirement age should they wish to do so.

I have with me the report of the National Council of Women which states very clearly that it is: in favour of a flexible retiring age for both men and women which would take account of individual circumstances such as health, work pattern, size of family and so on. In Committee and behind the scenes many hon. Members have impressed on my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State the need to introduce flexibility. I was delighted when I read his Amendment No. 91, which largely meets this point.

This subject is of particular importance in my constituency where there are a large number of women hospital workers including nurses and other professional workers who often come to me to ask why, if they work beyond 60, they cannot build up a better pension. They may have interrupted service. If they are single women they may have been looking after elderly dependants and when the time comes for them to resume work they want to have the chance to build up a higher pension.

A lady came to my surgery recently who wanted to opt back into the occupational scheme because her husband had suddenly become disabled—

Mr. Dell

Amendment No. 91 is a response by the Government to an amendment which I moved in Committee on which, I acknowledge, I had the support of hon. Members on the Government benches. The Under-Secretary of State agreed to consider my amendment and, as a result, Amendment No. 91 has been tabled.

The hon. Member for Lancaster (Mrs. Kellett-Bowman) may not yet have appreciated that the fact that the Govern- ment have tabled Amendment No. 91 makes even more unjust than before the rates of accrual provided for women in Table 18. If they wish voluntarily to go for a higher retirement age their rates of acrual should on a pure actuarial basis be much closer to the figures given for men. The hon. Lady is therefore emphasising the importance of the arguments advanced by the Opposition.

Mrs. Kellett-Bowman

I do not agree with the right hon. Gentleman's observations. I have here the answer that was given to him on 28th March 1973 which contains all the available figures. There is, in fact, considerable flexibility. The pensions which women will be able to earn will be nearer those which men can earn, with the slight difference of the death grant, widows' pensions, and other matters which we must acknowledge affect the actuarial basis of women's contributions.

The right, hon. Member for Blackburn did not take sufficiently into account that many women greatly value their option not to have to pay into the State basic scheme. Indeed, three out of four working women exercise this option. They are anxious to hang on to this privilege We promised in our election manifesto that they would be allowed to do so. This, therefore, is a fulfilment of that election pledge by which I stand and will continue to stand. Nevertheless, I think it is also important that they should have this chance of building up a better contribution record and a better pension under the State reserve scheme. I believe that under Amendment No. 91 they will get it.

Mr. Brian O'Malley (Rotherham)

Is the hon. Lady aware that she is under a considerable misapprehension if she believes, as she has just stated, that as a result of Amendment No. 91 women's pensions will not be much smaller than men's? In fact the accrual rates will remain exactly the same, even if some flexibility is introduced, and the overall position will be that the woman's pension will be 30 per cent. less than that received by a man.

Mrs. Kellett-Bowman

I believe we made very considerable progress in this Bill and have made further progress with the amendments which the Secretary of State has put forward. I believe the majority of women will regard this as a very big step forward. Those of us who have worked for many years for the advancement of the cause of women do not expect to leap into equality at one fell swoop, but we appreciate the steady progress we have made, are making and will continue to make under the Conservative Government as opposed to the large amount of talk we had from the last Government.

There is, however, one point on which I must admit that I support the right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn. That is on the absolute right for a woman to join an occupational pension scheme at the same age as that at which a man can join. I think that women should be allowed to do so because too many women do not take a keen interest in pensions schemes, probably because in the first few years of their service they cannot acquire enough years to qualify for preservation. Preservation is as important to women as it is to men. Therefor I am anxious that they should be able to build up a very good preservation right especially because they may have to change jobs willy-nilly not because of their own promotion but simply because their husbands move to other jobs and the home has to be moved elsewhere.

I very much welcome the tremendous efforts made by the Secretary of State to meet points which we raised with him and many other points such as that of enabling women who marry men over pensionable age also to have an occupational pension when their husbands die before them. It was a great injustice that they could not do so before and it is a very important point to be taken into consideration. We thank the Secretary of State very much for the great step forward he has made for women.

Mr. Alec Jones (Rhondda, West)

I am very sorry that the hon. Lady the Member for Lancaster (Mrs. Kellett-Bowman) was not with us in Committee. She would certainly have enlightened us there. At the same time she would have learned a great deal about this Bill.

The hon. Lady referred to what my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) had said as "sheer unadulterated nonsense", but judging from correspondence which I have received from women's organisations throughout the country I think women are more in agreement with the views of my right hon. Friend than with the views expressed by the hon. Member for Lancaster this afternoon. The hon. Lady also said that she did not expect any great leap forward by this Government. I agree with her on that. I hardly expect them to make one gradual step forward. I call attention to a document which has been circulated to hon. Members and which I am sure the hon. Lady will have received. It is from the National Council of Women. It says: We see in this Bill little reflection of the social changes which are now taking place in our society and especially the rapidly changing position of women both in and outside the home. I should have thought that that comment summarises the views of the campaign in criticism of the inadequate provisions for women made in this Bill. Letters I have received from women's organisations have all expressed complete dissatisfaction about the provisions for women made in the Bill. That is a reason why I support my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Dell), who drew our attention to the scheme outlined in his new Clause 1 and Amendment No. 131. He seeks to improve the Bill in two ways—first to eliminate the discrimination against women and secondly, as a by-product, to make it easier for men to retire below the statutory age of 65. Both these objectives are particularly commendable. We have the alternative Amendments Nos. 155 and 156 which support the idea of equal accrual rights for men and women.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn was right to concentrate on the occupational scheme and the State reserve scheme because both will become increasingly important for women as more and more women go to work. It is envisaged by the Government that they will be in one or other scheme and it seems that they will be more likely to be driven into the inadequate State reserve scheme. If so, the Reserve Pension Board will have very important functions in controlling and managing the scheme in the interests of both men and women. Therefore, Amendment No. 152, which seeks to place a statutory responsibility on the Reserve Pension Board to consist one-third of women, is a right reflection because the fund will cover so many women members.

In talking of the membership and composition of the board it is right to consider it reasonable that women should be members. Everyone would agree that they are most likely to be beneficiaries and that large numbers of them will be contributors. The chances are that the Minister will say, as he has said in the past, "There is nothing in the Bill to stop women being members of this board" and that he expects them to be members. That is a little naive because in practice we know that in all such organisations when this is left to chance and natural selection takes place, few, if any, women are appointed. We therefore wish to place a statutory obligation on the Minister.

As my right hon. Friend pointed out, up to date no woman has been included among those whose names have been announced as members. In view of women's liberation and the antidiscrimination campaign, the Government are extremely unwise to ignore the view of so many women—and also men—that women should have the right of places on these boards. The amendment suggests that women members should comprise one-third of the membership. That is a price which the Government ought to pay. They should accept the amendment.

5.0 p.m.

Mr. Geoffrey Stewart-Smith (Belper)

I think that I can claim some personal responsibility for this matter being discussed now by my abstaining on a vote on this subject in Committee. I demand quite clearly that the Government should encourage the Occupational Pensions Board to use its powers to make mandatory the right of women to be given access to occupational pension schemes. Nothing less is good enough. We must not be fobbed off with the red herring of longevity or early retirement. That is not the problem. The crux of the matter is their right to have an occupational pension. That is something from which we must not move.

Why should women be so penalised? It seems absolutely indefensible. Such discrimination as may be allowed to go through is totally unacceptable to me. If we claim to be the party of antidiscrimination and allow this measure to go through as it stands, what we are saying is outrageous humbug and will not do. As I understand it, the Anti-Discrimination Bill specifically excludes equality for women in the State reserve scheme. This seems to epitomise the injustice. Someone ought to have a word with the Prime Minister and remind him that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Since our party is rather dependent on women, we cannot afford to have a lot of scornful supporters. Otherwise we shall have no supporters at all. By objecting to the Government's policy at the moment we may actually incur short-term displeasure but long-term gratitude. I wish to quote a question I asked the Minister on 13th March during the Committee proceedings. I asked him: can my hon. Friend tell me whether there is a demand by women for higher pensions, as expressed through women's organisations? More important, is there evidence that women are prepared to pay more contributions to get higher pensions? "—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 13th March 1973; c. 901.] We all know from the National Women's Commission and other organisations that there is this will in the country. As has been so ably explained by others, this is a rising trend in society and our party must face up to it and meet it. I hope that the Government will accept that for once the Opposition have got something right. I trust that the Government will find it possible to accept this innocuous clause.

Mr. George Cunningham (Islington, South-West)

I congratulate the hon. Member for Belper (Mr. Stewart-Smith) on his independent standpoint, which he showed on other occasions in Committee. Occasionally marginally regrettable things may happen as a result of back benchers not doing what their Front Benchers tell them to do. On the whole the good government of the country is better preserved by back benchers doing what they think is right, because the Treasury Bench has no monopoly of wisdom. Indeed, sometimes it seems to have lost all access to it.

On this issue as on all others I would encourage everyone to reach his own conclusions and to require the Government to state their reasons openly. If they are not then convinced, they should use their vote accordingly. It is rare that parliamentary democracy raises her lovely head in this Chamber. I hope that she will rear it once or twice in the course of the Bill.

