§ Mr. Ralph Howell
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish a table showing the standard rate of retirement pension for a married couple as a percentage of average male manual earnings, both gross and net of income tax and national contributions, in each year since 1979, and at the latest date for which figures are available.
§ Dr. Boyson
The information is as follows:
November each year 1979 1980 1981 1982 *1983 Retirement Pension for married couple expressed as a percentage of: Gross earnings of male manual workers 36.0 36.4 36.2 38.0 36'7 Net average income of male manual workers after deducting tax and national insurance contributions 48.4 49.4 50.5 53.1 51.0 * Amended provisional figures.
§ Mr. Waller
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the savings in (a) administrative costs and (b) interests on delayed payments, brought about by paying some 150,000 beneficiaries of small retirement pensions annually in arrears.
§ Dr. Boyson
The arrangements to pay small payments of pensions annually resulted from a Rayner recommendation with estimated savings of administrative costs of about £100,000 a year. The change was made in December 1983 and the first annual payments will be made in December 1984, so it is too early to quote specific savings but I am satisfied that they will be at least of the order estimated. The consequence for public expenditure of making payments later in the year would be of the same order.