§ Mr. Maurice Macmillan
asked the Sectary of State for Social Services (1) what estimate he has made of the cost of paying the current retirement pension to persons who, by reason of their age, are not at present eligible for the payment of pensions under the National Insurance Act, 1965; and what estimate he has made of the consequential saving in supplementary benefit;
(2) how many persons are not eligible for pensions under the National Insurance Act, 1965, because they could not have been insured or treated as insured under it, due to their age when it came into force, or are, wives or widows of persons 355W who did not themselves become insured under it, or are widows who were over pensionable age when it came into operation; and what is the average age of such persons.
§ Mr. Swingler
It is estimated that the number of people in these groups is of the order of 125,000 and their average age is thought to be about 86. The immediate annual cost of a new right to pension equivalent to the present standard rates of retirement pension for the particular groups would be £30 million with a saving of £12.5 million in supplementary benefits, though account should also be taken of consequential changes it would in all fairness be hard to refuse.