§ Mr. Viggers
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will consider ways of improving the position of widows of Service personnel who are not eligible for pensions, by reason of their late husbands' discharge from the Services prior to 1st September 1950.
§ Mr. Judd
The hon. Member is referring to the widows of Service men below the rank of warrant officer Class I whose husbands retired from the service or died before the introduction of the Forces Family Pensions Scheme in September 1950. There are various groups of pensioners, widows and dependants who are more or less affected when improvements are introduced from time to time into occupational pension schemes; such improvements take effect for those actively engaged in the occupation at the time of their introduction, but have not been applied retrospectively to existing pensioners or their dependants. There are, of course, practical problems, as well as difficulties of principle and cost, about singling out one or other group for special treatment. However, I am considering whether something can be done to help these particular widows.