§ Mr. Ward
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he proposes to make regulations governing the pension rights of people with home responsibilities; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Orme
Regulations for this purpose under the Social Security Pensions Act 1975 will be laid before the House before the Summer Recess. It is intended that they will prescribe as a year of home responsibility any complete tax year in which a contributor is receiving child benefit for a child under the age of 16, is looking after a relative receiving attendance allowance or constant attendance allowance, or is receiving supplementary benefit to enable him or her to stay at home to look after an incapacitated or elderly relative. Any wider definition of home responsibility has, for the time being, to be ruled out on grounds of administrative cost.
When it comes to calculating the basic pension, years of home responsibility will be deducted from the number in which a contributor must pay contributions, or have them credited, in order to secure pension at the full rate. However, it will not be possible to derive a full pension from a smaller number of years of contributions than the minimum laid down in the Act, nor will the regulations apply to women who are maintaining a current option to pay reduced-rate contributions. Where a person has some record or contributions or credits in a year which can also be reckoned as a year of home responsibility, the regulations will allow that year to count for pension purposes in whichever way is more favourable.