§ Mr. David Atkinson
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his estimate of the remaining numbers of pre-1956 preserved rate police widows and of the cost of implementing the police negotiating board's recommended award for them; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
The number of police widows in England, Wales and Scotland in receipt of preserved-rate pensions whose husbands retired before 1 April 1956 is estimated as 6,500. The initial cost of awarding the increase recommended by the police negotiating board is estimated as £455,000 per annum.
With regret my right hon. Friend felt unable to implement the recommendation because to do so would have been a breach of the long standing principle that entitlement under public service schemes should not be improved retrospectively. Such a breach could not be justified for this group of police widows in isolation from claims on behalf of other groups of public service widows, the cost of meeting which would in total be unacceptably high.