asked the Minister of Pensions what are the provisions available for the widows of totally disabled and unemployable ex-Service men in cases where his Department cannot award a widow's pension, and there is no entitlement to a pension under National Insurance because of the man's inability to contribute by reason of his extreme disablement and unemployability.
I have no power to award a pension to the widow of a war pensioner whose death was not in any way related to the effects of his war service. I understand from my right hon. Friend, the Minister of National Insurance, that though a widow's pension can be awarded under the National Insurance Act only if the necessary contribution conditions are satisfied, he is prepared to review the circumstances of any case which the hon. Member has in mind to see if the insurance conditions can be regarded as satisfied. As I said in the course of the Debate on 26th April last, however, a widow who is ineligible for either pension may, if she is in need obtain assistance from the National Assistance Board.
Could not my right hon. Friend go a little further and produce some definite regulations on this point, in view of the fact that it is the general wish of everyone in the country that the widow of a man who is 100 per cent. disabled and disqualified from coming under the provisions of the National Insurance scheme should not have to go to the National Assistance Board when her husband dies?
As I said recently, we have made one advance in abolishing the distinction which existed previously between a death hastened by, and a death caused by war service. At the moment the number of cases coming forward of the type which the hon. Gentleman has in mind is comparatively few, and I have no evidence to show that if they go to the Assistance Board they are not received in a most sympathetic way.