§ Mr. John Garrett
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will take steps to extend the conditions for the payment of war pensions which apply to the widows of officers to the widows of other ranks.
§ Mrs. Gillian Shephard
The basic condition for entitlement to a war widows pension, namely, that the husband's death was due to or substantially hastened by service in the armed forces, applies to the widows of officers and the widows of other ranks alike.191W
The hon. Member may be referring to the different provisions which apply to the widows of officers and those of other ranks if they remarry. All war widows pensions cease on remarriage and the widows of other ranks receive a gratuity equal to one year's pension. The widow of an officer does not receive a gratuity but, if she is widowed again, her war widows pension may be restored in whole or in part, subject to her other income. These long-standing provisions have been discussed with organisations representing the interests of war widows, with a view to change, but no consensus emerged on what that change should be.