HC Deb 17 December 1959 vol 615 cc1635-6
31. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the outcome of his discussions with the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance regarding the proposal that all coroners' verdicts of death due to, or following, industrial injury should be automatically notified to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance, so that widows do not lose their benefits through failure to claim.

Mr. Vosper

I understand that the hon. Member has received a letter from my right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance explaining our reasons for thinking that the arrangement which he proposes would have a number of disadvantages.

Mr. Allaun

May I thank the Minister and his right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions for the great care they have devoted to this matter but ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he does not feel nevertheless that in clear cases of death from industrial accident the coroner could, and should, notify? As most of these cases are straightforward, could not the coroner be requested, not necessarily compelled, to notify and then could not the Minister, after a few inquiries, advise the widow to apply and thus avoid the unfortunate kind of case to which I have recently drawn the Minister's attention?

Mr. Vosper

As the hon. Member appreciates, my right hon. Friend has no power to direct coroners, but I believe that generally they will respond to the sentiments of the hon. Member. I will see that his remarks are again drawn to the attention of my right hon. Friend.