HC Deb 16 March 1951 vol 485 c209W
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.