asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it is his intention to bring the computation of income derived from capital in the case of persons claiming a non-contributory old age pension into line with the proposals relating to supplementary pensions in Clause I of the Pensions and Determination of Needs Bill now before Parliament?
Under the Pensions and Determination of Needs Bill the national income assumed to be derived from capital up to £400 would be substantially the same under both the Supplementary Pensions Scheme and the Non-contributory Old Age Pensions Scheme; beyond this point in the case of Supplementary Pensions capital is regarded as available to meet the applicant's needs. There are, however, respects in which the noncontributory pensioner in possession of capital has advantages over the supplementary pensioner, and assimilation of the two systems would clearly not be of benefit to the non-contributory pensioner.
Could the right hon. Gentleman explain whether what he is referring to concerns the calculation for the purpose of assessing whether the individual is entitled to a pension under the non-contributory scheme apart from the supplementary pension?
The matter I had in mind which made it clearly not of benefit to the non-contributory pensioner was the absence of the £400 limit which I have referred to in my answer and the special deduction from means not derived from earnings.
Does the right hon. Gentleman not think it is a little unfair that when a person hopes to get a pension he has first to submit to a calculation based on one set of figures, and that if he gets his pension and then has to apply for supplementary pension, his capital should be taken on an entirely different set of 'considerations?
Yes, Sir, that may be so, but it is to the advantage of the noncontributory pensioner. We shall have an opportunity when the Clause in the Bill comes before us to deal with the matter a little more fully.
Are the Government really going to proceed with the Bill, in view of the large number of abstentions and votes against it?
I thought my hon. Friend was a democrat and believed in majority rule.