HC Deb 05 February 1976 vol 904 cc1404-5
13. Mr. Molloy

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will seek to exempt from tax part-time earnings by retirement pensioners.

Mr. Robert Sheldon

The age allowance already provides a measure of tax exemption for pensioners over the age of 65 who supplement their State retirement pension with small earnings. I do do not think it would be fair to other taxpayers to go further in the direction which my hon. Friend suggests.

Mr. Molloy

Is my hon. Friend aware that those who now receive old-age pensions stood by the nation in strenuous and difficult times and gave no thought to emigrating because they were not making enough money? Is it not now time for their earnings to be uplifted? If he cannot end the rule completely, will he raise its ceiling so that we can give as much consideration to pensioners as we do to inefficient capitalist entrepreneurs?

Mr. Sheldon

I share my hon. Friend's concern for retirement pensioners and I appreciate their contribution to the nation. It is fully recognised by the fact that elderly people have a considerably higher tax starting point then do young people—almost 50 per cent. higher in the case of married old-age pensioners and more than 40 per cent. higher for single persons. This takes account of their special needs, which will always be in the forefront of our minds.

Mr. Ridsdale

Is the Minister aware that one of my constituents aged 70, a serving servant of this House, received in overtime £40 gross two weeks ago but earned in total a net sum of £10? Is that not an absurd situation and will he examine it?

Mr. Sheldon

There must be a number of special factors relating to a tax bill of that kind. It does not appear to be consistent with the income such a person would expect to have. If there are any problems which the hon. Gentleman would like me to examine in regard to that constituent or anybody else, I shall be happy to do so.