§ 30. Mr. Mander
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the difficulties and dissatisfaction created in cases where a person, after being transferred from being an employed to a voluntary contributor on reaching the age of 65, is informed that he was accepted as a voluntary contributor in error, and, therefore, is ineligible for an old age pension; and whether he will take steps to secure that a person, when once accepted as a voluntary contributor by an approved society, shall be entitled to the benefit for which he has paid?
§ The Minister of Health (Mr. Elliot)
I am aware of the difficulty to which the hon. Member refers, but I am afraid that I cannot undertake to introduce legislation which would have the effect of validating an insurance which was in fact erroneous. If the hon. Member has a particular case in mind and will furnish particulars, I will look into it and see whether a refund can be made in respect of the contributions incorrectly paid.
§ Mr. Mander
Is it not most unfair that a man should be accepted as a voluntary contributor and, having contributed for years, should then be told when he reaches the age of 65, that there is no pension available for him? Should not some steps be taken to prevent that kind of thing?
§ 37. Mr. Pethick-Lawrence
asked the Minister of Health whether the pension of 10s. a week to be granted to spinsters between the age of 60 and 65 will be subject to a supplementary pension in case of need; what is the estimated cost of the new pensions to spinsters; what is the estimated cost of the pensions to wives between the age of 60 and 65; what is the estimated cost of the supplementary pensions exclusive of the above items; what is the estimated yield of the additional contributions from employers and employed; whether in adjusting the block grants it is proposed to reduce their aggregate, and, if so, to what extent; and what is the estimated residual additional burden falling on the Exchequer on behalf of contributory and non-contributory pensions, respectively?
§ Mr. Elliot
The answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. As regards the rest of the Question I must ask the right hon. Gentleman to await the report by the Government Actuary which will be available with the Bill when printed.
§ Mr. Pethick-Lawrence
In view of the considerable interest on this very important question, can the right hon. Gentleman tell us when the Bill will be available?
§ Mr. Elliot
I cannot say; but we are pressing on, as rapidly as possible, knowing the interest the House takes in the matter.
Mr. Vyvyan Adams
May I ask my right hon. Friend whether he is aware of the general relief and satisfaction felt at this provision for spinsters; and may I ask him further whether, since the number of wives and husbands who will benefit under this scheme will exceed the number of spinsters, he will consider reducing the added contributions to be paid by women from 3d. to 2d?