HC Deb 22 June 1953 vol 516 cc105-7W
73. Mr. Awbery

asked the Minister of National Insurance if, where a pensioner has to work to maintain either a disabled husband or wife, he will take steps to see that £3 instead of £2 is made the sum which may be disregarded before operating the wages deduction clause.

Mr. Peake

No. The earnings limit for retirement pensions which only affects people below the age of 70 (65 in the case of a woman) is intended as a measure of what can be earned consistently with retirement, and it would not be appropriate to vary it according to the circumstances of individuals.

79. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Minister of National Insurance by what amounts the present weekly rates of contribution to the National Insurance Fund would need to be increased to meet the cost of increasing retirement pensions for single persons to 40s. and 50s. with proportionate increases for married couples at the present time and in five, 10, 15, 20, and 25 years, respectively.

Mr. Peake

The estimated additional annual cost of raising the rate of retirement pension to 40s. or 50s. a week, with proportionate increases for married couples, would be:

£ millions
Now 1957–58 1967–68 1977–78
For 40s. rate 80 85 115 140
For 50s. rate 180 195 270 325

If the whole of this were to be borne, as it arose, by insured persons and employers, it would be necessary to raise the weekly contributions by the following amounts (one-half being payable by the employer, if any):

Now 1957–58 1967–68 1977–78
s. d. s. d. s. d. s. d.
For 40s. rate 1 6 1 8 2 2 2 8
For 50s. rate 3 5 3 10 5 1 6 3

Under the existing scheme contributions are assessed actuarially at rates sufficient to meet the full cost of benefit only if paid from age 16, and leave a growing deficit, due to the granting of full pension rights to other persons who have not paid the requisite contributions, to be met by the Exchequer. On this basis the following additions would be required for the employed man, one-half being payable by the employer. There would be corresponding additions for other classes of insured persons.

For 40s. pension rate For 50s. pension rate
Additional weekly Contribution Additional Exchequer charge* Additional weekly Contribution Additional Exchequer charge *
s. d. £ millions s. d. £ millions
Now 1 0 25 2 4 60
1957–58 35 80
1967–68 65 150
1977–78 90 210
* Includes Exchequer Supplements to additional contributions.

These calculations take no account of consequential increases in other benefit rates.

87. Mr. Alport

asked the Minister of National Insurance whether he will consider amending the existing National Insurance Regulations so that the casual seasonal earnings of an old-age pensioner will be computed on a monthly and not on a weekly basis.

Mr. Peake

No. Any such change would require legislation and I am not satisfied that it would be practicable to depart from the weekly basis of earnings adjustment provided by the 1946 Act.