asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the difficult circumstances in which the widows of police officers find themselves in the presence of increased cost of living, he will consider additions to existing rates of pensions.
I should not be justified in introducing any legislation on this particular subject in advance of, and in isolation from, consideration of the general questions arising from the impact of the Government's National Insurance proposals on existing police pensions provisions. I would remind the hon. Member that widows of police officers who comply with the conditions of the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1944, are entitled to benefit under the provisions of that Act.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are many pitiful cases among the widows of these police officers, and would he represent to the Minister of National Insurance that in the preparation of the scheme this matter should be considered?
I am already in communication with my right hon. Friend on this subject.
Is the Home Secretary aware that the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1944, expires in December of this year and that it was a very unsatisfactory Act at the best? Will he use his good offices with the Treasury to see that when the Bill is re-introduced for extension it is a very much better Bill than that which was passed in 1944?
I will bear my hon. Friend's suggestion in mind.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is either three or four years since a Commission appointed by the Government passed a unanimous report in favour of greatly increasing the pensions?
Police pensions cannot be considered in isolation from the others.