§ Mr. David Howell
asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will publish estimates of the share of public sector pensions in GNP or GDP since 1948; and what are his estimates for the share in the years 1976 to 1980.
§ Mr. Charles R. Morris
I can only answer for those public service schemes for which I have responsibility. The total cost of the benefits paid by these schemes after taking into account direct or indirect contributions from salary, for each of the years requested, could only be calculated at disproportionate cost.173W
However, for the year 1948–49 the cost of public service pensions represented about 0.5 per cent. of the GNP and, as I said in my answer to the hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton) on 5th August—[Vol. 916, c. 923–4]—in 1970–71 and in 1975–76 this cost again represented about 0.5 per cent. of the GNP.
The share of GNP taken up by public sector pensions up to 1980 will depend on many factors, including the level of public sector pay, the growth of GNP in money terms and the number of surviving pensioners. Whilst, therefore, it is not possible to prognosticate up to 1980, there is no present reason to assume that the rates will change markedly over that period.