HC Deb 11 January 1977 vol 923 cc1238-9
6. Mr. van Straubenzee

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many statisticians have been used by his Department to calculate the effect of changes in the earnings rule.

Mr. Orme

None, Sir. Estimates are based on advice from the Government Actuary.

Mr. van Straubenzee

The next time the Secretary of State puts this matter of the earnings rule—which is what this Question is about—to the Government Actuary, will he also put to him a new factor, which is that we now know from Mr. Jack Jones that in this year we have all to work like beavers? Ought not that to apply to those people who have reached retirement age and who are anxious and willing to work hard? Will the right hon. Gentleman seek to remove any rule which inhibits them from doing that?

Mr. Orme

I accept the point that the hon. Gentleman makes. In fact, the adjustment of the earnings rule to £35, which in future will be indexed, gives the majority of people who want to continue working and at the same time obtain a retirement pension the opportunity to be able to do so.

Mrs. Chalker

Will the Minister confirm that rather than there being a reduction in the numbers on deferred retirement from 120,000 to 70,000, the figure of 135,000 now deferring retirement, given in a Written Answer last November, is the correct figure on which we should be working?

Mr. Orme

I know the hon. Lady's fascination for figures, as she has raised this point before. We shall deal with this in more detail on the Bill.