HC Deb 15 November 1977 vol 939 c123W
Mr. Newton

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the total number of married women who would be in receipt of the non-contributory invalidity pension from November 1977 if it were disregarded for supplementary benefit purposes.

Mr. Alfred Morris

I regret that I have insufficient information to make an estimate. One aim of the non-contributory invalidity pension (NCIP) is to reduce reliance on means-tested benefits such as supplementary benefit. For people not in employment, this can be done by providing a benefit that does not depend on a means test but which is fully taken into account in assessing eligibility for means-tested benefits. I hope that all married women who are entitled to NCIP will claim it if they have not already done so. The fact that it cannot be disregarded for supplementary benefit purposes should not affect the numbers of beneficiaries of this new benefit.

Mrs. Chalker

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the cost of extending the non-contributory invalidity pension for housewives to women between 60 and 65 years of age whose husbands have not yet retired, and how many women he estimates this provision might affect.

Mr. Alfred Morris

This information could be produced only at disproportionate cost. I should add that the main social security provision for people over pensionable age—60 for women, 65 for men—is retirement pension. Elderly people who became incapable of work before pensionable age and who have a non-existent or poor contribution record may continue to receive non-contributory invalidity pension beyond pension age. We have no plans to change this position.