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Volume 939: debated on Friday 25 November 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give details of the compensation payable to the widow of an Army private who loses his life in the course of his duty; and how this compares with the compensation of a fireman's widow who loses her husband in the line of duty.

The childless widow of a private whose death is regarded as attributable to service would receive, first, a short-term pension for 91 days equivalent to her husband's rate of military salary. This pension would be affected by his qualifications and length of service. Thereafter she would be entitled to a pension of £1,137 per annum from the Ministry of Defence together with lump sum payments amounting to £3,810, both rates being regardless of length of service. She could also be entitled to a pension from the Department of Health and Social Security.The methods of assessing the pensions for widows of firemen and soldiers are complicated and vary considerably from each other. No direct comparison can therefore be made between attributable benefits payable under the two schemes.