asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what consideration is his Department giving to the question of raising the standard rates of pensions for widows; and what possibilities there are for granting increases.
The standard rate of pensions for widows under the National Insurance Acts is included in the consideration to be given to the level of all pensions and benefits. With regard to the second part of the Question, I cannot add anything to the statement I made to the House on 19th March.
Is the Minister not aware that these widows, like old-age pensioners, are finding great difficulty in living on their present rates owing to the policy of the Government of seeking to ration by the purse? Is it not time that the Government got away from such a policy, in the interests of these unfortunate people?
I remind the hon. Member that, in my statement on 19th March, I said:
"It is indeed our aim that, should the finances and the economics of the country permit, the level of benefits and pensions should be restored without delay to the level which they had when the National Insurance Scheme was introduced."—(OFFICIAL REPORT. 19th March, 1954; Vol. 525, c. 816.]