HC Deb 07 July 1952 vol 503 cc873-4
1. Mr. Hale

asked the Minister of National Insurance whether he is aware of the hardship that is being caused by the fact that widows' pensions are taken into account in computing unemployment benefit; and what steps he proposes to take to deal with this.

The Minister of National Insurance (Mr. Osbert Peake)

Under the rules made in 1948 a widow who is unemployed will receive at least as much as other unemployed people from the Insurance Fund. I see no reason for thinking that this gives rise to hardship or for altering the rules.

Mr. Hale

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this obviously causes real hardship, particularly in cases where widows have brought up a family and have to go out to work in much more difficult conditions? Would he reconsider this matter and rather take the view that though this was done in 1948 we were big enough to reconsider things when their working caused people hardship? Would he treat the whole matter on these lines?

Mr. Peake

This has been the adopted practice for many years. Pensionable widows are, of course, given the option whether or not to continue their contributions to the Insurance Fund.