asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the desirability of ensuring maximum production in the present emergency, he will investigate the extent to which it would be possible to employ a greater proportion of men who now cease work at 65 years of age, owing to the fact that they are not allowed to draw their full pension if they are in receipt of earnings over 20s. a week.
I am in consultation with both sides of industry on the means to extend the employment of elderly workers. While not accepting the hon. Member's suggestion about the effect of the earnings rule, one of the subjects on which the advice of industry is being sought is the effect of the present insurance arrangements generally on the attitude of employers and workers to employment beyond the ages of 60 and 65 for women and men respectively.
Is the right hon. Gentlemen not aware that there has been a growing demand, for quite a long time, that this figure of 20s. should be altered, because it is keeping a lot of men from industry? Is he not aware that the demand comes from the men themselves who would otherwise go into industry?
We shall, of course, have to consider the whole range of employment here, because it is one of those instances where the conventions of society have to be adjusted to the realities of modern conditions.
Will the Minister do his utmost to bring both sides of the industry to a realisation of the urgency of this problem in view of the fact that this difficulty has persisted for a very long time and that it is felt neither side of the industry is whole-heartedly in favour of speeding up the matter?