Widows' Pensions

Oral Answers to Questions — National Insurance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th July 1952.

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Photo of Mr Charles Hale Mr Charles Hale , Oldham West 12:00 am, 7th July 1952

asked the Minister of National Insurance upon what basis and under what statute a widow's pension, payable in respect of the loss of her husband during the 1914–18 war, becomes merged in a right to a contributory widow's or retirement pension under the National Insurance Act.

Photo of Mr Osbert Peake Mr Osbert Peake , Leeds North

I assume that the hon. Member has in mind cases where a pension is payable to a widow under the National Insurance Acts at a reduced rate because she has a war widow's pension. This is done by virtue of Regulations under Sections 30 and 65 of the main Act.

Photo of Mr Charles Hale Mr Charles Hale , Oldham West

I am not quite sure what that answer means—I say that quite seriously. Is the Minister aware that what I have in mind is precisely what the Question on the Order Paper says—the case of a widow drawing pension in respect of the loss of her husband in the 1914–18 war—a war widow's pension—who has had her unemployment pay reduced because she is drawing that pension? Is it not abundantly clear that nothing could be more inequitable than to say, "You have qualified for a pension awarded in respect of the 1914–18 war but because of an Act passed in 1946 you are to have your benefits reduced because of something that happened 30 years ago"?

Photo of Mr Osbert Peake Mr Osbert Peake , Leeds North

This Question deals with the super-imposition of a widow's or retirement pension under the Insurance Acts over and above a widow's pension accruing in respect of someone who was killed in the 1914–18 war. The position is complicated. Up to 1939 no duplication was allowed. Since 1939 pensions at reduced rates became payable under the National Insurance Acts in addition to the Service penson, and after 1953 any widow attaining pensionable age will be entitled to duplication of pension in full.

Photo of Mr Charles Hale Mr Charles Hale , Oldham West

Cannot we get together, thrash this out and put it right?