HC Deb 03 April 1973 vol 854 cc206-7
5. Mr. John Hannam

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will award war widows' pensions to all those whose ex-Service husbands died before 3rd September 1939.

Mr. Dean

War widows' pensions are awarded by my Department only in cases where the husband's death was due to or hastened by service before 30th September 1921 or after 2nd September 1939. The Ministry of Defence is responsible for claims arising out of service during the intervening period.

Mr. Hannam

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Is he aware that there is a small and dwindling group of widows of ex-Service men of the First World War who married after their husbands were discharged from the forces and subsequently remarried after their first husband's death and are not eligible for a war widow's pension? I refer particularly to the case of Mrs. Williams, whose husband was a soldier in the First World War and was killed in action. Mrs. Williams remarried another ex-soldier who subsequently died of injuries received in the First World War and she has not received a pension. Will my hon. Friend give this kind of case particular consideration?

Mr. Dean

I remember the case which my hon. Friend has put to me. The difficulty when one makes improvements is how retrospective they can be because of the difficulty of making the assessment. I take the spirit of my hon. Friend's supplementary question.

Mr. Molloy

Is the Minister prepared to contact the Royal British Legion, which could provide him with interesting data on this and related questions to help him to assess the situation?

Mr. Dean

I am glad to pay tribute to the Royal British Legion for the invaluable help it gives my Department in administering the war pensions scheme and trying to improve it.

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