HC Deb 01 February 1945 vol 407 cc1613-4
31. Captain Sidney

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether any action is intended to implement the recommendations contained in the Report of the Departmental Committee on Police Widows' Pensions which was signed 23rd July 1941.

Mr. H. Morrison

When this Committee reported, it was not possible to introduce legislation to give effect to their proposals, as the Police Federation were unable to accept the Committee's recommendation on the fundamental question of the incidence of the cost of the proposed increases. The position has now been radically changed by the publication of the Government's proposals for National Insurance. The questions raised in the Snell Committee's report can no longer be con- sidered in isolation, but will fall to be reviewed as part of the general problems arising from the introduction of the National Insurance scheme.

Sir Patrick Hannon

As there are cases of real grievance among these police widows, surely the right hon. Gentleman could do something pending the introduction of a National Insurance Bill?

Mr. Morrison

There was a fair and impartial committee and tribunal, before which evidence was given, and they made recommendations, but the Police Federation would not take on the burden of contributions, which the committee recommended. It is not fair to put the responsibility on me.

Miss Rathbone

Does the slackness of the Police Federation exonerate the Home Office from its responsibility for carrying out the recommendations of the report, which was unanimous and which inferred that there was severe hardship among police widows, which perhaps cannot be remedied for some years?

Mr. Morrison

I have not accused the Police Federation of slackness. It is a difference of opinion. If the men strongly object to making a contribution, it would be going very far to enforce a contribution on them.

Mr. Collindridge

Will the improvements contemplated by my right hon. Friend be made retrospective to present cases?

Mr. Morrison

That is a matter for the Minister of National Insurance.