At present, the tax allowance for a single person under 65 exceeds the corresponding basic state retirement pension by £1·38 in weekly terms, compared with a figure of £3·69 in November 1973.
Does my hon. Friend agree that these figures demonstrate that many single women retiring at 60, and many widows, are facing an increased tax burden although they have only modest part-time earnings, and when many of them are living at or below the supplementary benefit level? Does he not also agree that if the National Insurance Fund accepts that there is a case for women retiring at the age of 60, the Treasury should accept that there is a case for extending the age allowance to these women as well?
If women retiring at 60 were to qualify for the age allowance there would be the problem of men retiring below their standard age of retirement, which is 65, and the unfair comparison between them and women. My hon. Friend must accept that one of the main reasons for the decline in the difference between the retirement pension and the threshold of taxation has been the very large increase in retirement pensions brought in by the present Government.