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Widows' Pensions

Volume 387: debated on Thursday 25 March 1943

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asked the Minister of Health the number of widows deprived of widows' pensions in cases where the husband has not made the necessary 104 contributions and give figures for each of the past five years?

I regret that the particulars asked for are not available, as rejected claims to widows' pensions under the Contributory Pensions Acts are not classified according to the specific ground of rejection.

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware of the great hardships that exist in some of these cases, because no allowance is made for the circumstances responsible for the failure to make the necessary contributions? Would he consider taking action to ease the position?

My hon. Friend will know that this has been a matter of discussion from the beginning of the Acts and that wherever you draw the line, there are bound to be difficulties.

Could not the right hon. Gentleman obtain the particulars asked for, so that we shall know the exact position when we discuss the Beveridge Report? Could he not see whether it is possible to do away with the contributions?

As the rejected claims are not classified according to the ground of rejection I do not see how I can do that.

In view of the fact that old age pensioners can make good arrears of contribution, could not the right hon. Gentleman extend the same facility to widows?