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1979-1987 : Mr Major’s Written Parliamentary Answer on War Widows

Below is the text of Mr Major's written Parliamentary Answer on War Widows on 14th May 1986.


Mr. Nicholas Winterton Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what recent representations Her Majesty's Government have received concerning the position of pre-1973 war widows in relation to their pension entitlement.

Mr. Major Representations are periodically received by this department and by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence, suggesting that pre-1973 war widows should be entitled to the Ministry of Defence pension currently paid only to widows of service men who served on or after 31 March 1973 and whose death was attributable to service.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the total cost of making available the Ministry of Defence pension to all war widows in addition to the Department of Health and Social Security pension.

Mr. Major I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence that the estimated cost at current rates is in the region of £200 million a year.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has as to the total number of women who became war widows before 1973 in (a) the first world war, (b) the second world war, (c) the Korean war and (d) other conflicts.

Mr. Major The information is not available in the form requested and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Of the 65,000 war widows' pensions in payment in December 1985, 8,000 were for service up to 30 September 1921 and 57,000 for service since 3 September 1939.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has concerning the numbers of war widows who are in receipt only of the Department of Health and Social Security pension.

Mr. Major I shall let my hon. Friend have a reply as soon as possible.