I apologise to my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Dell) in that I was not able to hear his opening remarks. I may to some extent duplicate them. There are three reasons why women's pensions should by conventional standards be actuarily different from those of men—they have a longer life, they retire earlier and men have to pay for a widow's pension while women do not have to pay for a widower's pension because they do not get it.

The most important of these is early retirement. That constitutes by far the greatest part of the differential between men and women. Figures which the Minister gave some weeks ago, which apply irrespective of age, show that the difference between the accrual rates of men and those of women, assuming that they both retire at the same age—and that was the only difference from present factors—would be as low as 5 per cent.

If women were paying for their longer life out of their contributions and men were paying for the widow's pension out of their contributions, the two factors would operate in opposite directions. They would not balance exactly. The result would be that on that basis women would receive a lower pension for the same input as men but the difference would be enormously reduced and it would be approximately 5 per cent. less than that of the man. I see that the Minister acknowledges that my arithmetic is right. If that is the case, then the difference is so small that we might as well ignore it.

If we did ignore it and all human beings paid for those two benefits without differentiation of sex, the result would be that women would be using their contributions to pay for the pensions of men's widows but men would be using part of their contributions to pay for the longer life of women. The difference would then come down to less than 5 per cent. because we would split the difference between the 100 per cent. and the 95 per cent. and both would end up with benefits which were approximately 98 per cent, of those provided for men in Schedule 18.

There are some women who do not take the point that if women retire earlier than men they have to pay for that. I would not have any truck with any suggestion that women should not pay for that facility. Women will be easily convinced that they can expect equality only if they retire at the same age as men. What these figures show is that once they have accepted that element of equality there is nothing else of any volume to stand in the way of completely un-differentiated treatment of the two sexes for pension purposes.

At the moment because women live longer they have to pay for it. It is rather hard that throughout the whole length and breadth of the country there are widows living alone in poverty with no one to look after them or care for them. They did not ask to live longer than their husbands. In many cases they regret it. To impose upon them a financial penalty because the Almighty has ordained that they must put up with life after their life companion is gone seems so immoral and unacceptable that I feel that in due course this House will entirely reject such a concept.

This, I suggest, is the time to reject it. My right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead has provided an easy and sensible way of doing so by stating that for those who retire at the same age there shall be the same retirement benefit available for the same input. The Secretary of State is nodding. In that case I hope that he will vote for my right hon. Friend's clause.

Sir K. Joseph indicated dissent.

Mr. Cunningham

It seems that I have misinterpreted the right hon. Gentleman's nodding.

That is surely an objective which we ought to pursue. It is something which ought to come very soon. It has about it the smell of something which is coming soon, however much the Treasury Bench fiddles away and tries to delay. It will come, and pretty soon. If the Government do not want to take credit for introducing it, a Labour Government will be almost certain to do it very soon after taking office. I hope that on those grounds Conservative Members will exercise their rights and vote for the clause.

Mrs. Sally Oppenheim (Gloucester)

I am a trespasser in this debate because I was not a member of the Standing Committee. Therefore I apologise if my lack of knowledge of the Bill shows from time to time. I am fundamentally in sympathy with the objectives of the clause moved by the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Dell) and with many of the complementary amendments. He criticised my hon. and right hon. Friends for their actuarial assessment of the cost involved and of the real cost. He was delightfully vague about the cost and how it was to be met.

We must all draw the conclusion that he meant that the cost would be met by means of the somewhat hackneyed and well-known Socialist recourse to higher taxation.

The right hon. Member would do well on this point to reflect that although the last Socialist Government of which he was a member massively increased taxes they came nowhere near to the record of this Government in increasing benefits. We have a Government who have managed to do this at the same time as massively cut taxes.

Mr. Dell

The hon. Lady was not on the Committee and says she does not know the Bill well, but she must address herself to the argument. I am suggesting a 4 per cent. contribution. I am not suggesting any subsidy from the taxpayer under the new clause. I am suggesting no more transfer within the body of the reserve pension scheme than, as I have said, takes place between the non-manual worker and the manual worker. There is no question of a subsidy. The hon. Lady is on a false point. I suggest that she does what her heart tells her to do and supports the new clause.

Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

I entirely accept that the right hon. Gentleman believes that the cost could be met out of the 4 per cent. increase in contribution. I am sure he says that with sincerity. But I believe that in practice it would be found that part of it would have to be met from taxation, for a variety of reasons. The philosophy behind what the right hon. Gentleman says has a basic fallacy because in the long run the increases in taxation that would, I believe, have to be made, despite the right hon. Gentleman's assurances, would not deprive the rich man of one hot dinner but would deprive the widow—[An HON. MEMBER: "What increase?"] The increase to which I am referring is an increase in taxation which I maintain would have to be made to provide fully for the measures in the new clause and the complementary amendments. [?Interruption.] I do understand that the philosophy behind the proposals the cost of which in terms of taxation would not bring help to those whom we are all seeking to help.

I noticed that the right hon. Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) spoke to her amendment in support of her right hon. Friend with considerable vehemence. There has been some distortion, both in the debate and in correspondence in the Press, about the likely effect on women of this Bill. The right hon. Lady apologised, as she has done in the case of the anti-discrimination amendment to her Equal Pay Act, that she did not have time to include equal pension rights for women in her Act. We all know the reason. It was that the Leader of the Opposition, who was then Prime Minister, had to cut and run for the cover of a general election.

I have always recognised and acknowledged the right hon. Lady's considerable talents and abilities. She does herself less than credit in her aggressive approach to the problem. In view of the record of the last Government on women's rights and interests, she should be on the defensive rather than the offensive. My hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. Stewart-Smith) said, in relation to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. If that is the case, the Prime Minister is in very good shape, in view of the number of measures introduced by the present Government in the interests of women.

Mrs. Castle

Without going into historical argument, we have a simple opportunity in Amendment No. 53 to vote for the principle that women have an equal right with men to belong to an occupational pension scheme of their firm. Will the hon. Lady support that?

5.15 p.m.

Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

I entirely accept what the right hon. Lady says. I have told the House that I have a great deal of sympathy with the objectives of the amendment, and particularly with the aspect of the problem that the right hon. Lady has just mentioned. I shall not vote for it—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"]—for reasons that I shall explain.

The right hon. Member for Birken-head claimed that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State had tabled Amendment No. 91 in response to his appeal in Committee. I do not think that it really matters whether he did so in response to the right hon. Gentleman or in response to the considerable concern expressed by many hon. Members on this side that as a result of a Bill which constitutes an important measure of reform women might be at a disadvantage with regard to their second pension rights. Whoever provoked it, I welcome my right hon. Friend's amendment.

Underlying the inequality in women's pension rights that has persisted throughout the years under successive Governments is the anachronistic attitude that regards women as fundamentally the dependants. Naturally, both social changes and divided opinions call for a much more flexible approach to women's pension rights than we have in 1973, let alone 1975. But I feel that the Government's amendment is imaginative and valuable. In giving women the option to retire later and receive a higher pension—admittedly, not necessarily as high a pension as a man's—it takes due note of the fact that social change is gradual, and that changes in attitudes are even more gradual. It also takes note of the fact that it is fair, right and proper to give women the option to work longer for a higher pension during what is, after all, a transition period in the achievement of full equal rights for women; it is only a transition period, much as many of us must regret that.

While no widespread or co-ordinated research has taken place among women as to whether the majority of them would like to work longer to qualify for a higher pension, I have no doubt that if such research took place it would be found that the vast majority of women would welcome that option. It is particularly valuable in certain categories. Some have already been mentioned—single women alone or with elderly dependants, women divorced, deserted or widowed in early middle age whose children have grown up and left home. The economic advantages for such women in terms of continued earnings and a higher pension is self-evident. But the social advantages are perhaps even greater, because, if a woman is fit, those extra five years of work can not only help her to maintain her independence but can help her to avoid what, particularly for those women, is usually the loneliest and most unfulfilled period of a woman's life. Therefore, I welcome the Government's amendment, which will go a considerable way towards dealing with the problem.

I am not one of those who support what is often an understandable trade union view that we should be moving towards earlier retirement for both men and women. My personal view is that the economic, social and psychological advantages for both men and women in being able to continue to work as long as the normal retirement age demands is indisputable, more particularly at a time when there is a much more widespread acceptance of the need for job satisfaction and job enrichment. That is equally true of men and women, and not just the dis-advantaged group of women that I have already mentioned.

However, I reject the new clause and the amendments, with which I have already said I am fundamentally in sympathy, because the right hon. Gentleman has not convinced me that he has told us what the real cost will be of implementing the new clause—[Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman talks about 4 per cent.

Mrs. Kellett-Bowman

Does my hon. Friend accept that we do not appear to have an opportunity to vote on Amendment No. 53?

Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

I accept that.

The distortion in the arguments of Opposition Members is that they have given the impression that the Bill specifically prevents women from joining occupational pension schemes. I admit that it does not help them to do so to the extent that I should like, but it does not prevent them from joining.

