HC Deb 03 July 1951 vol 489 cc2141-2
49. Miss Hornsby-Smith

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the estimated annual cost of paying Post-War Credits to the widows of war casualties six months after the latter's death.

Mr. Gaitskell

I regret that this information is not available.

50. Miss Hornsby-Smith

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has considered the resolution, a copy of which has been sent to him, passed at the Annual Conference of the Women's Section of the British Legion, to the effect that Post-War Credits be paid to widows of ex-Service men six months after the death of any such war casualty; and what action he proposes to take in the matter.

Mr. Gaitskell

Yes, Sir. I am afraid I could not see my way to adopt this suggestion.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

In view of the very small amount which would be involved, would it not be possible for the Chancellor to reconsider this matter, as many of these women have lost their husbands through service to their country, and have lost their normal sources of income which they would have expected to get?

Mr. Gaitskell

The hon. Lady will appreciate that a great many suggestions have been made to pay back Post-War Credits to various classes of persons on hardship grounds, and we have always had to turn them down because of administrative difficulties. The only reasonable way of repaying is on the basis of age. as we do at present.

Mr. Profumo

Will the Minister consider the publication of a pamphlet explaining, in very simple words, why the Government take their present attitude with regard to Post-War Credits, in order to alleviate the widespread suspicion of the public that the majority of people now living will never be repayed during their lifetime?

Mr. Gaitskell

I do not think there is any need for such a pamphlet. We have repeatedly explained the position.

Mr. Douglas Marshall

What is the estimate of the cost of this concession?

Mr. Gaitskell

I have already said that I could not give any such estimate.

Mr. Moody

Will my right hon. Friend give sympathetic consideration to reducing the age limit for the repayment of Post-War Credits?