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Widows (Contributions)

Volume 466: debated on Tuesday 21 June 1949

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asked the Minister of National Insurance if he will give an estimate of the loss of revenue that would be involved by exempting from payment of National Insurance contribution under the 1946 Act, all widows who are over 50 years of age and have not yet attained 60 years of age and who are in receipt of widows' benefit under any previous Acts at the 10s, rate.

The loss of revenue is estimated to be about £1,500,000 a year at the present time, falling to about £500,000 in 10 years' time.

Does that estimate take into consideration the payments that are made by the Assistance Board, which, in turn, has to take into consideration these payments?

No, it applies only, as far as Class I people are concerned to insured persons' contributions, not to those of the employers; and it takes into account the whole contribution of Class II and Class III widows, but not payments by the Assistance Board.

Does that not mean that one department of the same Ministry is in many cases simply paying the contributions to another department?

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is very great hardship caused by these regulations, which take from a widow over 55 who has only 10s. a week, 3s. 8d. of her 10s.? Does he not think that something should be done very quickly for those widows between 55 and 60 years of age?

The position is, of course, that if a widow has an income of less than £104 per annum she may opt out, and is not required to pay the contributions.