§ Mr. Wigley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the industrial death pension was last increased; whether he plans to bring back its value in real terms to that which existed when it was introduced; if he will estimate the pension necessary to achieve this; and if he will estimate the approximate annual cost of such an increase.
§ Mr. Newton
The main element of industrial death benefit—the higher permanent rate—was last increased in November 1984 from £34.60 to £36.35 a week. The benefit was introduced in 1948 at £1.50 a week and has since risen in real terms by 112 per cent.
The amount by which this benefit exceeds the national insurance widows pension has been maintained at 55 pence per week since November 1967. To restore the original lead over national insurance widows pension (20p in 1948) in real terms would require a rise of £1.73 to £2.28 a week. This would cost about £2.4 million in a full year. We have no plans for such an increase.