Women have always had to fight every inch of the way in the achievement of women's rights. We have never achieved them easily. This is a matter that women throughout the country will want to continue to fight for.

I cannot condemn, for not writing into the Bill this particular provision, a Government, and particularly my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, who have done so much for women's interests and women's pension rights. The Government have also done a great deal with regard to the tax benefits that will accrue to divorced women from the fact that maintenance payments will not be classed as unearned income. They have helped the young widows denied a pension by the previous Government; the older widows denied the age allowance; the war widow now entitled to war widow pension, even regardless of the reason for her husband's death, if he has been a war pensioner and she has received constant attendance allowance.

Mr. George Cunningham

I am trying to understand the hon. Lady's argument, but I am having some difficulty. Do I take it that she thinks that women are engaged in a fight and that we should not let them win it, because that would stop them going on fighting? That seemed to be the burden of her argument.

Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

Not at all. I refute that as being the motivation for what I said. I regret that women have had to fight every inch of the way, but above all I acknowledge that the present Government have helped them on the way over and over again.

Mr. Cunningham

But they will have to go on fighting.

Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

Good. That is exactly what we should do. Many of us on this side wish to see women having equal opportunity to join occupational pension schemes. But I have regard to the circumstances of the Bill, of the concessions given and the Government's achievements in connection with women's interests, not least with pensions, and perhaps most of all in the annual review of pensions, apart from the reforming aspect of the Bill itself. Therefore, much as I regret that women will still have to fight for equal opportunity the occupational pension rights, I do not think that it is fair to press such a progressive Government to write the provision into the Bill.

Mr. Michael Meacher (Oldham, West)

The views expressed by the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mrs. Sally Oppenheim) about how much the Government have done for women in the Bill may well reflect her sincerity, but they also reflect her grave lack of knowledge and understanding of the Bill.

The group of amendments goes to the heart of one of the aspects of the Bill— the grave discrimination against women throughout the Bill. It is a defect of the Bill that has been well recognised in the country. Many hon. Members will have received correspondence from several organisations representing women, protesting at the grave discrimination against women throughout the Bill. The one that has already been mentioned is the message from the National Council of Women, which is the most important because that body is represented within the Cabinet Secretariat, and it is bipartisan. For example, the Secretary of State for Education and Science has played a prominent part in it. Therefore, hon. Members on both sides can listen to what it says. It wrote that: We strongly deprecate the fact that under Clause 75(2) a personal pension for a woman earner is to be at a rate 30 per cent. less than for a man. I should tell the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mrs. Kellett-Bowman) that that will still continue to be the case even if Amendment No. 91 is accepted. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda, West (Mr. Alec Jones)—

Sir K. Joseph

Will the hon. Gentleman repeat his last sentence, finishing with the words, "even if Amendment No. 91 were passed"? It is my fault that I missed what the hon. Gentleman said.

Mr. Meacher

I am glad to repeat what I said. I indicated that the statement of the National Council of Women that there will be a pension rate 30 per cent. less for women than men will still continue to be the case even if Amendment No. 91 is passed. I am glad to see that the right hon. Gentleman assents to that view.

Sir K. Joseph

No, I indicated that I understood it.

Mr. Meacher

I invite the right hon. Gentleman to assent. It is an important point and one of the patent forms of discrimination.

I am sure that myy hon. Friend the m Member for Rhondda, West will also agree. My hon. Friend quoted the Women's National Commission statement on 21st February this year, which said that there is little reflection of social changes now taking place in our society. I am sure that he will agree with me that after Committee stage, after all these points had been made fully and forcefully, the position still continues to be as true as it was several months ago when the Committee stage started.

I commend to the House new Clause I, which was so ably moved, as was often the case throughout the Committee stage, by my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Dell). It deals with the key fact that the earlier retirement factor rather than the longer life factor as the situation which leads to a lower pension for women. It is the overcoming of that factor which is bound to prevent and which has prevented women from getting an equal pension.

As women live longer they are roughly balanced with the cost of allocating a man's pension to his widow's benefit. New Clause 1 goes in an ingenious manner to the root of a vexed issue which has been with us for the best part of a decade, if not considerably longer. Certainly we have been aware of it in the last decade. It merely suggests that there shall be separate ages for retirement between 60 and 65. That means that in considering the rate of pension for any human being consideration will be given to the date on which retirement took place and not the sex of the person who has retired.

I make that point because of the figures which were given in Committee by the Under-Secretary of State. I ask the hon. Member for Gloucester to pay attention to this point. The extra cost which the hon. Lady alleges is bound to be involved will, in fact, not be involved. There might be a very small or a marginal extra cost which could well be accounted for by men in the form of a very small cross-subsidy. The hon. Lady is quite wrong to think that there will be a substantial extra cost. If she had had the privilege of being a member of the Committee she would understand that that is the case.

I assure the hon. Member for Lancaster that the Opposition will give her the chance to vote on Amendment No. 53. I am glad to know that there is considerable sympathy. I hope that that will be registered in the voting for this set of amendments and, in particular, for Amendment No. 53.

There are in the Bill—I am not just making a political point—several forms of discrimination against women. I shall list them briefly. The first form is that which Amendment No. 53 seeks to remedy. It is the case at present, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) said, that only 18 per cent. of full-time manual women workers are members of occupational pension schemes compared with 46 per cent. of men. If we consider other schemes the proportion for women is 47 per cent. and 74 per cent. for men. No one can suggest that that enormous difference is the result of women's free choice. I do not understand how the Government can fail, in all equity, to support Amendment No. 53.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Robert Boscawen (Wells)

Surely the point is that occupational pension schemes are voluntary schemes and if the private employer does not want to go ahead with them he can close them down. That would not be to the advantage of pensioners or women.

Mr. Meacher

That is a remarkable admission of the possibilities for discrimination that are inherent in the scheme. It is an admission that the Government are far more concerned about promoting the advancement and spread of occupational pension schemes than they are about giving a fair deal to women. It is precisely that situation which we are seeking to remove from the Bill.

Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the disparity in the figures between men and women regarding the membership of occupational pension schemes is caused by the fact that women are, on the whole, earning very much less than men, and that as we rise towards equal pay the disparity will begin to disappear?

Mr. Meacher

It might be the case that as we move towards greater equality of pay the number might increase, but that is not the point which is at issue, which is that women should have the same right even if they are at a lower earning level at present. There is patent discrimination if they do not have the right.

We were told in Committee by the Under-Secretary of State that the right already existed because if women were not members of occupational pension schemes then they were members of the reserve pension scheme. That is an extraordinary statement for a Minister to make.

Secondly, there are roughly 15 million people employed in the private sector and nearly a third of that number are women. Looking at the number excluded from occupation pension schemes, one million out of 1.6 million are women— about two-thirds. In other words, compared with men, women suffer an exclusion rate about twice as great.

Thirdly, the British Institute of Management's survey shows that some women are not able to join occupational pension schemes until they are aged 30. The reasons for that are well understood but the reasons do not commend themselves to my right hon. and hon. Friends. There should be the same age of entry for women as for men.

Fourthly, roughly 1.8 million women out of 3.7 million are excluded because their employment is such that they are ineligible for inclusion in occupational pension schemes. Women are excluded as women only in a very small number of cases. They are excluded in about only 5 percent. of other schemes and about one third of manual schemes. In other words it would be necessary to make relatively few changes to meet the amendment. Women are chiefly excluded because their age of entry is made higher— in some cases it is 30—because their period of service is too short and, above all, because their employment is ineligible. That is surely unfair to women.

Perhaps the most important form of discrimination is the level of pension which women receive. My right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead put down a pertinent question to the Secretary of State on 1st March this year. He asked what would be the pension rights accruing to men and women if the Bill, by 1973, had been in operation for 40 years. That would give the best indication, in today's money values, of what it is worth. One can quote figures for 20 years, 30 years or 40 years which look abnormally large. That is because of the 3 percent. compound uprating.

Taking today's figures—the figure which I have selected is, I think, the fairest—a woman on average earnings, if the Bill had been in operation for 40 years, would gain an extra pension on top of the basic pension of only £1.56. That is the pathetically small and derisory second pension about which the Government have made so much in their boastings about the value of a two-tier pension. An extra £1.56 is not enough to take someone on the basic pension out of poverty. The difference between the basic pension and the supplementary benefit line, plus rent, is substantially more than £1.56. Therefore, a woman on average earnings, not low paid, when the scheme had been in operation for 40 years, would be left with a pension that was still beneath the supplementary benefit line. If that is not discrimination and does not show what a shoddy Bill this is, I do not know what does.

If one takes the basic pension unrated in line with national average earnings, not merely in line with price protection, and adds that to the Government's figures given in HANSARD of 2nd March of minimum personal pensions under Clause 51(7), a woman would need to earn a wage of £40 a week and to contribute all her working life to get a pension above the supplementary benefit poverty line. How many women today earn above £2,000 a year when they have little more than 60 percent. of men's average wages, which are £36 a week? In other words, very few women will, by their own right, be able to get a pension under the Bill above the supplementary benefit line.

