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Basic Pension

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to introduce a reduced basic pension for people who have paid the reduced liability rate of national insurance; and if he will make a statement. [110771]

Those married women who choose to pay the reduced liability of national insurance contributions were made aware of the consequences of their decision. We therefore have no plans to introduce a reduced basic pension for those women. However, they will get a basic pension of around 60 per cent. of their husband's entitlement when both have reached state pension age and made claims.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the national insurance contribution requirements are for a basic pension; and whether those currently paying the reduced rate of national insurance will qualify for a basic pension. [110772]

In order to become entitled to the basic state pension, a person has to satisfy two conditions. The basic state pension is available to both the employed and self-employed. In addition, anyone may make voluntary national insurance contributions, subject to a time limit, if this is necessary to build up entitlement.The first basic state pension entitlement condition is that a person has either: one qualifying year since 6 April 1975 which is derived from the payment of class 1, 2 or 3 national insurance contributions or from class 1 contributions treated as paid; or paid 50 flat rate contributions at any time before 6 April 1975.The second basic state pension entitlement condition relates to the number of qualifying years a person has. Currently to get a full basic state pension a man needs 44, and a woman 39, qualifying years. The number of qualifying years can be reduced if a person is entitled to Home Responsibilities Protection. The basic state pension cannot be paid if a person has less than 25 per cent. of the qualifying years needed for a full state pension.In certain circumstances a person may be credited with earnings to help them get a state pension if they do not have enough earnings in a tax year to reach the level needed to make it a qualifying year.The payment of the reduced rate contribution does not give entitlement to the basic state pension but married women will get a basic state pension of around 60 per cent. of their husband's entitlement when both have reached state pension age and made claims.