§ Mr. Thomas Cox
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the cost of removing completely the earnings rule as it now applies to retired people.
§ Mr. Prentice
The latest available estimates are those set out in the report on the earnings rule for retirement pensioners and others which was presented to Parliament by my predecessor in October last year. It was then estimated that, for the 12 months from November 1978 to November 1979, the cost to central government funds of abolishing the earnings rule for retirement pensioners, and the retirement condition, lay between £64 million and £124 million, depending on the number of people who continue to forgo their pension in order to earn increments to it. We shall, however, be considering the assumptions on which those estimates were based.