asked the Home Secretary whether, as the failure to implement the recommendations of the Departmental Committee on Police Widows' Pensions is due to the refusal of the Police Federation to agree to increased contributions from the police and as such contributions could not be used to supplement the pensions of existing widows, he will take steps to supplement the pensions of widows existing at the date of publication of the Committee's report?
It would not be right for me to make any statement on this particular point in advance of a general statement about the main recommendations of the Snell Committee.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that many existing police widows are suffering considerable hardship, and is it fair to delay dealing with their problem until other matters which are not their concern are settled?
I think it would be an impossible position if I made a concession to women who are widows of policemen at a particular date and refused to do anything for the widow of a policeman who became a widow the day after.
Has not the Minister some responsibility, for the welfare of women who, according to the report of his own Committee, are suffering serious privation, and need they wait more than a year before the Minister does anything about it because he cannot get complete agreement from the Police Federation?
The report was based on the principle that the police must contribute, and that subject is under discussion. There will be a meeting of the Police Council in December, and I hope, although I cannot be sure, to make a statement soon after.