HC Deb 26 October 1967 vol 751 cc1859-60
4. Mr. Spriggs

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek powers to increase police pensions, and police widows' pensions and orphans' allowances, where members of the Police Force opted to remain under the former provisions of the Police Pensions Act 1948; and if he will make a statement.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Dick Taverne)

Improvements to the police pensions scheme, introduced in 1956, provided for higher widows' pensions in return for increased contributions. Some policemen then serving opted for their dependants to remain subject to the former arrangements. A proposal to increase benefits under those former arrangements is under consideration by the Police Council for Great Britain, which is the appropriate negotiating body.

Mr. Spriggs

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that in the case which I have referred to him the police widow is drawing a pension well below subsistence level? In the event of the Committee of the Police Council recommending higher pensions for such widows, will he lend his weight and authority to agreeing to an increase in pensions?

Mr. Taverne

I cannot say anything about what will be decided by the Police Council. It is not a matter for the Home Office alone. Many authorities are represented on the Police Council and it would not be proper for me in any way to anticipate what will come out of the Police Council.

Dame Irene Ward

I hope that we are not to have another repetition of all the fuss we had to make before to ensure that police widows got adequate, proper and sound treatment. Do not let us have any fluffing on this occasion. Instead let us do what is just for these widows.

Mr. Taverne

The position of those who opted into the post-1956 scheme is different from that of those under the pre-1956 arrangements. As for what will come out of the Police Council, I must give the lion. Lady the same answer as I gave to the last questioner.