Skip to main content

Unmarried Pensioners

Volume 530: debated on Monday 12 July 1954

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he is aware that men and women old-age pensioners are living together, unmarried, because their pensions would be cut by as much as 19s. a week if they married; and if he will take steps to introduce legislation at an early date to remove this penalty which acts as a deterrent to old people remarrying.

This position only arises where the woman is a widow drawing a pension on her late husband's insurance. It is inherent in the scheme of widows' benefits that they cease on remarriage, and I do not think that the kind of case mentioned by the hon. Member affords any adequate grounds for abandoning this principle.

Is the Minister aware that this policy of encouraging old people of opposite sexes to live together, unmarried, is wrong, and that I know of cases where this state of affairs exists in order that a greater income may be enjoyed? Does he not agree that there should be no reduction for couples who elect to get married in such cases?

There is no reduction of any sort where each of the couple is entitled to a pension in his or her own right by virtue of his or her own contributions, but I do not think it is possible to modify the rule that a widow's pension ceases on remarriage, because, in that case we should get very attractive widows compiling for themselves a very substantial income out of the fund.