This note provides a brief overview of the introduction of the first state pensions and subsequent developmentsJump to full report >>
The Old Age Pensions Act 1908 provided for the first UK state pensions, financed out of central taxation. The pension was 5 shillings a week. It was means-tested, with the full amount paid to those with incomes below £21 a year and reduced on a sliding scale for those with incomes between £21 and £31 and ten shillings. Initially, people needed to have been resident in the United Kingdom for 20 years and there were behavioural tests. For example, people could be disqualified if they had made themselves poor in order to qualify, had been imprisoned or convicted under the Inebriates Act.
This note provides a brief overview of the background to the introduction of the first state pensions, the basic rules of the original scheme and some of the subsequent developments. The Annex suggests more detailed sources of information for further reading.
Commons Briefing papers SN04817
Author: Djuna Thurley