I quoted it in Committee, and it is relevant. It is a survey of the social security position in four European countries, including the United Kingdom, conducted by a distinguished American civil servant, Mr. Standford G. Ross, the Commissioner for Social Security in Washington. The report sets out the background against which we have to consider the clause. Mr. Ross wrote:
Optimistic forecasts during the 1960s and early 1970s, which made expansion of social security programmes seem possible and desirable, were dealt unforeseen blows by the oil crisis and the combination of recession and inflation. Now, limited growth is generally forecast and social security has to confront the issue of how to deal with scarce resources in the 1980s and beyond.
He went further:
To help alleviate the future tax burden, countries are clearly committed to avoiding to the maximum extent possible future social security improvements that add to costs.
Benefit curtailments are expected to produce some marginal savings and most countries expect to develop these possibilities to some extent.