HC Deb 21 February 1977 vol 926 cc451-2W
Mr. Hal Miller

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what deductions are made from pensions and benefits in respect of stays in NHS hospitals; when they are made; and how they are calculated.

Mr. Orme

The basic position is that national insurance maintenance benefits—sickness and injury benefits, invalidity pension, retirement pension and widows' pension—are reduced after eight weeks of in-patient treatment—by one-fifth of the pension rate in the case of people with dependants and by two-fifths in the case of people without dependants. After a year in hospital, the in-patient without dependants has his benefit reduced to one-fifth of the pension rate. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of leaflet N19, which provides further details.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if the annual sum saved by reductions in retirement pensions on account of hospital in- patiency could be transferred from the National Insurance Fund to the National Health Service.

Mr. Ennals

No. A transfer of money not spent in one sector to be spent in another sector would increase public expenditure.