HC Deb 19 April 1937 vol 322 cc1432-3
64. Mr. Cary

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that nearly a million poor widows are ineligible for pensions under any State scheme; and whether he will cause inquiry to be made with a view to framing a comprehensive pension scheme which will enable all widows in want to receive pensions?

Lieut.-Colonel Colville

I am afraid that I cannot identify my hon. Friend's figure of nearly a million poor widows ineligible for State pension. The total number of widows without pension is itself much less than this figure, being rather more than half a million. Not by any means all of these are in want. So far as the receipt of public assistance is evidence of the number in want, the available statistics indicate that the number of unpensioned widows in receipt of public assistance is probably appreciably under 100,000. The Government are not prepared to supersede the present contributory scheme by one providing all widows with pensions subject to a test of needs.