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Contributory Pensions Act

Volume 237: debated on Thursday 3 April 1930

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59.

asked the Minister of Health if, with a view to assisting all widows and orphans of insured persons who died after 4th January, 1926, he will bring in the necessary legislation to repeal condition (b) of Section 5 of the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, thereby abolishing the average contribution test in all cases, instead of limiting this privilege to those persons mentioned in Section 6, sub-section (2), of the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1929?

I am afraid that no further relaxation of the condition referred to than is provided for in subsection (2) of Section 6 of the Contributory Pensions Act, 1929, could be justified when regard is had to the fact that the object of the condition is to, secure that the widows who receive pensions under the contributory scheme are within the class for which these pensions were designed, namely, widows of men who were genuinely of the insurable class.

Does the Minister of Health remember how he complained of this condition a year ago?

62.

asked the Minister of Health how many widows have been refused a widow's pension on the ground that their late husbands had not made the necessary number of contributions to the National Health Insurance Scheme; and whether he contemplates at an early date presenting legislation that will place such widows in as favourable a position as the widows of men who had made no contributions to the scheme?

As regards the first part of the question, information is not available as to the number of widows who have failed to secure pensions because the necessary number of qualifying contributions were not paid by or in respect of their husbands; as regards the second part, the matter was exhaustively discussed on the Committee stage of the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Bill, 1929, and for the reasons then given I am not prepared to introduce legislation on the lines suggested.

How long will these widows have to wait for the pension which the right hon. Gentleman promised them?

May I ask whether widows over 55 years of age, whose husbands died since the introduction of the Act without paying a sufficient number of contributions, are being treated differently from the widows whose husbands died before the Act?

71.

asked the Minister of Health how many widows are excluded from the provisions of the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1929?

77.

asked the Minister of Health whether he has received a copy of a recent resolution passed at the annual general meeting of the National Federation of Employés' Approved Societies, demanding that the whole system of National Health Insurance and Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions be reviewed with a view to simplification, and for provision to be made for ail persons to have an equal opportunity of being insured on equal terms; and what action he proposes to take?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The matter comes within the scope of the Committee engaged on a general survey of existing insurance and pensions legislation.