HC Deb 24 April 1941 vol 371 cc235-6
10. Mr. Cocks

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he has considered a protest from the Kirkby-in-Ashfield Urban District Council against the inadequacy of the pensions granted to the widows and children of three local auxiliary firemen who lost their lives whilst on duty in Manchester, in December last; and whether he will consider raising the scale of allowances under the Personal Injuries (Civilians) Scheme to a higher level?

The Minister of Pensions (Sir Walter Womersley)

I would remind the hon. Member that the scales of widows pensions and allowances under the Personal Injuries (Civilians) Scheme are the same as those for widows of private soldiers in the Army, and I should not feel justified in recommending an increase.

Mr. Cocks

Is the Minister aware that in these cases one woman got only 17s. 6d. a week, and two others, only 22s. 6d.? Does he consider that adequate?

Sir W. Womersley

The widow getting 17s. 6d. a week is under 40, is capable of working, and has no other obligations. The widows receiving 22s. 6d. a week, plus children's allowances, have children or are over 40.

Mr. Shinwell

But if the widow fails to secure work, what then?

Sir W. Womersley

In the circumstances of the moment, that is not possible.

Mr. Shinwell

If it is, do you revise the award?

Sir W. Womersley

Certainly not.

Mr. R. J. Taylor

Would the right hon. Gentleman say that a widow with two children should be asked to go out and work?

Sir W. Womersley

Certainly not. That is why we make the extra allowance.