There are three reasons given by the Government for rejecting the new Clause and the amendments. I have already made clear how great is the discrimination and how poor is the deal for women under the Bill.

First, there is the longevity argument— that women get lower pensions because they live longer. Why should not manual workers and those who suffer from chronic ill-health and therefore live shorter lives get a bigger pension? They do not. This is a form of discrimination which women alone suffer.

The second argument is that they have lower pay. But, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn said, if the Government are sincere about the lowness of pay, why have they not brought in this year the 90 percent. gearing under the Equal Pay Act? They have not, and to that extent this remains a serious problem.

The only major issue is the question of the earlier retirement age. New Clause 1 overcomes this problem in a way which is compatible with virtually no cross subsidy. Of course, it is possible to solve the problem in other ways, and others of the amendments suggest these possibilities.

The Government's argument is that women get actuarial equivalence. How many women, informed that they were to get actuarial equivalence under the Bill, would regard it as a particularly thrilling offer? The Government mean that the 0.7 percent. and the 1 percent. accrued rates were arrived at because they actuarily result from equal contributions by men and women. In other words, it is a contributions test, not a benefits test. But that is no justification, because what matters is the result, not the means by which a particular result is achieved.

The Government argue that if employers had the extra cost of providing an equal pension for women thrust upon them, they would merely exclude women from occupational pension schemes. One would hope that if they attempted to do that there would be non-recognition of the particular scheme.

Alternatively, the cost can be met through extra charges for men or for women. There are a number of permutations of the ways by which this can be done. I insist that the argument deployed by the Under-Secretary in Committee— namely, that the contribution rate for women would increase from 80p to £1.20 —is untrue, not only for the reasons given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead but for the reason that, even if the new clause were not accepted and a form of cross subsidy were used, all the extra contributions need not and would not be loaded on to women.

I return to the central point that it is difficult, but not impossible, to get equality for women within the structure of the Bill. I submit that the only way to get equality for women is through a good, comprehensive, Crossman-type State scheme which includes men and women on an equal basis. There is little point the hon. Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward) laughing at that suggestion. Perhaps she can suggest how it is possible within the Bill to get equality. I hope she may feel that the proper way to do it is by supporting the new clause. That would greatly improve the Bill. However, the only proper way is to accept the kind of national superannuation scheme which we put forward and certainly provides the best deal for women, and when we return to it in a modified form after the next election they will certainly have it.

Mr. Norman Lamont (Kingston-upon Thames)

I have considerable sympathy with the new clause and amendments moved by the Opposition, though I wish that they had been moved in a slightly less partisan way and acknowledged some of the real practical difficulties involved.

I suppose it would be pointless to complain that so much Press coverage of the Bill has concentrated on this aspect, thus obscuring some of the most important, far-reaching and welcome aspects of the Bill. That is not surprising, because social security is about women and their financial circumstances.

Two-thirds of pensioners and 74 percent. of old-age pensioners on supplementary benefit are women. Again, among pensioners who survive into their eighties and nineties, far higher proportions are women.

The Bill does a lot to help that situation. Under the Bill, both men and women will have the right to an earnings-related pension. There is a big improvement in the cover for widows certainly well ahead of current practice in occupational pension schemes.

The Government Actuary's report indicates that only about 10 percent. of occupational pension schemes give an unconditional right to a widow's pension and only 76 percent. of occupational pension schemes cover women for death after retirement unless the contributors have been persuaded to forgo part of their pension to buy a widow's pension. Few occupational pension schemes have the preservation of death benefit which is required under the Bill. So, in these ways the Bill is a substantial advance for women.

The hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) referred to actuarial equivalence, a third advance for women under the structure of the Bill. People draw out what they have paid in, and, after taking account of differences such as earlier retirement and greater longevity, men and women are treated alike.

Actuarial equivalence and equality are not the same. The question one must ask is whether some of these actuarial differences between the sexes should disappear in the magic of averages. In this day and age one must ask oneself whether it is right to distinguish for treatment in pensions between men and women on the grounds of greater longevity. Does that make more sense than distinguishing in longevity between manual workers and executives in pension schemes, or between manual workers in high risk occupations and manual workers in manufacturing industry generally? That sort of actuarial distinction will I suspect be increasingly difficult to maintain habitually. Today women are increasingly demanding equal opportunities at work and equal conditions of employment.

5.45 p.m.

This is a structure Bill, setting the structure from 1975 onwards. We know the present trends. We can be sure that these trends will be moving more swiftly and more strongly in 1975 and onwards. We should ask ourselves whether the structure of the Bill will be in accordance with social trends after 1975.

The question of the greater life expectancy of women is not the only factor complicating the search for equality of treatment. There is also the problem of the difference in retirement age, as the amendment recognises. Women retire earlier than men. This was a feature that the Minister welcomed in Committee, but I am not as enthusiastic as all that. I have always regarded the 65/60 difference in the national insurance scheme as being a rather regrettable feature. It was one of the aspects of the Crossman scheme that I disliked, that it perpetuated the 65 60 difference. The tragedy is that that difference was introduced as an afterthought in the 1940 Beveridge scheme. The difference was not intended originally, but at the last moment it was thought that it might be a good way of attracting married women to work in industry.

The question we have to ask ourselves is what is the best way of getting rid of this 65/60 difference in retirement ages. One way of approaching the problem and reconciling it with the objective of equality would be to give women the full pension at the age of 60, as we do in the national insurance scheme. But that would be preferential treatment for women and would not be a wise course to pursue.

The second way would be to have some sort of flexible retirement age between 60 and 65. There are attractions in this approach, but also some difficulties. There is the social question whether one wants to encourage earlier retirement. Is not the case that one ought to encourage people to work rather longer? There is the question how the structure of the Bill, as it has been proposed that we should change it, would fit in with the national insurance scheme.

Another difficulty is the possibility of some people retiring early on an inadequate pension before the age of 65. I should be interested to hear the Secretary of State's comments on the difference between retiring at 60 compared with retiring at 65. I have the impression that in a money purchase scheme, where one's contributions are building up over the whole of one's working life, that the extra five years contributions, compared with the totality of one's working life, do not make all that much difference. Of course in occupation schemes, where in many schemes there is a massive cross subsidy between people of different ages, this subsidy might dwarf this particular problem.

The third solution to this problem is the solution that the Government have chosen, with one of their amendments. That is that women should have an option to retire at a later date and that then they would be able to have a pension more or less equivalent to that of men retiring at 65. I hope that the Secretary of State will tell us that the pension will be exactly the same.

My calculations and the help that I have had from actuaries indicate that the longevity factor is more or less, as near as makes no difference, offset by the widow's pension provision that has to be provided through a man's contributions. Therefore, by equalising the retirement ages, it should be possible to give the same pensions.

The right hon. Member for Birken-head (Mr. Dell) said that this will still mean that women's contributions are worth less. He talked about the accrual rate. But that is not the point. The point is that women and men, under the amendment, will get the same pension. They will be treated equally in that respect. Of course it will be worth less in the sense that women's contributions do not have to provide a widower's pension, and yet are not getting a compensatory addition to the pension. This is something that we have to accept. This is what averages are all about. One category of risks and liabilities is offset against another.

Mr. Dell

The hon. Gentleman has proposed a very relevant question to his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. In effect, the hon. Gentleman has asked him whether, under Amendment No. 91, a woman's pension at the retirement age of 65 would be the same as a man's pension at 65. If the answer the hon. Gentleman gets from the Secretary of State is "No, it will not be the same, because the sort of increments shown in Schedule 18 will still apply, even under Amendment No. 91 ", does the hon. Gentleman agree that the amendment could be the route to grave injustices to women because they will not get a return on their money equivalent to the return that men are getting on their money?

Mr. Lamont

I am fairly confident of the fact that the two will be at least the same as makes no difference. As there will be little difference, I am asking the Secretary of State to forget the difference and to say that they will be the same.

The only difficulty of Amendment No. 91 is whether the age of 65 is not too high. In many occupations the trend is towards retirement at 60. This is true even more of women's employment. The amendment will be welcomed however as a first step towards bringing about complete equality of treatment, but it is not the whole answer to the problem.

This problem goes wider. I do not wish to touch on it too much. But, even if one achieved equality of treatment in occupational schemes and the reserve pension scheme, one would still be left with the very real problem that many married women will still retire on pensions which are inadequate because of the fragmented nature of their working life, and therefore their contributions. This problem will not be solved by the sort of amendments which we are discussing. Much further thought will have to be given to it.

This problem also involves the whole area of the treatment of women in occupational schemes and the sort of discrimination against them. Sometimes the entry age is manipulated in a way which acts against women. Sometimes the occupational pensions are restricted to particular grades of employment and do not include some women.

It is tempting to agree with the right hon. Member for Blackburn that there ought to be an absolute right for anyone, regardless of sex, to join an occupational pension scheme. There are various ways in which one can provide this. The Finance Act 1970 provided that approved occupational pension schemes can be legitimately restricted to a particular category of employees. I do not want to say anything further about that, except to indicate that there are a number of different ways in which membership of occupational schemes for all employees could be made obligatory.

