§ Mr. Barry Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many married women between the ages of(a) 60 to 65 years, (b) 65 to 75 years and (c) 75 to 85 years do not qualify for a retirement pension or occupational pension;
(2) how many married men between the ages of (a) 60 to 65 years, (b) 65 to 75 years and (c) 75 to 85 years are receiving a retirement pension or an occupational pension;
(3) how many married couples over 65 years are dependent on the husband's retirement or occupational pension.
§ Mr. Hague
The information is not available. Neither the retirement pension statistics nor the family expenditure survey—upon which the pensioner income series is based—provide reliable information on both the state retirement pension and the occupational pension received by members of married couples.
§ Mr. Frank Field
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the cost of raising the basic state retirement pension to a level at which income support and housing benefit would cease to be payable to pensioners; and by how much the standard rate of income tax would have to be raised to raise the same sum.
§ Mr. Hague
The additional cost of increasing the basic retirement pension to the higher pensioner rate of income support would be £3.4 billion. This represents a full-year extra cost in 1993–94 net of savings made by the consequent reduction in spending on income related benefits.
The basic rate of income tax would have to be increased by 8p to raise this amount.
It is not possible to estimate a level of retirement pension at which all pensioners cease to be eligible for housing benefit as entitlement depends on the level or rent paid, and rents vary widely. As an illustration of the cost involved I estimate that it would cost £11.2 billion net in 1993–94 to increase retirement pensions to a level vihere income support and housing benefit entitlement would cease for pensioners paying the average local authority weekly rent paid by pensioners in receipt of housing benefit—£26.64 in May 1991, the latest available figures.