§ Mr. N. Macpherson
As has been explained to the House on previous occasions, I have no means of telling how many of the people over pensionable age without title to retirement pension had no opportunity of becoming insured either as voluntary contributors under the old scheme or as late-age entrants under the present National Insurance Scheme. There are in all some 700,000 people who for a variety of reasons have not satisfied the contribution conditions for retirement pensions, which are, of course, an essential part of the insurance basis of the scheme. It is estimated that the immediate cost of paying pensions to this group at the standard rates in the National Insurance Bill now before Parliament would be of the order of £115 million a year. I have no proposals to make on this matter.