asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what benefit in cash terms he expects will be received by a female who is widowed in January 1982; and how this compares, both in amount and purchasing power, with the benefit received by a woman in the same circumstances in May 1979.
The personal rate of widows' allowance for the first 26 weeks of widowhood was £27·30 in May 1979 and will be £41·40 in January 1982. At October 1981 price levels the allowance in May 1979 had a purchasing power of £38·40. An earnings-related addition could also have been payable, depending on the late husband's earnings in the relevant tax year. At the end of the period of widows' allowance, entitlement to widows' benefit would depend on the widow's age at widowhood, whether she had dependent children and the earnings and contribution record of her husband over his working life.