§ Mr. Wilkes
asked the Minister of National Insurance whether she is aware of the present hardships experienced by the many widows who, under the present regulations, can only receive a pension of 10s. a week; what would be the estimated cost per annum of raising the pension of all widows in receipt of the widows' pension to 26s. a week; and whether, both in view of the high cost of living and the desirability of as many widows as possible making their contribution to industry without suffering a reduction of their pension to 10s. a week, she will review the position.
§ Dr. Summerskill
Many of these widows are working; others can, if necessary, apply to the National Assistance Board for supplementary assistance. To allow widows, as I think my hon. Friend suggests, to draw pensions at the full rate of 26s. while working would mean recasting the existing scheme of widowhood benefits and I could not undertake to do that. The immediate cost of raising to 26s. widows' pensions awarded at the 10s. rate would be about £10 millions a year.