HC Deb 16 April 1985 vol 77 c132
13. Mr. Winnick

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he intends to bring forward any proposals regarding the future of the state earnings-related pension scheme.

Mr. Newton

Financial provision for retirement, including all aspects of the state pension scheme, is being considered as part of the current social security review. Any proposals for change arising out of the review will be published as soon as possible.

Mr. Winnick

Is the Minister aware that if there were any change in the scheme it would cause tremendous disapointment and shock for literally millions of people who depend on the state pension scheme in order not to live in poverty? Why does the hon. Gentleman not now take the opportunity to confirm that the scheme will remain in existence?

Mr. Newton

The Government's concern is to make sure that there is proper financial provision for people in their retirement, with the aim of ensuring that fewer than in the past have to depend on means-tested benefits. That is our strategic aim. It is with that in mind that we shall draw up our policies.

Mrs. Beckett

Will the Minister confirm that any proposals either to abolish or to weaken the state earnings-related pension scheme will go completely contrary to the assurances given by the Prime Minister during the last election campaign and by his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State when the reviews were set up?

Mr. Newton

Both my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State have made plain time and again this Government's commitment to looking after the interests of retired people. That is our strategic aim, and that is what we shall seek to maintain in the review.