§ 13 and 14. Dame Irene Ward
asked the Secretary of State for War (1) on what basis widows of warrant officers and other ranks at present receive pensions on a lower scale than the National Insurance pension, having regard to recent increases in this pension without additional contributions; on what principles it was decided that Service widows should not have a comparable increase for the same reasons which governed the increase in the National Insurance pension; and if he will take appropriate action;
(2) on what basis widows of officers of certain ranks at present receive pensions on a lower scale than the National Insurance pension and below, in some instances, the National Assistance scale, having regard to recent increases in these rates of benefit without additional contributions from the beneficiaries; and if he will give an assurance that an appropriate increase on the same basis of calculation will be given to officers' widows.
§ Mr. Soames
The rates of all Service pensions are reviewed from time to time. The rates of Service widows' pensions are related to the rank and service of the husband, and may be drawn in addition to National Insurance widows' pensions.
§ Dame Irene Ward
Yes, but that does not always apply to those who are too old to have contributed to the National Insurance Scheme, so may I, on the first Question, ask my right hon. Friend why it is that money is being paid from the Treasury to balance the fund and why other widows should not be able to get equal benefit from the Treasury? In regard to officers' wives, is my right hon. Friend aware that the basic pension was not increased for 100 years? Why, therefore, should they have had only one increase when everyone else has had a large number of increases?
§ Mr. Soames
As my hon. Friend knows well, Service pensions are an inter-Service matter.' I am afraid I have 404 nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence said to the hon. Lady last month in answer to a Question.