National Insurance Pensions

Oral Answers to Questions — Social Security – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd January 1967.

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Photo of Mr Philip Holland Mr Philip Holland , Carlton 12:00 am, 23rd January 1967

asked the Minister of Social Security by how much the purchasing power of the weekly rates of National Insurance pension both for a single person and for a married couple have been reduced since March, 1965, by the increase in prices.

Photo of Mr Norman Pentland Mr Norman Pentland , Chester-le-Street

6s. 1d. and 9s. 11d. respectively.

Photo of Mr Philip Holland Mr Philip Holland , Carlton

Will the Parliamentary Secretary tell the House what steps it is proposed to take to improve the purchasing power of the incomes of those pensioners who have no other means of cushioning the effects of inflation?

Photo of Mr Norman Pentland Mr Norman Pentland , Chester-le-Street

We have already introduced the supplementary benefit scheme and I can assure the hon. Member that the present value of the pension is well above that of the best rate given by the Opposition when in power.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Somerset North

asked the Minister of Social Security what weekly rates of National Insurance pensions for a single person and a married couple would be required to keep pace with the rise in average male industrial earnings since March, 1965.

Photo of Mr Norman Pentland Mr Norman Pentland , Chester-le-Street

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Lady, the Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Mrs. Knight), on 28th November last.—[Vol. 737, c. 23–4.]

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Somerset North

Is the hon. Member aware that that reply clearly shows that the Government are failing to fulfil their election pledge that National Insurance benefits would be linked to average earnings? Can he say what reaction there has been to the strong criticism coming from his academic supporters to the effect that the social programmes of this Government are substantially worse than what the previous Conservative Government achieved in the social services?

Photo of Mr Norman Pentland Mr Norman Pentland , Chester-le-Street

I have never seen any criticism at all coming from our academic supporters about the pension. If the pension had been put up in March, 1965, in line with the rise in average earnings between April, 1963, and October, 1964, the rates would have been 75s. 8d. for a single person and 122s. 2d. for a married couple, whereas we increased them to 80s. and 130s. respectively.