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Retirement Pensions

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 22 March 1949

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asked the Minister of National Insurance whether, in view of the fact that in rural districts many people have no desire to retire at the age of 65 or subsequently, and may therefore never be able to draw their pension, he will consider granting them the option of drawing their pension at 10s. a week at the age of 65 irrespective of whether they continue in employment.

Under present arrangements a person over pension age can draw retirement pension at 70–65 for a woman—whether he has retired or not. If he goes on working between 65 and 70–60 and 65 for a woman—he is covered against unemployment and sickness and can earn a larger pension. These arrangements generally make much better provision for insured persons than that suggested by the hon. Member.

Do I understand from the right hon. Gentleman that it is now possible for a man working beyond the age of 65 to draw his pension of 10s. or is he compelled to wait?

No, he does not draw a retirement pension at 65 unless he has retired. If he stays at work he contributes towards the scheme and is covered for unemployment and sickness benefits. He also gets an added pension. When he reaches 70 a retirement pension is paid to him whether he retires or not.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this reluctance to retire is not confined to rural areas?

Is not the Minister under a contractual obligation to pay a man a pension at 65, and ought not a man to have the right to do what he likes after that age?

If we were to regard it from the purely contractual standpoint, then a man would be paid 10s. a week which is the full amount of the contract. In October, 1946, we made pensions of 26s. and 42s. available for people who previously had only earned 10s.