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Retirement Pensions

Volume 13: debated on Friday 27 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many persons were in receipt of retirement pensions at the most recent date for which figures are available; what were the comparable totals in each of the previous 10 years; and what estimate he has made of the likely number in five and 10 years' time.

At November 1980, there were 8,970,000 retirement pensions in payment, including 240,000 payable to pensioners living overseas and 52,000 pensioners receiving non-contributory retirement pensions, but excluding payments of graduated pension only. For comparable figures for the previous 10 years I refer my hon. Friend to tables 13.30 and 13.31 of "Social Security Statistics", copies of which are in the Library. It is estimated that in 1986–87 there will be some 9·3 million persons in receipt of retirement pensions; a similar estimate for 1991–92 is not currently available, but I understand will be included in the quinquennial review of the Government Actuary, to be published shortly.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much is being paid in pensions to retirement pensioners in the current year; what were the comparable totals in each of the past 10 years; and if he considers that the sums involved will increase in real terms in five and 10 years' time.

It is estimated that the cost of retirement pensions will be £12·1 billion in the year ending March 1982; and in the year ending March 1981 it was £10·5 billion, which included £44·01 million for noncontributory retirement pensions. In the year ending March 1980 the costs were £8·8 billion and £35·6 million respectively.For comparable figures for previous years I refer my hon. Friend to tables 44.1 and 44.04 in "Social Security Statistics". On the basis of current and planned provision for retirement pensions, it is expected that the cost will increase in real terms in both five and 10 years' time because there will be more pensioners and because of the maturing of the earnings-related additional pension.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the current basic rates of retirement pension for single persons and married couples, respectively; and what these rates would be if uprated in line with the actual rate of inflation experienced.

The current rates are £29·60 a week for a single pensioner and £47·35 a week for a married couple. The retail price index figure for November is not yet available so it is not yet possible to calculate what the rates might have been if uprated from some earlier base date in line with the actual rate of inflation. But if rates had increased from November 1978 to reflect the 50 per cent. increase in previous prices over the period to October 1981, the latest month for which retail price index figures are available, the current standard basic pension rates would have been £29·25 for a single person; and £46·80 for a married couple.