§ Richard Younger-Ross
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) under the post-1978 police pension scheme, what percentage of the contributions is calculated to cover payments to widows of retired officers; and what the actuarial estimate is of the number of widows as a percentage of total claimants of the pension; 
(2) what the average payment made to the widow of a retired police officer under the pre-1978 police pension scheme was in the last 12 months for which figures are available; 
(3) under the pre-1978 police pension scheme, what percentage of the contributions was calculated to cover payments to widows of retired officers; and what the actuarial estimate of the number of widows was as a percentage of total claimants of the pension. 
§ Mr. Denham
Figures for the average payment to the widow of a retired police officer or for the number of such widows are not available centrally. From a survey undertaken in 1996 the Government Actuary's Department has estimated that 7 per cent. of actual pensions expenditure at the time represented payments to widows and widowers of former officers. It is estimated that the present-day figure would be about 8 to 9 per cent.
As the changes to spouses' benefits over the final quarter of the last century feed through into payment, it is estimated that the proportion of pensions expenditure they represent will rise to over 15 per cent. over the next 30 years. The Government Actuary's Department estimates that the present cost of new-entrant benefits accruing to be 32 per cent. of pay of which about a third (11 per cent. of pay) is contributed by the officer in service. The total cost attributable to spouses' benefits is about 5 per cent. of pay.978W
It is not possible to identify all the earlier corresponding figures, but the employee contribution rate in 1978 for male officers was 7 per cent. This rate was set in 1972 for benefits which included accruing thereafter a widow's half-rate pension. Before 1972 male officers were paying contributions either at a rate of 5 per cent. for benefits which included a widow's flat-rate pension, if they had elected to stay on this pre-=1956 benefit, or at a rate of 6.25 per cent. for benefits including a widow's third-rate pension.