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National Pensioners Convention (Proposals)

Volume 22: debated on Monday 26 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has completed his examination of the declaration of intent of the National Pensioners Convention; and what estimate he has made of the net cost of these proposals.

I have already made it clear to the National Pensioners Convention that implementation of the declaration of intent is ruled out by the very heavy costs involved. It is not feasible to put a specific cost on some of the proposals of the declaration; however, the overall public expenditure cost of full implementation is estimated to be of the order of £15 billion-£20 billion a year. The order of magnitude of the individual proposals are set out as follows:

Cost of implementing the declaration of intent
Proposal and commentAnnual Cost £ million
1. Pension of >½ and ⅓ gross average earnings for couple and single person respectively
Cost also includes other linked long-term benefits*11,500
2. Six monthly up-rating

Proposal and comment

Annual Cost

£ million

Each 1 per cent, increase in pension and other long- term benefits brought forward to May would cost £80 million in 1982–83; say 5 per cent.


3. Adequate heating allowance covering all fuel
Examples (a) abolition of gas and electricity standing


charges for pensioners; (b) extending
supplementary benefit lower rate of heatingor
addition to all pensioners households (minimum estimate)


4. Index linked Christmas bonus of £20
Each additional £1 on the bonus costs £10 million


5. Reducing pension age to 60 and abolition of earnings rule
Cost of lowering male pension age rises in longer


terms with new pension scheme and lower levels


of unemployment. Estimate on earnings rule in(at 1980
respect of present pension age.prices)
6. Adequate death grant for everyone
Estimate for restoring death grant to original value, in respect of all deaths. (£190)


7. Free health care on demand
8. Availability of community and personal social services
9. Appropriate accommodation including choice
10. National scheme of travel concessions
Estimate is the minimum100
11. Access to education and leisure facilities
Total (Absolute minimum)15,000

* These figures all relate to additional benefit costs which would increase public expenditure by the amounts shown.

** These figures relate to the net cost to the Exchequer after allowing for the higher benefit costs and taking account of the effects on income tax and national insurance contributions.