HC Deb 23 March 1936 vol 310 cc881-2

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that when a member of the Metropolitan Police Force dies during the first five years of his service his widow is not entitled to a pension even though her husband had in his employment, previous to joining the force, paid regular contributions under the Widows', Orphans', and Contributory Pensions Act; whether he is prepared to introduce legislation to close this gap in security; and whether, pending such legislation, he will give instructions that all new recruits to the force shall have their special attention drawn to this matter and advised to become voluntary contributors under the existing Act?


All police forces have been excepted by the Minister of Health from compulsory insurance under the Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, on the ground that the provisions of the Police Pensions Act, 1921, are on the whole not less favourable: but it is true that one result is that an insured man joining the police may cease to be insured under the Act of 1925 before he has served for the five years necessary to qualify for the ordinary widow's pension benefit under the Act of 1921. This point has been noted for legislation should an opportunity occur. If he dies as a result of an injury on duty his widow will be entitled to a pension however short his service. It is the practice to inform all recruits to the Metropolitan Police of the position, but few of those who are insured persons choose to continue as voluntary contributors. It must be remembered that all recruits to the Metropolitan Police are single men: that nowadays almost all remain single for at least four years: and that those joining under the short service scheme are kept in insurance under the health and pensions scheme by payments from the police fund.


In regard to the second part of the answer, in view of the fact that cases do occur will the hon. Gentleman ask his right hon. Friend to press forward legislation to remedy the difficulty?


I have said that the point has been noted for legislation.