Below is the text of Mr Major's written Parliamentary Answer on Pensions and Benefits on 14th April 1986.
Mr. Meacher Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been (a) the single person's pension, (b) the married couple's pension and (c) supplementary benefit scale rates for (i) a single person and (ii) a married couple as a proportion of national average earnings each year since 1979; and what information he has on comparable figures in France, Germany, the United States of America, Sweden, Italy and Belgium.
Mr. Major Details of the rates of benefit and the amount of such rates expressed as a proportion of national average earnings are contained in the "Abstract of Statistics for Index of Retail Prices, Average Earnings, Social Security Benefits and Contributions" (tables 5.1, 5.6 and 5.7) a copy of which is in the Library.
Such information as is available regarding benefits in France, Germany, Italy and Belgium is contained in the Department's annual publication "Tables of Social Benefit Systems in the Member States of the European Communities, Portugal and Spain". Copies are held in the Library for each year since 1973. I regret that information is not available which would enable reliable comparisons to be made to the national average wage in each member state of the European Community.
For information on benefit levels in the United States of America, I refer the hon. Member to the Social Security Bulletin of January 1986, Vol. 49, No. 1, page 74, as issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Information regarding Sweden as at 1 July 1984 is contained in the Council of Europe publication "Comparative Tables of the Social Security Systems in Council of Europe Member States not belonging to the European Communities". Copies of both publications are in the Library. I regret that there is no information readily available regarding Sweden for earlier years.