§ 45. Mr. Steward
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he is aware that men and women old-age 24 pensioners are living together, unmarried, because their pensions would be cut by as much as 19s. a week if they married; and if he will take steps to introduce legislation at an early date to remove this penalty which acts as a deterrent to old people remarrying.
§ Mr. Peake
This position only arises where the woman is a widow drawing a pension on her late husband's insurance. It is inherent in the scheme of widows' benefits that they cease on remarriage, and I do not think that the kind of case mentioned by the hon. Member affords any adequate grounds for abandoning this principle.
§ Mr. Steward
Is the Minister aware that this policy of encouraging old people of opposite sexes to live together, unmarried, is wrong, and that I know of cases where this state of affairs exists in order that a greater income may be enjoyed? Does he not agree that there should be no reduction for couples who elect to get married in such cases?
§ Mr. Peake
There is no reduction of any sort where each of the couple is entitled to a pension in his or her own right by virtue of his or her own contributions, but I do not think it is possible to modify the rule that a widow's pension ceases on remarriage, because, in that case we should get very attractive widows compiling for themselves a very substantial income out of the fund.