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Pensions

Volume 894: debated on Monday 23 June 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services on what date the new rates of pensions to be introduced by the Government in November 1975 will fall below the real value of the existing rates at a 35 per cent. increase in prices per annum.

An inflation rate of 35 per cent. a year is an unacceptable assumption for practical purposes, but on this wholly hypothetical basis the single pension rate of £13·30 which it is proposed to introduce in November 1975 would, in that month, fall below the value which the present single pension of £11·60 had in May 1975, the latest month for which figures are available.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services at what date the new rates of pensions introduced in the April 1975 uprating would fall below the real value of the old rates at a 35 per cent. per annum increase in prices.

An inflation rate of 35 per cent, a year is an unacceptable assumption for practical purposes but, on this wholly hypothetical basis, the single pension rate of £11·60 introduced in April 1975 would fall below the single pension rate of £10 in payment immediately prior to that date by September 1975.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the increases in earnings and prices taken into account in the latest uprating of pensions and benefits expressed as annual rates; and what the appropriate new rates of retirement pension, invalidity pension, widow's pension and short-term benefits for sickness and unemployment would have been if an annual rate of 35 per cent. for earnings and prices had been used in the assessment of these rates.

The increases in earnings and prices over the seven-month period taken into account in the uprating proposed for November 1975 would be 26·8 per cent. and 23·7 per cent., respectively, expressed as annual rates. If earnings and prices had increased over the relevant period at the wholly hypothetical annual rate of 35 per cent.—which is an unacceptable assumption for practical purposes—the proposed new rates of retirement, invalidity and widow's pensions would have been £13·80 for single persons and £22 for married couples; the rates for unemployment and sickness benefits would have been £11·70 for single persons and £19 for married couples.