But the major difficulty with the amendment is that the whole object of this strategy is too obtain the widest possible development of occupational pension schemes. Hon. Members of the Opposition may not agree with that objective, but that is the objective of the strategy. There is no doubt that many employers who have large numbers of female employees—many of whom will be in part-time employment and many of whom will work for a short period and then retire—who at present are prepared to set up occupational pension schemes for men alone would not, if the amendment were carried, be prepared to set them up at all.

The situation is particularly precarious in the case of the smaller employer. The hon. Member for Oldham, West referred to the British Institute of Management's survey of occupational pension schemes. That indicated quite clearly that the greatest discrimination against women was among the smaller employers and it is these people who are going to be hesitating and balancing the costs and management time involved in actually developing occupational schemes.

Mrs. Castle

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the arguments he is now using against this simple act of natural justice are exactly the arguments used against the introduction of equal pay— that it would hit the smaller employer and the firms with a large number of women employees? We were told that the consequence would be a rise in unemployment among women. Thank God women have closed their ears to that piece of masculine siren talk. They say, "We are prepared to take the risk. Do not worry about us. We just want equality". And that is what they are saying about pension schemes. What the hon. Gentleman is doing is making the remarks famous throughout the ages whenever women ask for simple national justice and equality.

Mr. Lamont

There are clear and obvious differences between moving towards equal pay, necessitating wage increases for a group of employees, and the conscious decision to opt for one type of pension scheme, an occupational pension scheme, rather than taking the easy option of going into the State reserve scheme, which removes administrative problems and saves employers devoting a large amount of time to problems they have not had to deal with before. The analogy is totally false.

I believe that this Bill marks a significant step forward for the pension rights of women. I do not believe that it is a structure that will last for all time. We shall have to make adjustments in time, but I think it is a very good platform from which further progress can be made. I am sure this Bill will be widely welcomed by women for that reason.

6.0 p.m.

Sir Brandon Rhys Williams (Kensington, South)

After this long debate want to make only a short contribution. I have a great deal of sympathy with the campaign of the right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) to secure absolute equality of treatment for women in the Social Security Bill but I feel that the new clause which is the subject of our debate does not go quite wide enough to make it possible in a single amendment to introduce absolute equality.

The sort of problem that comes to mind immediately is that it does not appear to deal with the question of all the fringe benefits which may well be tacked on to a pension scheme. The most obvious of course is widows' benefit. It does not seem to me that the right hon. Member has taken account of that, although subsequent speakers have no doubt dealt with it.

Mr. Dell

I do not know what the hon. Gentleman is referring to. The new clause deals with the reserve pension scheme. Can he indicate which fringe benefits he is now referring to?

Sir B. Rhys Williams

The new clause deals, as I understand it, with annuities and not with residual benefits after the decease of the beneficiary. This is the particular point I want to mention.

I come now to a much bigger point which I think the House should bear in mind. Where women do not go out to work but make their contribution to society in their own homes they do not receive any pay at all in the sense with which the reserve scheme is concerned. Married women who go out to work are getting especially favourable tax treatment at the moment over a wide earnings band and this is something the right hon. Lady does not take into account in her campaign. I naturally accept, as do all of us on both sides of the House, the principle of equal pay for equal work. This means that we must agree with the idea of equal deferred pay for equal work, but the problems begin where people opt for earlier retirement. Therefore I am sure it would be agreed on all sides of the House that equal deferred pay for equal work ought to assume an equal retirement age. I hope that Amendment No. 91, when we come to it, will take us into that, but we shall learn that at a later stage.

One has to ask whether one wants an absolutely consolidated monolithic benefit or whether it would be reasonable for schemes to separate men and women in respect of the treatment of survivors. I feel that society is not ready and perhaps is not moving in the direction of the idea that men and women should get identical, unisex treatment whether the surviving spouse is a man or a woman. In any event, this might not lead to equality because on the whole women live longer than men so a woman would be more likely to outlive her spouse. Although one could offer them widowers' benefit it would be an empty victory for the women.

Therefore I feel that, interesting as this new clause is, it does not fully solve the problem. We ought to wait to see what the Government have in mind in Amendment No. 91.

I should like to welcome the announcement made, I understand on 2nd May by the Minister of State for Defence, in which we read that for the first time bachelors killed in action will have a lump sum paid into their estate. This means that among men there is the possibility of absolutely equal treatment and equal deferred pay for equal work.

I think it is wrong to confine ourselves to women's claims in this respect. It seems to me that if a widower has lived for many years with a member of his family or with a woman to whom he is not married it is wrong that there should not be entitlement to the same residual benefit for her. Therefore I would like the Secretary of State to consider whether it is not possible, in revising the treatment to be given to men, to ensure that those who die without leaving a widow should have added to their estate a lump sum equivalent in value to the normal value of a widow's benefit.

Dame Joan Vickers (Plymouth, Devonport)

I want to make a remark with regard to my petition yesterday just to draw my right hon. Friend's attention to it, because I brought it before the House after a great deal of consideration. Since presenting the petition yesterday I have had numerous calls and letters saying that women particularly want to have the first two points at any rate considered. I should be grateful to him if he would think about this very seriously in the future.

I cannot see why, now that we are in the Common Market, we cannot follow some of the other Common Market countries. France is far more advanced than we are. They have an equal retirement age of 60. I feel that we should not be tied definitely to this Bill but should be able to reconsider and perhaps amend it in the light of what others are doing so that we can come into line with some of the EEC countries.

In regard to what my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington, South (Sir B. Rhys Williams) said about Service pensions, it is rather interesting to note that in this House women have to contribute towards a possible widow's pension even if they are not married. That seems to me very unfair. Therefore I cannot see why in other schemes women should not in future be able to contribute towards a widow's pension.

I was not in the Standing Committee but I have listened with great interest to the points I had had in mind being put forward. My main object is to draw my right hon. Friend's attention to the large number of people and organisations who are deeply concerned that he should get them equal pensions for equal contributions and are willing to have the same retiring age as between the sexes. This has definitely been thought out, because we have had a conference on it at Church House to which I had invited the right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle). Unfortunately, she could not come, but her hon. Friend took her place. It was attended by over 400 women. I sent a resolution to the Prime Minister on this very subject and I hope that he will take it into consideration.

Sir K. Joseph

I should like to pay tribute to the speeches made in this debate, which has forcused, on the one hand, on the main issue of the treatment of women under this Bill and by this Government, and, on the other, on three separate aspects of cover together under this group of amendments. I shall spend most of my time dealing with the three particular ingredients of this group of amendments, but enough has been said on the general treatment of women by the Government to enable me to say something first on that.

I want to put two perfectly consistent points of view to the House. On the one hand, judged against a perfect world, the position of women in this country has not been made ideal overnight by this Government. On the other hand, judged against the position of women before this Government came to office, we have a very creditable record. My hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mrs. Sally Oppenheim) was absolutely right to point out, in answer to the right hon. Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) and her hon. Friends some of the things of which we can be modestly proud.

After all, we have introduced an annual review of benefits, whereas the previous Government did not have an annual review. We have provided a pension for the over-80s, which the previous Government refused them. We have added a small addition to the pensions of the over-80s, most of whom are women, which was never introduced by the previous Government. We have made a special provision for younger widows whom the previous Government ignored. We have brought into payment an attendance allowance many of whose beneficiaries are women, and we have made a special age allowance for war widows at 65 which has been widely welcomed by the war pensioners.

As for this Bill, with any shortcomings which inevitably, in the real world, will be present in legislation, it does provide a second pension for all wage earners who are earning more than a quarter of the average national income, when there was no such provision before, and it provides comprehensive cover for widows, whereas before there was no such comprehensive cover.

Those are the credentials which enable the Government to claim, in response to the highly selective speeches of Labour Members, that we have made substantial progress in securing better treatment for women, both in social service policy generally and under this Bill.

Mr. Meacher

Since the right hon. Gentleman has praised the fact that women will now have a second pension, would he tell us, since we could not get this information in Committee from his hon. Friend, how many women will be brought up to the supplementary benefit poverty line as a result? Is his estimate 100,000 or 5 million?

Sir K. Joseph

I hope that, through the successive policies of this Government, which include annual improvements in social security benefits and the tax credit scheme, as well as an increase in selective benefits, and the reserve scheme and occupational pensions, relatively soon, dramatically fewer women will be retiring in poverty. After all, the tax credit scheme, which has not yet been adopted as Government policy, would in itself—[Interruption.] I do not want to stray too far on this subject, but the hon. Gentleman asked me a question which, as he well knows, cannot be answered by reference to this Bill alone.

I turn to the three main ingredients of this group of amendments. The first was put, as persuasively as ever, by the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Dell), supported by his hon. Friends the Members for Islington, South-West (Mr. George Cunningham) and Rhondda, West (Mr. Alec Jones), and to some extent by many of my hon. Friends, including my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dame Joan Vickers) who introduced a petition on part of the same theme yesterday, and my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Mrs. Kellet-Bowman).

