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Widowed Mothers

Volume 640: debated on Monday 8 May 1961

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asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he is aware that a widowed mother is subject, under the National Insurance Act, to the limitations on earnings rule, while a widowed mother receiving a war pension or allowance under the Industrial Injuries Act is not so subject, and that this difference has, in view of the rise in costs of fuel, medicines and other essentials, increased hardship on the former since November, 1960; and what steps he now proposes to take to remedy this.

The answer to the first part of the Question is, "Yes, Sir". But so far as the allegation contained in the latter part of the Question is concerned, I remind the hon. and learned Member that the rates both of widowed mother's personal allowance and of the allowances in respect of her children were substantially increased last month, that the latter are unaffected by the widow's earnings and that the total provision for a widowed mother with three children is now in real terms at a level 82 per cent. higher than in October, 1951.

Would the Minister agree that there is a conflict between these two sets of Statutes, giving rise to a real anomaly and discrimination between the two sets of beneficiaries in the respective circumstances? Will he look into this again with a view to ensuring that that anomaly is avoided?

No. That question is founded on a misapprehension as to the totally different nature of National Insurance, on the one hand, and war pensions and industrial injury benefits, on the other hand.