Having read that reply this morning, may I ask the right hon. Lady if she intends to take any action, as she foreshadowed might be possible in that reply, in view of the great urgency of this matter?
Has my right hon. Friend considered a proposal I put to her predecessor, that people should be allowed to earn up to half time in the undermanned industries? It was then being considered.
Yes, Sir. I have already told my hon. and learned Friend that we have considered such proposals, but he must recognise that there are repercussions in these cases, which must be taken into account, and that we have no intention of allowing pensions to become subsidies for wages.
No, Sir. I see no reason to modify the decision, reached after careful consideration in 1946, that the fairest, and indeed the only practicable, way of arriving at any necessary deduction on account of earnings is on a weekly basis.
Is it not rather hard on a pensioner who wants to supplement his pension by an odd job on one day of the week? Would it not be fairer if these earnings were accounted on a monthly instead of a weekly basis?
No, Sir. The hon. Gentleman does not seem to have given this matter very full consideration. Has he considered the position of the pensioner who, at the end of the month, has a deduction in his pension made on account of earnings received at the beginning of the month—earnings which have already been spent?
asked the Minister of National Insurance if she will arrange to make available in the near future statistics indicating the number of men between 65 and 70 years of age who have ceased to work full time, but who would be willing to work full time if they were entitled to draw their full pension, unconditionally, as they can at the age of 70.
Surely the hon. Gentleman must realise that the only way I could obtain this information would be by putting a hypothetical question to every man of 65 years of age.
Yes, Sir, I shall probably have conversations with him, but I would draw the hon. Member's attention to the fact that the present structure of the scheme is so designed as to meet exactly the hon. Member's wishes.
In view of the fact that it is foolish to rob ourselves of the experienced ability of many of these elderly people, would my right hon. Friend give urgent consideration to the request in my question?
I regret that this information is not available. There is no means of knowing how many people of pensionable age now in regular work would retire and claim their pensions if the changes suggested by the hon. Member were made.
Would the right hon. Lady bear in mind, in offsetting this amount, whatever it may be, the benefits to the nation and the increased productivity which might follow from the underlying idea, and the benefits to active old age pensioners who are anxious to work if they are not discouraged?