§ 77. Mr. WARDLAW-MILNE
asked the Minister of Health whether it is the intention of the Government to introduce an amendment to the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Pensions Act enabling single women who have paid contributions to the scheme for a term of years to receive a pension based upon the contributions made if unable through poverty to continue as voluntary contributors?
§ Sir K. WOOD
I am afraid that I cannot adopt this suggestion. The matter was fully discussed on the Committee stage of the Bill and certain Amendments were introduced, the effect of which is to provide exceptionally favourable terms of voluntary insurance for women who on attaining the age of 55 have been Compulsorily insured for 10 years.
§ Mr. WARDLAW-MILNE
I realise the difficulties, but does not the Minister of Health think it would be at least fair that single women who have by misfortune lost their employment, and cannot continue as voluntary contributors, should be treated at least in the same way as they would be in ordinary commercial insurance practice, and have the benefit of the surrender value?
§ Sir K. WOOD
My hon. Friend is now stating what was offered in debate on this matter. It is true that certain suggestions were made, but even now, under the Act, very favourable terms are given in the circumstances.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a number of women in this category in the Government industrial establishments were Compulsorily retired at the age of 60, and, although they continued to pay contributions up to that time, they will get no benefit unless they continue until they reach the age of 63?
§ Mr. MAXTON
Does not the hon. Gentleman think it would be better, in view of these difficulties, to adopt a non-contributory basis?