HC Deb 01 March 1978 vol 945 cc256-7W
Mr. Michael Latham

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will set out in tabular form, for each of the countries of the EEC, details of (a) the level of retirement pension, and (b) the level of sickness benefit in each case; whether he will indicate whether or not either benefit is subject to income tax in each country; if so, at what percentage rate or rates; and whether he will express the figures in £ sterling for the purposes of comparison.

Mr. Orme

Standard rates of pension exist in only four member States of the EEC: Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom all persons retired since 1961 who have paid more than a minimum in graduated contributions have accumulated in addition some graduated pension; and in Denmark, in addition to the national pension, a supplementary pension is normally payable based on the number of years of insurance. In the other member States pensions are calculated as a proportion of past earnings over widely

Benefit Denmark Ireland Netherlands United Kingdom
£ £ £ £
Old age/retirement pension (annual rate) 1,651.01 722.80 2,351.89 795.60
Sickness benefit (weekly rate) 12.45 12.90


1. Exchange rates as at 1st July 1977 have been used.

2. 1st July 1977 is the latest date for which comparable information is available. In the United Kingdom at least benefit rates have since increased.

I do not have information as to whether old age pension is taxable in Italy, but I understand it is taxable in all the other member States. Sickness benefit is, I understand, taxable in Denmark and the Netherlands and not taxable in Belgium, France, West Germany, Ireland, Italy and the United Kingdom. I have no information about the position in Luxembourg. The rate of tax applicable will depend on the beneficiary's circumstances, including his other income and his family situation.