My hon. Friend will wish to note that the latest available data show that, at 1987 prices, the average pensioner's income from savings fell from £10·70 per week in 1974 to £9·10 per week in 1979. But, by 1987, it had more than doubled to £20·90 per week.
May I join other hon. Members in welcoming my hon. Friend to the Front Bench? Is not it most important that we encourage companies and all employers to pay occupational pension schemes? Is not one of the most important events since 1979 that private pensions have increased by more than 130 per cent. in real terms? Is not that a way in which to make sure that people are better-off and more self-sufficient? Private pension schemes mean that state pensions will be only the supernumeraries instead of the mainstay of families in the generation to come.
I thank my hon. Friend for his welcome. He is, of course, absolutely right. The House will wish to note that the average income from an occupational pension has grown in value by 77 per cent. since 1979. In addition, 52 per cent. of all pensioners and 73 per cent. of recently retired pensioners now have occupational pensions. That is testimony to the Government's determination to encourage savings by that route.