HC Deb 26 March 1956 vol 550 cc1751-2
10. Mr. Chapman

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he is aware that a woman, separated from her husband, receiving a nominal separation allowance and paying Income Tax and insurance contributions as a single person, receives sickness benefit at the lower rate awarded to a married woman; and what action he is taking to remedy this unjust position.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

My attention has been drawn to one or two cases in which difficulty has arisen. Any change would require legislation. I will bear this matter in mind with other matters which will be considered when an opportunity for general legislation arises.

Mr. Chapman

Does the right hon. Gentleman admit that there is some injustice in this case? As there is doubt and as there has been dispute about lower payments for married women who, when separated, get very little help from their husbands, does not the case seem more remote and more unjust?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The difficult case which the hon. Member has in mind is not a question of married women generally, but of a woman separated from her husband, perhaps under a deed, who has difficulty, when her circumstances change, in that she is unable to get an increase in the court order made in her favour. That is the kind of situation which arises. It certainly causes hardship in one or two cases, and that is why I gave the Answer that I did.

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