HC Deb 02 May 1984 vol 59 c497
Mrs. Beckett

I beg to move amendment No. 27, in page 14, line 19, leave out paragraph (a).

This is designed to allow all women to receive an increase in retirement pension for a dependent husband. Under the clause, women who have previously been in receipt of unemployment or sickness benefit, invalidity pension and so on will be entitled to receive such an increase, but others will not. The clause as drafted will cause anomalies, even if only a few, and a more sensible, equitable and even interpretation of the clause would be to remove paragraph (a).

Dr. Boyson

Whenever one makes a concession, one receives demands a few months later for further concessions to be made. That is not an argument against making concessions, but one must be ready for the pressure that will come three or six months later for more to be done.

In November, for the first time, women who previously received money for their husbands, who were getting sickness or other disability benefits on their own contributions—if they had an addition of between £16 and £19.55 — lost the lot once they came on to retirement. At that time we said that if they were receiving an addition before being in receipt of a retirement pension, they should continue to get the £16 or £19.55 and would, therefore, be better off.

I appreciate why the hon. Lady moved the amendment. However, to accept it would increase the cost 30 times over, and we could not afford that; the difference would be between £0.5 million and £15 million, I must, therefore, resist the amendment. What we did in November at least ensured that nobody was worse off on retirement. I have no doubt that at some time in the future the matters which the hon. Lady has in mind will be discussed.

Mrs. Beckett

In view of the Minister's remarks, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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