§ Mr. Willetts
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department plans to lower the age at which the bereavement allowance is paid to widows. 
§ Mr. Pond
Bereavement benefits were introduced on 9 April 2001, and for the first time extended support to both widows and widowers following the death of a spouse. These new benefits concentrate the help available where it is most needed; on immediate needs and on families with children.
The bereavement payment is a lump sum payment of £2,000 payable immediately to help with costs arising on bereavement. Widowed parent's allowance is a weekly benefit payable to widowed parents who satisfy the qualifying conditions. In addition bereavement allowance is a weekly benefit payable, for 52 weeks following widowhood, to widows and widowers aged 45 and over without dependant children.
We have no plans to change these arrangements.