asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many married women fail to obtain a pension in their own right due to the operation of "half-test" rule; how many of these women have actually paid a full national insurance stamp for more than half of their total working life; and if she will make a statement.
I regret that current figures are not available. However, it has been estimated that, of those insured married women approaching pension age in August 1970, about 38,000, who would otherwise have been entitled to a retirement pension on their own contributions, failed the half-test. Of these, about 5,000 had a yearly average of at least 26 contributions over their insurance life. As my hon. Friend will be aware, the Social Security Pensions Bill which is now before the House provides for the abolition of the half-test.