HC Deb 27 February 1941 vol 369 cc615-7
37. Mr. J. H. Hollins

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will consider the question of giving pensions to the unmarried wives of men killed by enemy action?

The Minister of Pensions (Sir Walter Womersley)

This point was fully considered in framing the Personal Injuries (Civilians) Scheme, but the circumstances did not, in the Government's view, justify the suggested extension of the benefits of the Personal Injuries Scheme.

Mr. Hollins

Is the Minister aware that I have had three cases put before me of seamen who were lost in a convoy—one married 10 years, with a pension; one married 15 years, with a pension, and the other, with an unmarried wife 25 years, and no pension; and does he not think that it would be advisable to apply the same regulation as was applied to the Armed Forces in the last war, and consider the question of some grant?

Mrs. Tate

Is there any other step that the hon. Member would like to be taken to encourage polygamy among males in this country?

Mr. Sorensen

Is it in order to insinuate that an hon. Member desires polygamy?

Miss Rathbone

Is it not the case with regard to military pensions that an unmarried wife or widow is sometimes given a pension or allowance where there has been a long connection and where there are dependent children?

38. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is now prepared to make the funeral grant of £7 10s. and temporary allowance of £2 10s. for 10 weeks, at present payable only to dependants of air-raid casualties which took place after 24th December, retrospective to the beginning of the war?

Sir W. Womersley

I regret that at the moment I am unable to add anything to the reply I gave my hon. Friend on 13th February.

Mr. Lipson

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment.

42. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Pensions what weekly allowance is to be made to the widow of an ex-service man disabled in the last war and killed in October during an air raid, for the maintenance of her son, aged 15, who is a student at a technical college?

Sir W. Womersley

As stated in my reply to the hon. Member on 6th February, the question whether allowances in respect of children could be extended beyond the present limit of 15 years where the child is still at school is under consideration. If the extension is given, the rate would continue as at present, namely, 8s. 6d. for one child.

Mr. Lipson

Can my right hon. Friend say when he will come to a decision. This woman has only 22s. 6d. a week on which to maintain herself and her son.

Sir W. Womersley

Very many other questions have to be dealt with in the civilians scheme. These matters are being thoroughly examined, but I cannot come to the House with an amended scheme just to deal with one subject.

Mr. Lipson

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that whatever decision is arrived at it will be made retrospective?

Sir W. Womersley

No, Sir.