HC Deb 13 June 1955 vol 542 cc262-3
33. Dr. King

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what steps he proposes to take to implement his undertaking of last December to review, early this year, the question of widows' pensions.

36. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance how soon he expects to be in a position to improve the position of widows receiving a pension of 10s.

Mr. Peake

The widowhood provisions of the Scheme, including the question of the 10s. widow, are at present being reviewed by the National Insurance Advisory Committee, and I must await their report.

Dr. King

Is the Minister aware that probably the best and most sympathetic speech on widows' pensions was made by himself in this House on 13th December? Will he do what he can to speed up the review that is taking place?

Mr. Peake

I certainly look forward to receiving the report of the National Insurance Advisory Committee. The structure of widows' benefits, which was designed in 1946, is a very big issue. The design is, I think, in some respects imperfect, and I shall very much welcome any constructive suggestions from hon. Members in any part of the House.

Mr. Thomson

Is the Minister aware that, during the Election, hon. Members on both sides received many protests in regard to the 10s. widow, in particular, and that these unfortunate pensioners are really the forgotten women of the Welfare State? Can he not tell us that he is going to consult the Committee and ask it to expedite its report?

Mr. Peake

I have already said that I look forward to receiving this report as soon as it can possibly be prepared, but this is a most important question, and I think that it is important that the Advisory Committee should not be unduly hurried or hustled in the preparation of its report.