§ Mr. McQuarrie
asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he has any plans to grant the widows of service men killed before 1973 the two pensions now being paid to widows of service men killed after 1973; and if he will make a statement;
(2) how many persons are widows of members of the armed forces killed before 1973; what would be the total cost of paying them pensions as paid to widows of service men killed after 1973; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Wiggin
At 31 December 1982 there were 65,561 war pensions in payment by the Department of Health and Social Security to widows of former members of the 235W Armed Forces. It is unfortunately not possible to identify those pensions which relate to deaths before 1973, but it is estimated that if all service widows husbands died before 31 March 1973 as a result of their service were to receive the additional pension which, since that date, has been awarded by my Department in those circumstances, the cost would be in the region of £180 million a year. There are no plans to introduce such an improvement.