It is common ground that the main difference between the accrual rates of pensions for women and those for men flow from the three factors that we all recognise—the earlier retirement of women, the longer life of women and the fact that the man's contribution has to bear the cost of widowhood cover. The right hon. Gentleman introduced new Clause 1, with Amendment No. 131, as the method of eliminating the effect of the first and most important of these differentials, the earlier retirement.

Considering the progress of the discussions in Committee, we all now see it as a thoroughly sensible step forward that some provision should be made to eliminate, at a woman's own wish, the disadvantage that comes to her through the calculation of her pension on the assumption that she retires at 60 in the reserve scheme. That has now become common ground. It emerged from the debates and the views of hon. Members on both sides of the Committee, and the right hon. Gentleman has put forward his method of dealing with it.

The Government have tabled Amendments Nos. 61 and 91, which—the former for the occupational pension recognition test and the latter for the reserve scheme —provide that a woman may defer her retirement from 60 up to a maximum of 65 and thus can, to any degree she wishes as between those ages, eliminate the disadvantage of the earlier retirement calculation.

The result has been to achieve what both sides of the House wish—namely, that, if a woman decides to defer her retirement to 65 under the reserve scheme, her accrual rate becomes very nearly the same as a man's. I say "very nearly the same"—I am sorry to disappoint my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Norman Lamont)— because we shall make regulations, if the House approves the amendment, in due course, and there will be calculations, to be made of the exact effects of the various factors. But, broadly speaking, a woman who decided to defer her retirement to 65 would achieve the same accrual rate as a man.

Misunderstanding of what the Government propose under Amendments Nos. 61 and 91 is not in the least surprising, because the Government have not had, until this Report stage, the opportunity to explain these amendments, which have only just been tabled. The hon. Member for Oldham, West, I think, quoted the Women's National Commission. I think that he said that it was its view that, even if Amendment No. 91 were passed, a woman's accrual rate would be 30 per cent. less good than a man's. If I have misunderstood the hon. Member or the commission, I apologise, but if that is their view, it is a misunderstanding. The accrual rate under Amendment No. 91 will be more or less the same as for a man.

Mr. O'Malley

Since I believe that probably large numbers of firms have compulsory retirement for women at the age of 60, is the right hon. Gentleman envisaging the possibility or the desirability of legislation which would allow them to continue working after 60? Second, would he bear in mind that, at a time of high unemployment, when the whole tone of the debate in the country is in favour of reducing the retirement age for women, many will see as a retro- grade step any provision which had as its final effect an increase in the working age of women rather than a reduction?

Sir K. Joseph

The hon. Member is seldom perverse, but that is what he is being now. First of all, mercifully, the unemployment rate is falling. But on the general issue, hon. Members on both sides are pressing the Government to allow women to defer retirement if they wish. The hon. Member has a substantial point on compulsory retirement ages, and he asks whether the Government contemplate legislation. The answer is "No", but if a number of women in any employment want to defer retirement, no doubt they will make their views known to the management directly or through their trade unions.

Mr. Dell

Can I be clear what the right hon. Gentleman is saying? Is he saying. in effect, that, by regulation, he will revise Schedule 18 so that, for ages of retirement for women from 60 to 65 there will be different accrual rates per reckon able contribution factor for all the ages between 60 and 65, and that these will be nearly comparable—"nearly" being the longevity factor—to the figures given in the column for men retiring at the age of 65? If he is saying that, then I put it to him that the sensible thing is to do it both ways, to do it for men who retire earlier as well as for women. But if he is not saying that, I do not think he is meeting the point of new Clause 1. He has made me hopeful, but if he has not met that point then he should look at new Clause 1 again in the light of what he is saying.

6.15 p.m.

Sir K. Joseph

I am saying that, as regards the first, long part of the right hon. Gentleman's necessarily long sentence, but I have these reservations. He was particularly talking about the close approximation of the accrual rate of a woman if she deferred retirement at the age of 65 and that of a man who retired at 65. I assert that the woman's accrual rate will be greater from that at 60 to that at 65 progressively as she defers retirement, year by year, between 60 and 65. I did not say that as between 60 and 65 there will be any close approximation between a man's and a woman's accrual rate. I was not referring to earlier retirement by the man.

The right hon. Gentleman put in his new Clause 1 that there should be a single table in Schedule 18 but he did not write in amendments to other parts of the Bill to provide for earlier retirement by men. Therefore, since for the purpose of the amendment hon. Members on both sides have focused on later retirement by women, the Government have concentrated on that, and our answer lies in Amendments Nos. 61 and 91. I feel that hon. Members on both sides ought to welcome, by our joint efforts, a sensible step forward.

I turn to the second ingredient in this group of amendments connected with Amendment No. 53 which the right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn put with her usual forcefulness and in which, to my slight dismay, she received support from my hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. Stewart-Smith). I was comforted by the sturdy counter action by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames and by the very shrewd intervention of my hon. Friend the Member for Wells (Mr. Boscawen)— because we are not here dealing with something like pay. It was notable enough —and I am not underestimating it—for a Government to legislate in favour of equal pay, but here, in occupational pension schemes, as my hon. Friends the Members for Wells and Kingston-upon-Thames have emphasised, we are dealing with an option in the employer's hands. Both sides, I am sure, want employers to provide good occupational pension schemes. Here we are providing that if they do not provide recognised occupational pension schemes, their workers, within the terms of the Bill, will have to be put into the reserve scheme. We cannot insist too strongly on any particular condition being imposed in the recognition test without taking the risk that we shall harm the very people we want to help, by diminishing the number of recognised occupational pension schemes. That is a fact of life.

I believe that it was the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) who quoted figures to show how the relatively very small proportion of working women in occupational pension schemes is a token of discrimination against women, but I must point out that it is no more a token of discrimination than the relatively small proportion of manual workers who are in occupational pension schemes is a sign of discrimination against manual men. [Interruption.] On second thoughts, I could have put that proposition better. But if there is discrimination against women, it is not because they are women but because, as with manual workers, there has not been pressure in the employer's own mind or, to be fair, from the workers themselves through their trade unions, for occupational pension schemes to encompass the majority, as we would wish, if not all manual workers, including women.

We have to face the fact that if we build in a condition that occupational pension schemes shall provide equally for women, we may do damage to the very people we are out to help by discouraging the employer who has a marginal state of mind about recognised occupational pension schemes from going ahead. I can assure hon. Members on both sides of the House that so far as the Government have an opportunity to set an example and to encourage, of course we want women to be in recognised occupational pension schemes. We only ask the House to recognise that to legislate for it will probably be counter-productive.

I turn last to Amendment No. 152, of the right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn, on which she spoke valiantly in favour of a statutory obligation on the Government to provide that one-third of the members of the Occupational Pensions Board and Reserve Pension Board should be women. I will tease her about her apparent lack of confidence in women's own excellence securing their membership, but of course appointments to these bodies must be on merits. Surely, women do not want reserved places on every board or body. They will expect to earn them by their own merits. I hope, therefore, that the House will not follow that particular call.

Finally, I hope that in the light of the answers I have given to the debate, which contained some notable speeches from both sides of the House, the amendments will not be pressed. If they are pressed, I hope that in the light of my answers, and of Amendments No. 61 and 91 which the Government have tabled, my hon and right hon. Friends will vote against them.

Mr. O'Malley

The Secretary of State expresses himself as being satisfied with the changes affecting women which the Government are bringing forward on Report. I begin by saying that if he is satisfied we certainly are not—and we believe that many women outside the House will remain dissatisfied, too. The Secretary of State began by saying the Government had a creditable record in their dealings with women and in their legislation affecting women since they came into office in 1970. I have to tell him that as a result of the omissions of this Government and the vast changes in this Bill when compared with the 1969 Superannuation Bill, when this Bill has been passed women will still be in a position very much inferior to that in which they would have been had that 1969 Bill been completed before the General Election of 1970.

I say that for two reasons. What that Bill did, and what the right hon. Gentleman and hon. Members opposite are now saying is impossible to do at this stage, was to give, in terms of pension provision, equal treatment for women in every respect. That is the purpose of the amendments which we are now discussing. It is a purpose which has not been achieved by this Government in the last two-and-a-half years, and it is certainly not achieved as a result of the proposals which we are now considering.

It also needs to be noticed that when the Secretary of State makes claims such as this—and I bear in mind particularly the speech of the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Norman Lamont) about widowhood provision— the 1969 proposals gave a widow 100 per cent. of her husband's pension entitlement, and it was the best pension scheme deal for women anywhere in the world. It also included crediting forward, which the Government's proposals do not. Therefore, the 50 per cent. proposals of this Government in terms of widowhood are not even as good as those put forward in legislation which completed its Committee stage before the 1970 General Election.

Even with the revision of the accrual rates, which the right hon. Gentleman has discussed briefly and which we shall want to question him further about when we reach Amendments Nos. 61 and 91, women in their millions far into the future will be retiring on pensions which are so small, as a result of the provisions in the Bill—both in the occupational pension sphere and through the reserve scheme—that they will still have to depend upon means-tested supplementary benefits.

