HC Deb 06 November 1995 vol 265 c586
8. Mr. Jessel

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would be the cost of reducing the age of basic state pension to 60 years. [39691]

Mr. Heald

The annual cost in today's money of reducing state pension age to 60 would be £13.4 billion in 2030.

Mr. Jessel

As £13.4 billion would be equal to nearly 10p in the pound in income tax, would not Labour's proposals amount to an enormous burden on future generations? Why will Labour not come clean about that?

Mr. Heald

My hon. Friend makes an important point. The Commission on Social Justice suggested equalising the state pension age at 65; the Opposition Front Bench then suggested 63; the Labour party conference then suggested 60, at a cost of £13.4 billion. Now that the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Smith) has been given a blank cheque to go out and change all the Opposition's policies, perhaps a state pension age of 56 will be suggested next.

Mr. MacShane

Does the Minister agree with his colleague the Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, who believes that Members of Parliament should retire at 60, and would he care to name those Ministers who would leave the Government this afternoon?

Mr. Heald

As a young Minister I certainly have no intention of retiring. I think that the hon. Gentleman was pushing his luck.

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