HC Deb 16 July 1997 vol 298 cc196-8W
Mr. Nigel Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proportion of women aged 60 years in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available have ceased working and started to draw their state pension. [3847]

Mr. Denham

We will retain the Basic State Pension as the foundation of pension provision, increasing it at least in line with prices and we will review the central areas of insecurity for older people.

Information on women who were working prior to drawing their State Pension at State Pension Age and who then stopped working, is only available for those who were employed earners paying Class 1 National Insurance contributions (NICs) during the tax year in which they reached 60. This information, which excludes women who were self-employed or earning less than the lower earnings limit for paying NI contributions (currently £62.00), is used to derive the proportions provided in the table.

Proportion of women aged 60 who have been awarded Retirement Pension and have paid Class 1 NICs in the tax year of their 60th birthday prior to that date, and whose employers have not subsequently paid any Category C NI contributions in respect of them during the remainder of that same year
Year (per cent.)
1994–95 9
1993–94 9
1992–93 8
1991–92 8
1990–91 7
1989–90 8
1988–89 7
1987–88 8
1986–87 7
1985–86 8

1. The figures are for Great Britain and are derived from the 1 per cent. sample of National Insurance Records analysed using the February 1996 version of the Lifetime Labour Market Database.

2. Category C contributions are paid by employers and are recorded on the P14 End of Year Return when an employee has no liability due to reaching State Pension Age. They may also be paid where people have multiple employments and earnings are expected to exceed the Upper Earnings Limit for National Insurance, thus avoiding a rebate of contributions. It has been assumed that for all women in the tax year of their 60th birthday, Class C contributions arise after that birthday and therefore signal that the woman has not retired reaching State Pension Age.

3. The percentages in the table are of the estimated resident population for each year supplied by the Population Estimates Unit, OPCS.

Mr. Nigel Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate she has made of the cost per year of additional(a) income support, (b) housing benefit and (c) council tax relief if the pension age of women were raised to 65 years. [3846]

Benefit Rate at introduction Date of introduction Current rate Value if increased in line with benefit since date introduced
Income support £5 April 1988 £5 £7.35
£10 October 1996 £10 £10.25
£15 April 1988 £15 £22.05
Income-based jobseeker's allowance £5 October 1996 £5 £5.15
£10 October 1996 £10 £10.25
£15 October 1996 £15 £15.40

Mr. Bradley

The policies of the previous administration have created real poverty, growing inequality and widespread insecurity for pensioners. We believe that all pensioners should share fairly in the increasing prosperity of the nation.

The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is in the table.

Year Income related benefit costs £ million
2025 500
2035 300

1. Costs are estimated using the approach discussed in Appendix 1 of the discussion document Options for Equality in State Pension Age CM 1723, adjusted to 1994–95 price levels and a phasing profile beginning in 2010 taking two years to achieve each single year of State Pension Age change.

2. As in the discussion document Options for Equality in State Pension Age Cm1723, estimates are provided for 2025, when the financial effects are likely to be at their maximum, and 2035 when the estimates should provide a reasonable representative indicator of the scale of the effects up to 2050.

3. Estimates are subject to considerable uncertainty and are rounded to the nearest £100 million. They should be interpreted as broad indicators rather than precise estimates.