§ Mr. Frank Field
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 10 February,Official Report, columns 433–35, if he will publish the calculations of his Department on the number of claimants who lost (a) unemployment benefit, (b) sickness benefit or (c) retirement pension as a result of the changes in the contributory conditions since 1975.
§ Mr. Arbuthnot
Information relating to unemployment benefit and sickness benefit is not yet available. I will let the hon. Member have such information as becomes available as soon as possible.
The information available in relation to retirement pension is as follows.
No existing beneficiary lost entitlement to retirement pension as a result of the changes to the contribution conditions since 1975.
For new beneficiaries, comparisons between notional entitlement under the pre-1975 legislation and actual entitlements are not available.
In general, the 1975 changes made it easier for a person to qualify for retirement pension. The financial and explanatory memorandum to the 1972 Social Security Bill stated that the extra cost of the overall changes to the contribution conditions for benefits was likely to be small.
Similarly, no financial savings were anticipated from the 1978–79 change to the definition of a qualifying year; I refer the hon. Member to the Official Report, 29 April 1975, column 355.742W