The right hon. Gentleman says that we are now giving women virtually equal accrual rates—but that applies if they are prepared to work to the age of 65. Many women will not be allowed by their firms to work until 65, and what a reflection it is on our social security legislation in 1973, when, in order to achieve some kind of paper parity, we are discussing some kind of arrangement which satisfies the Government and the Secretary of State, we have to devise a formula which provides that the only way of getting that equal accrual is for women to work until the age of 65 instead of the pensionable age of 60, as defined in all our post-war legislation.

Therefore, on that part of the Secretary of State's remarks I conclude by saying that of course there has been some improvement by the Government, through Amendment No. 91. That came only as a result of strong pressure from my right hon. Friend the Member for Birken-head (Mr. Dell) and other members of the Committee. That change having been made, it should be compared once again not with the future policy proposals of the Opposition but with the proposals which almost completed their legislative process before the General Election in 1970 where a woman could retire at 60 and there was no need for her to work until 65. Under the national superannuation proposals a woman at 60 would have received complete equality of treatment with men, taking into account her pensionable age. As a party we had already gone much further than the Government are prepared to go this afternoon and it is for those reasons that we can say on general grounds that we are dissatisfied with their general policy propositions and that we certainly intend to press some of these amendments to a Division this evening.

It also needs to be said in regard to Amendment No. 53, on which my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) spoke, that the failure of the Government, both in Committee and this afternoon, to provide safeguards against discrimination between men and women in employers' pension schemes is in clear breach of the statement made by the now Home Secretary when he was in Opposition. My right hon. Friend quoted the Home Secretary's remarks when she spoke in Committee in columns 883 and 884. The amendment gives women not equal rights to men in occupational pension schemes but merely equal rights to membership. I hope that there will be enough support on both sides of the House at least to give them that basic entitlement.

Even the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mrs. Sally Oppenheim)—I am not attacking her for it—made a party political speech. She said she was broadly —[Interruption.] The difference between my speech and that of the hon. Lady is that I took the trouble to deal with the facts before making it and she did not. Even she said that she supported the principle behind Amendment No. 53. I hope that there can be a stretching out of hands between the back benches on both sides at least to give women this minimal entitlement and the right to belong to a scheme, and not to have discrimination against them merely because they are women.

We are discussing the broad question of discrimination against women in pension provisions against the background of strong public support for such equality of treatment. If the House today rejects the appeals for an end to discrimination against women in this sphere it will be ignoring all the forces of social change which are a feature of life in this country. It will be standing in the path of inevitable historical forces and I hope that the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames recognises the existence of these historical forces when he says that he does not believe that this structure can last very long.

6.30 p.m.

He knows, as we all do in our hearts —on whatever side of the House we sit —that inevitably, in spite of the actuarial arguments, the arguments of clerks, mathematicians and economists, women will win this battle for equal treatment in pensions and in other provision. We are therefore discussing only one aspect of a major historical problem. In our fight to secure equality of treatment for women in pension provision we have been supported by virtually every women's organisation in the country. The National Council of Women of Great Britain has said We strongly deprecate that in Clause 74(2) the personal pension for a woman earner is 30% less than for a man. Women in their millions continue to retire at 60, as many will have to, and not only because of the policies of their employers but also because of their health —and I speak particularly of women who are doing manual jobs. That situation will continue unabated under the Bill in spite of Amendment No. 91.

So we have the support of that organisation, and of Age Concern and Help the Aged. I received only the other day a letter from the Anti-Discrimination Law Campaign strongly supporting us in this attempt to secure equality of treatment for women. I understand that that campaign is to present at some time in the future a national petition for the anti-discrimination Bill which will be presented to Parliament by my hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Mr. Raphael Tuck). As the House knows, he is assiduous in advancing the interests of his constituents and the interests of women of this country.

When we discuss the pension contribution for women we should remember that they represent about 38 per cent. of the labour force. It is no longer the position, as it was in the 1930s, that only a small fraction of the labour force was female. The income which these women receive is not merely used to satisfy the personal spending requirements of those women. They do not work for pin money. In many households their income is essential to meet bills, to pay the mortgage, to run the car and to maintain the family at a reasonable standard of living. At the moment, with a labour force of about 38 per cent. women, those women receive wages and salaries which, on average, are very much below that of men. When they retire the disparity of treatment continues. Of course, even when the Equal Pay Act becomes fully operative it seems likely— for reasons which lie beyond the bounds of our discussion this afternoon—that large numbers of women will still be receiving incomes substantially lower than those received by the male section of the population.

If the pensions payable under the reserve and the occupational schemes are to operate at the minimum level of criteria set into the Bill, they are low enough. We start with a system which has a pitifully small total level of provision. That applies to men, but for women it is a great deal worse.

In Committee we examined in detail and quoted many figures to indicate how low the pension provision would be for women, far into the future. The Bill will provide low pensions, and even lower pensions for women.

The hon. Member for Lancaster (Mrs. Kellett-Bowman) thought that this was a sound Bill, but its benefits for women are even worse than those in the Boyd-Carpenter scheme.

One may judge to what extent the provisions in occupational schemes leave a woman in an inferior position. For example, using the formula the Government adopted with the final salary-type scheme, whereas after 40 years a man could draw 24 per cent. final salary pension, a woman, after 40 years, could draw only a 16.8 per cent. pension. In the reserve scheme the position could arise in which if a man and woman entered at a similar age—say 22—the man would get 19 per cent. and the woman would get 13 per cent. When one considers the position of the woman who is 40 when the scheme comes into operation—if it does —paying into the reserve scheme for 20 years would give her a pension of 6 per cent. A woman of 50 would get 3 per cent. The position was outlined by my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher), when he said that as a result of the level of pension provision for women many women have had to rely on National Assistance—or supplementary benefits, as is now the case. That situation will continue far into the future.

I was disappointed that the Secretary of State did not refer specifically to Amendments Nos. 173 and 174. Those amendments sought to make similar provision for women and men in the case of women who wished to provide for dependants in the event of the death of those women. There is a higher accrual requirement for men making that kind of provision in certain types of schemes, and I thought that the Secretary of State could have met us on that point.

Despite Amendment No. 91, fundamentally nothing has changed. The Government have taken a great deal of trouble this afternoon, and the Secretary of State has obviously thought carefully how he should marshall and present his facts to make the situation look more tolerable than it is, but the situation remains intolerable. The Bill still does not provide that basic equality of treatment to women which we were providing in the 1969 legislation. The Government argument is poverty-stricken. For how much longer shall we be dominated by the arguments of clerks and actuaries on questions of morality and equity.

All that the Government have been able to say, including the pathetic letter that the Under-Secretary wrote to The Times in reply to the one from my hon. Friends and myself, is that in Committee we had the usual needle time speech, in which the Under-Secretary gave us an account, similar to the one given by the Secretary of State this afternoon, and said that women live longer than men. Do not they need the same warmth, clothing, food and consideration as men? Is it their fault that they live longer than men? We do not say that because non-manual workers live longer than manual workers or because one section of the male population has a greater life expectancy than another section they should receive inferior treatment in pension provision. That is not a feature of the National Insurance scheme or of any decent occupational pension scheme.

I do not think that we can continue reputably to use that argument in this House, and it is not a factor that should be taken into account in assessing the needs of women when there is so much evidence of mass poverty, especially amongst older women, which will continue unless additional measures are taken in this Bill.

The second argument which has been adduced is that it would cost additional money to accept my right hon. Friend's proposals. As my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West said, the figures which the Under-Secretary gave in Committee were not accurate and did not properly answer the queries which had been put to him.

I see nothing intrinsically wrong in a system of cross-subsidy in a scheme, especially in a major State scheme such as the reserve scheme. It is an essential feature of the basic scheme. I believe it is right that there should be a cross-subsidy between the generations and, contrary to the view of the Under-Secretary, which betrays the Tory philosophy behind it, that there is a great deal of community of interest between members of the reserve scheme. The community of interest is that they are members of a community, and there is a responsibility one to the other and one generation to the other, especially the young generation towards the older one. It is a terrible condemnation of the reserve proposals of this Government that they are not prepared to accept and to tell the country that there should be a bond of interest between one section of the community and the other—the older and the younger.

I listened carefully to what my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead said. In view of Amendment No. 91 especially, it is important that new Clause 1 or Amendment No. 131 should be accepted. If my right hon. Friend wishes to divide the House on the clause I shall be pleased to recommend to my right hon. and hon. Friends that we support him. I also support my right hon. Friend because, as he said, he is a reasonable man always seeking compromise, and I am always prepared to go along with him because I know that any compromises he offers will be so sensible that no Conservative Government will be prepared to accept them.

On that basis, I suggest to my right hon. and hon. Friends that we support new Clause 1, assuming that my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Dell) wishes to press it to a Division. As for the other amendments, Nos. 155 and 156 seek to give real equality to women in both the occupational pension and the reserve schemes. The Government's refusal to accept them will reflect their failure to consider changing social conditions and attitudes.

