HC Deb 08 June 1992 vol 209 cc10-1
10. Mrs. Angela Knight

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proportion of pensioners are owner-occupiers and have paid off their mortgage.

Miss Widdecombe

I am pleased to tell my hon. Friend that nearly half of all pensioners own their own homes. Ninety-four per cent. of home-owning pensioners have no outstanding mortgage at all.

Mrs. Knight

Will my hon. Friend confirm that nearly all pensioners who own their homes have no mortgages, and therefore possess a valuable asset which gives them extra security in their old age? Would she care to compare provision in this country with that in the rest of Europe? Most British pensioners receive a flat rate, regardless of income, whereas in other European countries low earnings ultimately mean much lower pensions.

Miss Widdecombe

I congratulate my hon. Friend on her question and can indeed confirm that 94 per cent. of pensioners who own their homes have no mortgage. My hon. Friend raises a very important point with regard to the rest of Europe. Despite what is often said by Opposition Members about how good European pensions are, the fact remains that in France and Germany the pension is earnings related, so somebody who has been a low earner will get a low pension. Perhaps even more important, we alone give a woman a pension in her own right.