HC Deb 28 January 1941 vol 368 cc424-5
68. Mr. Glenvil Hall

asked the Minister of Health, whether he is aware that the present allowances under the Insurance Acts for a widow with children are inadequate to meet requirements owing to the rise in the cost of living, and are, in any case below those now allowed elsewhere by the Government for women with children; and what steps he proposes to take in the matter?

Miss Horsbrugh

The present combined health insurance and pensions contribution contains no margin which would enable any of the statutory benefits provided under those schemes to be improved. These contributions were increased as recently as July last in order to lower the age at which a woman becomes entitled to an old age pension, and, if any further increase in contributions were found possible, my right hon. Friend is not satisfied that the first claim on any such additional money should be for the purpose which the hon. Member has in mind.

Mr. Hall

Surely the hon. Lady realises that a widow with children—in one case in my constituency, with six children—cannot bring them up on 30s. a week? Does she imagine that that is possible, and is it not time that something was done?

Miss Horsbrugh

There are a good many cases, as the hon. Member will agree, which have to be taken into consideration, as I have indicated in the answer.