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Pensions

Volume 114: debated on Tuesday 7 April 1987

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29.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he next expects to raise the level of pensions for women over the age of 60 years and men over the age of 65 years.

The level of state retirement pensions was last increased from 6 April of this year. The next increase will take effect in April 1988.

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list for the year 1979 and for the most recent year for which figures are available the number of those receiving a pension by reason of age together with the single and married rates of pension payable.

I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to him on 3 November 1986 at columns 355–57. The numbers of people in receipt of retirement and supplementary pensions on the dates for which information is available and which are the most relevant for the years specified are as follows:

Numbers

Retirement Pension1

November 1978:8,775,480
September 1986:

29,853,540

Supplementary Pension only

December 1978:107,000
February 1986:

294,500

The weekly rates of benefit applicable from 6 April 1987 are as follows:

£ per week

Basic retirement pension (full-rate)

Single39·50
Married couple63·25

Non-contributory pension3

Single23·75
Married couple37·95
Supplementary pension scale rates4
Single38·65
Married couple61·85

1 Includes non-contributory pensions for people over 80, pensions paid to people overseas and those who receive graduated pension only.

2 Latest dates for which information is available.

3 Paid to those people over 80 who are not in receipt of a contributory pension or whose pension is payable at a rate lower than that of the non-contributory pension.

4 Excludes any weekly additional requirements which might be payable.

57.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will reconsider the decision to change the rule relating to the assessment of pensions from inflation to wages; and if he will make a statement.

We have no plans to alter the existing statutory requirement which ensures that pensions are up-rated by an amount at least equivalent to the relevant percentage rise in price inflation.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will compare the current state pension with contributions made to it by (a) all pensioners, (b) pensioners up to 70 years of age, (c) pensioners between 70 and 75 years of age, (d) pensioners between 75 and 80 years of age, (e) pensioners between 80 and 85 years of age, and (f) over 85 years of age during their working lives after allowing for (i) inflation and (ii) average rates of return on investments.

National insurance contributions finance all contributory benefits; there is no separate pension contribution. The cost of pensions and other benefits is financed on a pay-as-you-go basis, and there is no actuarial relationship between the level of contributions paid during an individual's working life and the pension he or she receives. In particular, many employments were not insurable for pension purposes prior to the introduction of the national insurance scheme in 1948. The method of calculating entitlement to basic pension means that pensioners who were not in insurable employments prior to 1948 can receive full basic pension for fewer years of contribution than those who were insurable before that date. For all these reasons, I regret that it is not possible to give all the information requested.From the week beginning 6 April 1987, the basic single person's retirement pension will be £39·50 and the married couple's pension £63·25. An addition of 25 pence a week is paid to pensioners aged 80 or more. Those who do not have title to a contributory retirement pension may be entitled to a non-contributory pension of £23·75 for a single person and £37·95 for a married couple.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, in light of the coming into force of the Sex Discrimination Act 1986 in November 1987, he will review the five-year age difference in eligibility for the basic state retirement pension; and if he will make a statement.

The Sex Discrimination Act 1986 has no bearing on the question of pension age. The Government will however continue to examine ways of achieving greater equality in this area.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the average basic, graduated and earnings-related retirement pension awarded to women aged 60 years and men aged 65 years respectively in each year since 1978, including the guaranteed minimum pension for contracted out employees.

[pursuant to his reply, 30 March 1987, c. 412]: The tables show pensions in payment to women aged 60 and men aged 65 at a given date in each year. The figures thus represent awards made within the previous 12 months to those in receipt of each pension component. The average rate of notional additional component incorporates both additional pension and guaranteed minimum pension, and includes inherited entitlements.

Table 1: Women aged 60
£ per week
DateAverage basic pensionAverage rate of graduated pensionAverage rate of notional additional component
November 1978115·490·37
November 197917·700·410·51
November 198019·680·490·92
November 198120·850·551·56
September 1982220·220·562·04
September 198321·630·632·90
March 1984321·790·643·24
September 198524·600·704·38
September 198626·460·765·38
Table 2: Men aged 65
DateAverage basic pensionAverage rate of graduated pensionAverage rate of notional additional component
November 1978119·141·04
November 197923·121·250·72
November 198026·921·491·33
November 198129·391·662·19
September 1982229·321·682·90
September 198332·491·874·16
March 1984333·641·954·75
September 198535·472·116·69
September 198638·302·308·65
1 Figures for women aged 60 and men aged 65 not available for 1978. These figures represent average amounts in payment to women aged 60–64 and men aged 65–69.
2 The reduction in the average rate of basic pension payable in 1982 is attributable to a change in the composition of the retiring population. Men aged 65 at the date of the count were, on average, entitled to a slightly lower proportion of the full standard rate of basic

pension than those retiring in earlier years. Among women aged 60, a higher proportion were entitled to pension on their own contributions, but their percentage rate of entitlement was smaller. The average rate in payment was thus reduced. From 1982, the annual count ceased to be made at the end of November. The November 1981 and September 1982 figures are thus based on the same rates of benefit, since no uprating intervened.

3 September 1984 figures not available.

Source: Retirement Pensions Biannual Enquiry.