HC Deb 08 February 1954 vol 523 c809
5. Mr. J. T. Hall

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will give the number of women receiving the 10s. widow's pension prior to the introduction of the new rates of benefit in July, 1948, as compared with the latest convenient date; and now consider raising this benefit to that of those widows on the standard rate.

Mr. Peake

About 463,000 on 4th July, 1948, and about 180,000 on 30th June, 1953.

As regards the second part of the Question I see no reason for departing from the decision taken in Committee on the National Insurance Bill on 15th May, 1952, after very full discussion of the subject.

Mr. Hall

Will the Minister consider making representations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer about the need for an increase in this low rate of pension?

Mr. Peake

Former Ministers of National Insurance in the Socialist Government and myself have found ourselves unable to recommend an increase in this type of pension for widows who are not pensionable at all under the new scheme which came into force in 1948.

Mr. Slater

While it is agreed that this difficult question received serious consideration during the discussions in Committee, may I ask whether the Minister is aware of the great dissatisfaction among widows whose husbands were killed in industry and who believe that they are not receiving the recognition due to them? Will the right hon. Gentleman look at this matter again?

Mr. Peake

I cannot add anything to what I said during the proceedings of the Standing Committee in May, 1952.