§ Mr. Nicholls
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, with a view to encouraging early retirement, he will amend the earnings rule so that those men who are over 60 years of age and who have accepted the higher rate of supplementary benefits by having permanently retired, have the same earnings limit as those who are over 65 years and have retired.
§ Dr. Boyson
Under the supplementary benefit scheme, the amount of earnings—normally £4 a week—which is disregarded and does not therefore affect a claimant's benefit entitlement is the same whether or not he is over 65. My hon. Friend may have in mind the earnings limit of £57 a week—£65 a week from November—which applies for retirement pension purposes. But a disregard at that level would not be appropriate in a means-tested scheme of last resort.