§ 6. Mr. Gwilym Roberts
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many representations he has received in 1976 in connection with respective pensionable ages of men and women.
§ The Minister of State, Department of Health and Social Security (Mr. Stanley Orme)
All the representations received by the Department of Health and Social Security have taken the form of letters. Records are not kept of the total number concerned with each specific subject, but in the first quarter of this year 163 173 letters about pension age received personal replies from Ministers at the Department.
§ Mr. Roberts
My right hon. Friend will remember that a target date was set for equal pay for women. Will he give a 10-year target date for reducing the pensionable age of men to 60? Will he put forward proposals for reducing the pensionable age of men year by year until that target is reached? Does my right hon. Friend accept that it is deplorable, now that we haxe sex equality, that we are not prepared to move—[HON. MEMBERS: "Too long."]—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. May I appeal to the House? As the House will have noticed, in the past two sitting weeks I have deliberately allowed hon. Members to go on longer with their supplementary questions. But supplementary questions are getting longer and longer and that is unfair to other hon. Members who have Questions on the Order Paper.
§ Mrs. Knight
Will the Minister take an early opportunity to explain to the country precisely why the Government cannot regularise the retirement age, in view of the expectations aroused by the principles and the passage of the Sex Discrimination Act?
§ Mrs. Bain
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the bad feeling that exists among pensioners about the differential 174 levels of pension paid to men and women in view of the Equal Pay Act and the Sex Discrimination Act? Will he give an early commitment to eradicate this differential?
§ Mr. Greville Janner
In estimating the net cost of bringing down the pension age for men to the present pension age for women, has my right hon. Friend taken into account that about 750,000 jobs would be left free to be taken up by people who are today employed, who are ready, anxious and willing to get work, and who would not then receive unemployment or social security benefit for their families?
§ Mr. McCrindle
In the interest of true sex equality but keeping an eye on public expenditure should not the Government he reducing the retirement age of men to 64½ while raising that of women to 60½ and working gradually in six-monthly periods so that eventually every one retires at 62½? What possible objections could the women of this country have to that suggestion?