asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the net extra cost, over and above the £50 per week concessions accepted by the House, of abolishing the earnings rule in 1977–78.
On the assumption that abolition of the earnings rule would also involve abolition of the retirement condition, it is estimated that, at the rates of benefit due to come into force next month, the cost to the National Insurance Fund of abolishing the earnigs rule for retirement pensions and for adult dependency benefit with invalidity pension and retirement pension would be about £225 million a year. It is estimated that the cost of raising the earnings limit for those benefits to £50 per week would be about £145 million a year. Thus the answer to the hon. Member's Question is, about £80 million a year.