HC Deb 08 February 1960 vol 617 cc2-3
3. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will lower the age a widow must have attained on the death of her husband in order to qualify for a widow's pension.

The Minister of Pensions and National Insurance (Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter)

No, Sir. As my hon. Friend is no doubt aware, this question was very fully considered by the National Insurance Advisory Committee in 1956, which confirmed the view that the present age was appropriate, but which suggested a number of improvements which were effected by the Family Allowances and National Insurance Act of that year.

Mr. Johnson

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that it is very difficult for a widow who has been looking after her home and who has not been in outside employment to find a job when over the age of 45, or even 40, if she has to go out to work on the death of her husband? Could not my right hon. Friend reduce the qualifying age, perhaps to 45?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

That question was gone into very carefully by the Advisory Committee in preparing the Report to which I refered my hon. Friend. The Committee, in fact, had available to it for consideration statistics on this question of obtaining employment.