HC Deb 28 February 1918 vol 103 cc1578-9W

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that A. Bilbrough and Company, Mutual Insurance Association, Limited, have offered to the widow of a seaman lost on the steamship "Adela," the sum of £17 13s. 6d. per year pension, and state that the annunity which could be purchased on the £300 workmen's compensation which she and her family are entitled to is £18 Is. 6d., making up the minimum pension of £35 15s., thus evading the spirit of the Compensation Act; if he is aware that in all cases where there are children the £300 is paid into Court and divided amongst the widow and children, the allowance to the widow being £100, which can only purchase an annuity of £6, which added to the amount, £17 3s. 6d., which is now offered to the widow as compensation for the loss of her husband, is only £23 3s. 6d.; whether this attempt to evade the scale of compensation will be sanctioned by his Department ; if he is aware that the full maximum pension is only one-third of pre-war pay and is based on the scale of wages to seamen which existed six months before the War; and if he will issue instructions for the payment, of the maximum pension regardless of the £300 which the widow and family is entitled to under the Workmen's Compensation Act?


In the case referred to the gross amount of the pension payable to the widow under the Government compensation scheme is £35 15s. per annum, and, in addition, there is an allowance of £52 per annum in respect of children under sixteen. Three hundred pounds was paid into Court under the Workmen's Compensation Act, and the annuity value of this sum is taken into account in settling the net amount of the pension to be paid to the widow. This is the principle on which the compensation scheme is based, and I do not think it is either unjust or unreasonable. The sum paid into Court is allocated among the dependants by the County Court Judge or Recorder, and it is not the case that the amount paid to the widow is £100 in all cases. As has previously been pointed out to the hon. Member, an increase has already been made in the minimum pension to widows and allowances to children payable under the Government scheme.