HC Deb 05 August 1975 vol 897 cc210-1
5. Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what further recent representation she has received about introducing a pension for disabled housewives ahead of 1977.

Mr. Meacher

A substantial number of representations have been received recently including, in particular, representations initiated by the National Federation of Women's Institutes. The replies have pointed out that the introduction of the housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension has to be phased in as part of our heavy overall programme of benefit improvements.

Mr. McNair-Wilson

Will the Minister say what he means by "has to be phased in"? If some people can receive pension from 1st January 1976, why cannot all invalid housewives who can neither work nor undertake housework in their own homes receive similar pensions? Will he give a more satisfactory answer?

Mr. Meacher

No, Sir. Housewives are being phased into non-contributory invalidity pension after men and single women breadwiners. The criterion is incapacity for work. In the case of housewives there is an additional criterion of incapacity for housework. I assure the hon. Gentleman that the making of dividing lines as to who is or is not incapable of undertaking housework is a difficult test to devise in a way which can be seen to be both efficient and fair.