HL Deb 13 May 1982 vol 430 cc411-2WA
Lord Chelwood

asked Her Majesty's Government:

  1. (i) what has been the annual decrease within the age brackets (a) 60–70; (b) 70–80; and (c) over 80, in the number of widows in receipt of a war widow's pension since 1958;
  2. (ii) whether they will give an estimate of the number of war widows over 80 who are not in receipt of a state retirement pension, but who are receiving supplementary benefits, and of the annual cost of these benefits, at the latest available date;
  3. (iii) what was the annual rate of the basic private's war widow's pension in 1945; and what increases have been given since then with the effective dates;
  4. (iv) on what date the allowances payable to the war widow of a private at the ages of 65 and 70 were first introduced; and what increases have been given since then, with the effective dates;
  5. (v) how many women are in receipt of a state retirement pension based solely or partly on their own contributions, showing the two categories separately.

Lord Trefgarne

(i) Figures are not available in this form before 1972. Annual net decreases are as follows:

Age 60–70 Age 70–80 Over 80
1972 672 781
1973 17 946
1974 1,051
1975 843
1976 221 1,054
1977 968 820
1978 1,005 462
1979 1,224 731
1980 777 436
1981 1,428 358

(ii) At December 1980 (the latest date for which figures are available) it is estimated that about 1,000 war widows were in this category. The annual cost would be about £250,000.

(iii) The standard rate war widow's pension for the widow of a private in 1945 was £1.625 a week and currently it is £38.45, effective from 23rd November 1981. The rates during the intervening period are given in Table 36.02 of Social Security Statistics 1981 which is available in the Library.

(iv) Age 70 allowance was first introduced on 1st June 1959 and age 65 allowance on 20th September 1971. The current rates are £7.50 and £3.75 a week respectively, effective from 23rd November 1981. Earlier rates are given in the War Pensioners' Annual Reports which are available in the Library.

(v) At June 1981 it is estimated that about 1,788,000 women were in receipt of a retirement pension based solely on their own contributions. About 46,000 received retirement pensions based partly on their own contributions.