HC Deb 29 June 1964 vol 697 cc931-2
30. Miss Herbison

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance in view of the facts that the balance in the Industrial Injuries Fund at the beginning of the financial year 1962–63 was £288,093,000 and that there was an increase in the fund at the end of that financial year of £16,433,000, if he will make a substantial increase in the death benefits paid to widows under the Industrial Diseases (Benefit) Acts 1951 and 1954, as amended.

Mr. Wood

No, Sir. It has always been planned that the income of the Industrial Injuries Scheme should substantially exceed its expenditure in its early years in order to build up a fund, so that income and expenditure may be in balance when the scheme reaches maturity.

Miss Herbison

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the widows mentioned in the Question suffer grave hardship on the death of their husbands? Is he not aware that such husbands and wives often have an income on which they can live fairly comfortably, but that when the husband dies from these diseases the widow's income is immediately reduced to £ 7s. 6d. with the very small sum which she gets from the Pneumoconiosis Board?

Mr. Wood

The hon. Lady has directed my attention to the Acts of 1951 and 1954, whose purpose, as she knows very well, was to put the widows concerned in broadly the same financial position as industrial injuries widows. This has been effected by the payment of death benefit to them which, together with the National Insurance widow's pension, brings them to about the same level as the industrial injuries widow. If they were given any further payment out of the Fund, they would have an advantage over industrial injuries widows, which would not be correct.