§ Mr. Bowden
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the amount of the compensation paid weekly to a widow of a former private soldier whose husband was killed as a result of services in (a) the 1939–45 war and (b) Northern Ireland, or after 31st March 1973; and what estimates he makes of the cost of providing equity of compensation for widowhood resulting from service in Her Majesty's Forces irrespective of the date or place in which the widowhood was sustained.
§ Mr. Alfred Morris
My Department pays the widow of a private a standard pension of £17.20 a week (£19.80 from 15th November). Additional allowances can be paid for those with children and for elderly widows. The date of widowhood does not affect the rate of these war widows' pensions.
As to (b(i)), the Ministry of Defence makes the widow of a private killed in Northern Ireland between 1st August 1969 and 31st March 1973 an ex-gratia payment of £9.26 a week.
As to (b(ii)), the Ministry of Defence under its Armed Forces Pension Scheme introduced in March 1973, pays the widow of a private killed now as a result of service a pension of £19.48 a week in addition to the war widow's pension paid by my Department. Allowances can also be paid for up to four children.
The cost of bringing war widows' pensions paid by my Department up to the total rates received by those who benefit also under the Armed Forces Pension Scheme of the Ministry of Defence is estimated at about £100 million a year.