HC Deb 26 November 1946 vol 430 cc277-8W
151. Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of National Insurance if he is aware that many old-age pensioners who are married women insured in their own right, have been sent books for 16s. pensions under the new scale instead of the 26s. pension to which they are entitled; that many of them have returned their books and have since heard nothing further; and, as this is causing hardship, if he will take steps to have these cases rectified and to see that this mistake does not occur in future.

Mr. J. Griffiths

I am aware that some married women with pensions awarded on their husbands' insurance during the period when the standard rate for all old age pensions was 10s. now claim that these pensions should have been awarded on their own insurance and that they are accordingly now entitled to retirement pension at the 26s. rate instead of the 16s. rate provided for other married women pensioners. Hitherto, when a married woman reaching age 60 had a clear title to an Old Age Pension because her husband's title had already been established, it was unnecessary to in- vestigate any possible alternative title on her own insurance. These claims now involve reference to approved society and other records of insurance which may have terminated several years ago, and their investigation will therefore take time. Meanwhile, such pensioners should continue to draw pension on the Order Books issued to them at the 16s. rate. So far as I know, very few pensioners in this position have sent back their books. Where they have done so by mistake the books are being returned promptly.

Mr. J. L. Williams

asked the Minister of National Insurance if he is aware that, among many of those who qualify for retirement pensions, much uncertainty exists with regard to their future position as small income-earners, both in respect of eligibility for regular part-time employment and of stamping of contribution cards; and if he will take steps to make the position as widely known as possible.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Information on these points is included in the special leaflets issued by my Department which are available at Post Offices and which have been widely distributed. I am sending copies to my hon. Friend. The present position in brief is that if after retirement a man under 70 or a woman under 65 earns more than 20s. in any week the pension for the following week will be reduced by is. for each complete 1s. earned in excess of 20s., but in no case will the pension he reduced below the old rate, normally 10s. No insurance contributions are payable by old age pensioners but if they are in employment their employers must pay the employers' share of the usual contributions in respect of them. If a pensioner is in any doubt about his position the local officers of the Assistance Board acting as my agents will be happy to give all possible guidance. There will be certain changes affecting contributory pensions when the new scheme comes into full operation, and steps will be taken at the proper time to give publicity to these changes through all available channels.