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Old-Age Pensions

Volume 387: debated on Thursday 18 March 1943

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost to the Treasury if the present basic rate of 10s. a week was increased to £1 a week to all old-age pensioners who are in receipt of pension and not in employment?

The annual cost to the taxpayer of raising the rate of old-age pension to £1 a week to persons now pensioned who are not in employment is estimated at £40,000,000. This estimate is based on the following assumptions:

  • (a) that the rate of contribution under the contributory pensions scheme would not be raised;
  • (b) that the increase would apply to widow pensioners of 60 and over but not to younger widows;
  • (c) that no increase would be given to those who are receiving 10s. a week or upwards by way of supplementary pension, and that, in the case of those who are receiving supplementary pensions of less than 10s., the increase would be the difference between 10s. and the amount of the supplementary pension;
  • (d) that persons working on their own account would receive the same treatment as persons in employment; and
  • (e) that the wives of persons excluded as being in employment or other gainful occupation would also be regarded as ineligible for the increase.
  • The estimate is somewhat speculative owing to lack of information as to the numbers of pensioners in work. The cost would increase in later years owing to (1) the growth of the population of pension age and (2) the return to retirement of those who re-entered industry for the war only.