§ Mr. Rooker
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the estimated cost of including those males between the ages of 65 and 70 years who are in full-time employment in the wage-related system of sickness benefits.
§ Mr. Robert C. Brown
If the present earnings-related scheme were extended to men between 65 and 70 it is estimated that if the only cost were that relating to the numbers at present claiming sickness benefit after pension age, it would be about £1 million a year. The actual cost would, however, be likely to be much greater, because many men who had really given up work would be encouraged to claim sickness benefit instead of retirement pension, since sickness benefit would be at a higher rate.