§ 28. Mr. Mort
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that Mrs. M. A. Otten, of 1393, Neath Road, Hafod, Swansea, made a claim for the widows' pension 12 months ago and, although representations were made by the hon. Member for Swansea East, to the Welsh Board of Health in November last, the case is still awaiting settlement; and can he explain the reason for the delay?
§ Mr. E. Brown
The delay was due to extensive inquiries, made entirely in Mrs. Otton's interests, as to the possibility of linking up her late husband's last period of insurance with earlier periods of insurance and so enabling the statutory conditions for the award of a widow's pension to be satisfied. These inquiries, which unfortunately have not proved successful, have only recently been concluded and a statement showing in detail the grounds for the unfavourable decision was sent to Mrs. Otton on 21st February. She will thus have an opportunity of submitting any further evidence or observations before her case is considered by the Referees, to whom she has appealed against the rejection of her claim.
§ 33. Mr. Dobbie
asked the Minister of Health whether he has taken into consideration the position of the pre-Widows and Children's Act widow in regard to pension, from the standpoint of granting pension to the widow before she reaches the age of 55 years?
§ Mr. Brown
These pensions are not awarded in right of the payment of contributions but are a free gift from the State. Provision is made for the grant of a pension to such a widow at an earlier age than 55 if she has young children, and the pension continues to be payable until the youngest child attains the specified age, and is restored when she attains the age of 55. I am afraid that I cannot undertake to introduce legislation to extend this already generous provision for these women.