§ Mr. Blaker
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance (1) what would be the estimated annual cost to the Exchequer over each of the next five years of paying to persons over retirement age who had no opportunity of taking part in the present National Insurance Scheme, a pension equal to that part of the retirement pensions to be paid from 29th March next which does not represent contributions previously paid by recipients, or their employers in respect of them;345W
(2) approximately what proportion of the retirement pensions to be paid after 29th March, 1965, will represent contributions previously paid by the recipients and their employers in respect of them.
§ Mr. Pentland
I am afraid that no such estimates are possible. How much pensioners or their employers can have paid in contributions depends, among other things, on when they first became entitled to pension. It is not possible to strike an average from the records now available, nor to attribute a specific portion of current retirement pensions (or those to be paid from 29th March) to past contributions except in the sense that in each case the whole pension is conditional upon the necessary contributions having been paid over the years up to pension age. In common with other National Insurance benefits, retirement pensions are financed from the current income of the National Insurance Fund under the pay-as-you-go system—contributions being set at such a level as to enable the income of the National Insurance Scheme as a whole to match its expenditure taking one year with another.