asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what would be the increased cost to the fund if all pensioners who worked after the age of 65 years were to have their extra weekly pension rate based on 1s. for each 12 stamps on the contribution card.
Increments are awarded on this basis to men who have deferred retirement beyond the age of 65 since August, 1959. If the current rates were to be applied in respect of contributions paid after minimum pension age before this date, the extra cost would be about £7 million a year immediately. This assumes that contributions paid by women after 60 would be treated similarly.
Does not the hon. Lady believe that it is time that men who continued working up to the age of 70 and women who continued working up to the age of 65 and who retired on 2nd August, 1959, or later should be brought up to date with other pensioners who retired later? Does not the hon. Lady consider that the Insurance Fund should be fair to all pensioners and should pay them all equally?
The increments are related to the amount of pension which is forgone and they are increased from time to time. They are not intended to compensate completely for the amount of pension which a person would have received had he retired earlier.
Does not the hon. Lady realise that these people have forgone quite large sums by working after the age of 60 or 65, in the case of men and women, respectively? Does the hon. Lady not think, therefore, that to pay them at the rate of 1s. per twelve contributions on their card would be more equitable bearing in mind the amount of money which they have lost by working from 60 to 65 and from 65 to 70 for women and men, respectively?
They would then not in any way be increments which were related to the amount of pension that is forgone. Increments have risen from time to time but so have pensions. We have never accepted that any increase in increments should entail retrospective increases to people who have retired earlier.