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Unemployable Persons (Earnings)

Volume 446: debated on Tuesday 27 January 1948

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34.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether, having regard to the increased cost of living, he will now increase the permitted limit of private earnings from £1 to £2 for pensioners who are receiving the unemployability supplement.

The war pension provision under which a pensioner may earn up to 20s. a week, and nevertheless be regarded as unemployable, is the same as that laid down in similar and comparable circumstances under other social legislation. The existing arrangements do not seem to be unreasonable.

Is it not a fact that the war disabled are in a slightly different position, and that prices have gone up since this particular level was fixed in their case?

I have looked into this and find that when a man begins to earn over £1 a week it is usually a very substantial jump, and he earns almost full wages. There is really not much in it. The question is the first £1 where a small casual job is done.

In view of the ease with which this £1 limit can be and is being exceeded by casual labour, if the right hon. Gentleman has authority will not he increase the amount to £2, so that these men may keep within the law while at the same time improving their standards of living?

As I say, I have looked into it, and it has other repercussions. I do not see any great hardship, because when I looked into it very closely the curious thing was that once a man went over £1 the jump became very marked.