I believe that not only in the future but at present right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the Government side will be condemned for their attitude to these amendments. As a result of that attitude, women will be forced into poverty for many years to come. However, we hope that the pressures coming from the community will be such that before too long the Government's attitude, and all the machinery that they are setting up, will be overwhelmed and replaced with a system providing the kind of equality to women which is only fair for any Government to provide in 1973.

Therefore, I suggest that in addition to supporting new Clause 1 we also support—and I hope gain support from the Government backbenchers for—Amendments Nos. 53 and 56, dealing with the basic issue that the Government have dodged and neglected for so long-equality of treatment for women.

6.45 p.m.

Mr. Dell

It is my intention to press new Clause 1 to a Division, and I shall explain why.

When the Secretary of State drafts his regulations giving these different rates of accrual for women retiring at different ages between 60 and 65, he will realise how absurd it is still to make a difference between men and women, and he will be forced to ask himself why he cannot just have "unisex" tables, since they would be so very little different. The whole operation is absurd. It would be better if men could also retire earlier if it corresponded with the retirement ages in their occupational schemes.

The Secretary of State said that 1 did not move the necessary consequential amendments in the rest of the Bill. He cannot expect me to write his Bill for him. He could have accepted the principle of the new clause and then tabled the necessary amendments. That would have enabled us to get out of the nonsense which he has gone some way to eliminate. However, he will make the anomaly look even worse because of his unwillingness to accept the principle of the clause.

What I was proposing and what he now intends to do will create an enormous incentive for women to work longer, because the whole tables will have to be rewritten and the additional reserve pension which will go to them as a result of deferring their age of retirement two or three years will be considerable. When the Government do that they will be asked why there is not a comparable rate of accrual within the basic pension scheme, and pressure will begin on that front, too.

Although the right hon. Gentleman has come some way, he still leaves an absurd anomaly. Because of that, I hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends will join

me in dividing the House in favour of new Clause 1.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 196, Noes 208.

Division No. 122.] AYES [6.48 p.m.
Abse, Leo Galpern, Sir Myer O'Malley, Brian
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Gourlay, Harry Orbach, Maurice
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Grant, George (Morpeth) Orme, Stanley
Armstrong, Ernest Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Oswald, Thomas
Ashton, Joe Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Palmer, Arthur
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Roylon) Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Pardoe, John
Baxter, William Hardy, Peter Parker, John (Dagenham)
Beaney, Alan Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Bidwell, Sydney Hattersley, Roy Pavitt, Laurie
Bishop, E. S. Heffer, Eric S. Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Blenkinsop, Arthur Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Perry, Ernest G.
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Booth, Albert Hughes, Mark (Durham) Prescott, John
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Probert, Arthur
Bradley, Tom Hunter, Adam Radice, Giles
Broughton, Sir Alfred Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Brown, Robert C. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne,W.) Jenkins. Hugh (Putney) Rhodes, Geoffrey
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) John, Brynmor Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Brown, Ronald(Shoreditch & F'bury) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Roberts, Rt.Hn.Goronwy(Caernarvon)
Buchan, Norman Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow Sp-burn) Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Brc'n&R'dnor)
Camnbell, I (Dunbartonshire, W.) Jones Rt.Hn.SIr Elwyn (W.Ham.S.) Rose, Paul B.
Cant, R. B. Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Carmichael, Neil Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Rowlands, Ted
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Judd, Frank Sandelson, Neville
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Kaufman, Gerald Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lune)
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Kelley, Richard Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Cohen, Stanley Kinnock, Neil Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Concannon, J. D. Lamborn, Harry Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Conlan Bernard Lamond, James Sillars, James
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Lawson, George Silverman, Julius
Crawshaw Richard Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Skinner, Dennis
Cronin, John Leonard, Dick Small, William
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Lestor, Miss Joan Spearing, Nigel
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Lipton, Marcus Spriggs, Leslie
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Lomas, Kenneth Stallard, A. W.
Loughlin, Charles Steel, David
Dalyell, Tam Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Strang, Gavin
Davidson, Arthur Luons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) McBride, Neil Thomas.Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff.W.)
Delargy, Hugh McElhone, Frank Tinn, James
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund McGuire, Michael Tomney, Frank
Doig, Peter Machin, George Tope, Graham
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Mackie, John Torney, Tom
Driberg, Tom Mackintosh, John P. Tuck, Raphael
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Urwin, T.W.
Duffy, A. E. P. McNamara, J. Kevin Varley, Eric G.
Dunn James A. Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Wainwright, Edwin
Dunnett, Jack Marks, Kenneth Wallace, George
Eadie, Alex Marsden, F. Watklns, David
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Marshall, Dr. Edmund Weitzman David
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Wellbeloved, James
Ellis, Tom Meacher, Michael White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
English, Michael Mendelson, John Whitehead, Phillip
Ewing, Harry Mikardo, Ian Whitlock, William
Faulds, Andrew Millan, Bruce Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Molloy, William Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Fitt, Gerard (Belfast, W.) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Wilson, William (Coventry, S)
Fletcher, Raymond (Iikeston) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Woof, Robert
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Moyle, Roland
Foot, Michael Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Ford, Ben Oakes, Gordon Mr. Donald Coleman and
Forrester, John Ogden, Eric Mr. Joseph Harper.
Freeson, Reginald O'Halloran, Michael
Adley, Robert Gryils, Michael Parkinson, Cecil
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Glimmer, J. Selwyn Percival, Ian
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Gurden, Harold Pike, Miss Mervyn
Atkins, Humphrey Hall, John (Wycombe) Pink, R. Bonner
Awdry, Daniel Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Hannam, John (Exeter) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Haselhurst, Alan Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord Hastings, Stephen Proudfoot, Wilfred
Batsford, Brian Havers, Michael Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Bell, Ronald Hayhoe, Barney Raison, Timothy
Benyon, W. Hiley, Joseph Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Berry, Hn. Anthony Holland, Philip Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Biffen, John Holt, Miss Mary Redmond, Robert
Biggs-Davison, John Hordern, Peter Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Blaker, Peter Hornby, Richard Rees-Davies, W. R.
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Hornsby-Smith.Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Body, Richard Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Boscawen, Hn. Robert Howell, David (Guildford) Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Bossom, Sir Clive Hunt, John Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
Bowden, Andrew Hutchison, Michael Clark Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Rost, Peter
Bruce-Gardyne, J. James, David Royle, Anthony
Bryan, Sir Paul Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Russell, Sir Ronald
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M) Jopling, Michael Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Buck, Anthony Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Simeons, Charles
Burden, F.A. Kaberry, Sir Donald Sinclair, Sir George
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Keilett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Skeet, T. H. H.
Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray & Nairn) Kershaw, Anthony Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington
Carlisle, Mark
Carr. Rt. Hn. Robert Kimball, Marcus Soref, Harold
Cary, Sir Robert King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Speed, Keith
Chapman Sydney Kinsey, J. R. Spence, John
Chichester-Clark, R. Knox, David Sproat, lain
Clark William (Surrey E) Lamont, Norman Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Clarke Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Lane, David Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Cockeram Eric Langford-Holt, Sir John Sutcliffe, John
Cooks Robert Le Marchant, Spencer Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Coombs, Derek Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)
Cooper, A. E. Longden, Sir Gilbert Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Cormack, Patrick Loveridge, John Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Costain, A. P. Luce, R. N. Tebbit, Norman
Critchle'y Julian McAdden, Sir Stephen Temple, John M.
Crowder, F. P. MacArthur, lan Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry McLaren, Martin Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj. -Gen Jack Macmillan, Rt.Hn.Maurice (Farnham) Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Dean, Paul McNair-Wilson, Michael Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Tilney, John
Digby, Simon Wingfield Madel, David Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Dixon, Piers Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Drayson, G. B. Mather, Carol van Straubenzee, W. R.
Dykes, Hugh Maude, Angus Waddington, David
Edwards Nicholas (Pembroke) Mawby, Ray Walder, David (Clilheroe)
Eillott, R.W. (N'c'tle-upon-tyne, N.) Meyer, Sir Anthony Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Eyre, Reginald Miscampbell, Norman wall, Patrick
Fell, Anthony Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W) ward, Dame Irene
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Warren, Kenneth
Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Molyneaux, James weatherill, Bernard
Fookes, Miss Janet Monks, Mrs. Connie Wells, John (Maldstone)
Fortescue, Tim Monro, Hector White, Roger (Gravesend)
Foster, Sir John Montgomery, Fergus Wiggin, Jerry
Fowler, Norman More, Jasper Wilkinson, John
Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford& Stone) Morrison, Charles Winterton, Nicholas
Fry, Peter Mudd, David Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Gibson-Watt, David Murton, Oscar Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Glyn, Dr. Alan Nabarro, Sir Gerald Woodnutt, Mark
Goodhew, Victor Neave, Airey Worsley, Marcus
Gower, Raymond Nicholit, Sir Harmar Younger Hn. George
Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally
Gray, Hamish Orr, Capt. L. P. S. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Green, Alan Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Mr. Marcus Fox and
Grieve, Percy Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby) Mr. Paul Hawkins
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Paisley, Rev lan

Question accordingly negatived.

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