HC Deb 03 December 1953 vol 521 cc1308-9
25. Mr. Dodds

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the hardship being experienced by many elderly police widows who are still receiving the 1921 rate of 11s. 6d. per week pension, he will take the necessary steps to have the pension increased; and how many widows there are in this category.

28. Brigadier Medlicott

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware of the difficulty in which elderly police widows are placed who are only receiving the 1921 rate of pension; and if, in view of the fact that the aggregate amount of these pensions is a diminishing liability on the State, he will recommend an increase in the pension in this class of case.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

Most police widows originally awarded pensions at the rate of 11s. 6d. a week have had them increased under the Police Pensions Regulations, 1948. There are estimated to be about 150 police widows whose pensions of 11s. 6d. a week have not been increased, because they are not handicapped by age, children or infirmity, or because their total income is above the prescribed limit. I regret that I cannot see my way to propose further increases.

Mr. Dodds

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise that those who understand these cases are bitterly disappointed that these women have not been given an increase, and consider that they have been very badly served in view of the small amount of money involved?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I am sure that no one who has had to deal with these pension claims can feel anything but regret for the position which one feels it is right to take up. I know—and I am sure that anyone who has held my office knows—the tremendous help which the wives of policemen give their husbands in their work, but I should point out to the hon. Gentleman that the basic pension, apart from the increases that I have mentioned, can be further increased to £85 a year—that is, 32s. 6d. a week—if the widow satisfies National Insurance Scheme conditions. It is difficult to conceive that the police widows who do not fulfil the conditions which I have mentioned are hardship cases.