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Volume 933: debated on Monday 13 June 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of the pensions increase announced on 25th May 1977 is expected to be covered by contributions paid by those already retired.

None, other than by a very small amount of Class 4 contributions still due from retired people on profits or gains made in their last year of income-tax assessment. Retired people are not liable for Class 1 or Class 2 contributions, even when they have occasional earnings; and from April 1978 no one over minimum pension age will have to pay contributions of any class, whether or not he has retired.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the original amount of the non-contributory retirement pension for those over 80 years; what is the current amount and what is the present equivalent of the original amount in terms of purchasing power.

Non-contributory old person's pensions were first introduced in November 1970, the rates being £1·85 a week for married women and £3 for any other person. The present rates are £5·60 and £9·20 respectively. Since September 1971, all pensioners over 80 have also received an age addition of 25p.On the basis of the movement in the general index of retail prices between November 1970 and April 1977, the latest date for which a figure is available, the present equivalents of the original rates of £1·85 and £3 are £4·44 and £7·20. respectively.