HC Deb 13 March 1951 vol 485 c1281
32. Surgeon Lieut.-Commander Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will consider reviewing the regulation which makes the widow of an officer or man ineligible for pension when there is 25 years' disparity of age between them.

Mr. M. Stewart

As stated by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence on 29th March, 1950, a scheme of family pensions on a contributory basis is under consideration. When a decision is reached, it is intended to review the existing non-contributory pension scheme for widows of officers and warrant officers, Class I, whose deaths are not due to service. That review will cover the rule referred to by the hon. Member. The rule does not apply to awards in respect of deaths due to service.

Surgeon Lieut.-Commander Bennett

Does not the hon. Gentleman consider that the case, of which, no doubt, he is fully aware, of the widow of an officer who served for 40 years in all and who was decorated with the M.V.O., who was married to him for 25 years and had five children, and who, when this officer died, was left without any pension, is a very bad case of hardship, and that he has a responsibility for making an award to the widow?

Mr. Stewart

I agree with the hon. and gallant Member that this is in many ways an unsatisfactory rule. As I have said, it will be reviewed as part of the plan for a contributory pension scheme.

Surgeon Lieut.-Commander Bennett

But will the hon. Gentleman do something for this lady?