asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the fact that the Committee on Police Widows Pensions reported over a year ago, making unanimous recommendations as to the need for increases in scale and for changes in the regulations regarding certain specified groups, he will expedite decision on these matters and make his own decision if the police authorities and the representatives of the police themselves have failed to agree?
As my hon. Friend is aware, the Committee expressed the view that the main cost of the improvements which they recommended should be met by increased contributions from the police themselves. It is on this issue of principle that it has not proved possible to obtain the agreement of the Police Federation. I will inform my hon. Friend as soon as I am able to make any further statement.
Does not my right hon. Friend think that it is intolerable that numerous police widows should be left in semi-destitution because the police authorities and the representatives of the police cannot agree about how much, if any contribution they will make towards the cost of the reforms which they have urgently pressed for, and is it not about time that the right hon. Gentleman took the responsibility of making his own decision?
No, Sir. I think that if we are going to make people pay for a benefit, they are entitled to be consulted. I am not sure that I am entitled to impose my view. The block arises from the fact that the Police Federation will not agree so far that policemen should make any contribution, and until that block is removed I doubt if progress can be made.