HC Deb 06 February 1941 vol 368 cc1085-6
13. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that the widow of a man who lost both his legs in the last war and was killed in an air raid on 3rd October, 1940, has been refused the funeral grant of £7 10s. and the temporary allowance of £2 10s. a week for 10 weeks and has been granted only 225. 6d. weekly pension for herself but nothing for her son aged 15, now attending a technical school, on the grounds that her husband's death occurred before 24th December; and will he take steps to make possible the payment of the funeral grant and the temporary allowance when the air-raid casualties took place before 24th December?

The Minister of Pensions (Sir Walter Womersley)

The concessions referred to were not intended to be retrospective to the extent of affecting payments already made or expenses met otherwise before 24th December. I am glad to inform the hon. Member that consideration is being given to the question whether allowances in respect of children should be extended beyond the present limit of 15 years in this type of case.

Mr. Lipson

Does not my right hon. Friend think it is quite unjust that there should be this discrimination in the treatment of the dependants of those who were killed in air raids before 24th December and afterwards? Is it not fair to go back to the beginning of the war?

Sir W. Womersley

There must be a datum line to work from. Hon. Members will realise the difficulty of dealing with all these cases. I am not in a position to make any promise on this matter at all, but I will give it consideration.

Mr. De la Bère

Why not do what is right and just?

Mr. Lipson

If I put down a Question in a week's time, will my hon. Friend say whether he is prepared to make it retrospective to the beginning of the war?

Sir W. Womersley

I think hon. Members will realise that that question raises an issue far beyond anything that I can decide.