HC Deb 18 March 1926 vol 193 cc570-1
16. Mr. HAYES

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that many of the widows of police pensioners who died before 1st September, 1918, do not come within the general provisions of the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act; and, as they are ineligible for the widows' pension in view of the limiting provision of the Police (Pension) Acts of 1918 and 1921, will he consider the amendment of the present law so that the police widows' pension, which was given as a noncontributory pension, may be payable in respect of the older and more needy class of police pensioners' widows?


asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the fact that there are many cases of widows of police pensioners whose husbands were outside the National Health Insurance scheme in 1917, and who are now out of benefit either from the police or the national scheme, he will consider the amendment of the present legislation in order to bring in all police widows irrespective of the date of the husband's retirement?


I am aware of the position of the widows in question which, so far as concerns the Act of last Session, is similar to the position of other "existing widows," but I regret that the Government cannot see their way to propose legislation to bring them within the police pension scheme.


Is it not a fact that the position of the widows of the men who were serving on the 1st September and got a pension, is due to that being one of the conditions in the settlement of the strike on that particular date, and if the attitude of the Home Office is persisted in, does it not mean that the widows of men who did not strike but retired before that date are penalised as compared with the widows of those who did strike?


With great respect, I do not think my hon. Friend is quite right in the conclusion he has drawn. In very difficult pensions questions there must always be a date fixed somewhere. This date was fixed long before I took office, and the Government do not propose to alter it.


The right hon. Gentleman has not answered my question. Is it not a fact that the widows of the men who were serving on that date got pensions because that was one of the conditions of the settlement of the strike on that date?


My hon. Friend had better put a question on the Paper. I do not want to make a definite answer on that point without reference to the papers.


Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind in considering this question that by the Regulations of the service the husbands, when alive in the service, were debarred from making any provision outside the provisions of the police Regulations, for their widows, and that the pension was a non-contributory one, and they gave equal service for that pension with those who came in after 1919?


That is the same question as the one on the Paper.