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

Below is the text of Mr Major's written Parliamentary Answer on Widows on 28th October 1985.


Mr. Shore Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many pensions are being paid to widows residing in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, of men who worked in the United Kingdom and contributed to the national insurance scheme.

Mr. Major The number of women living in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan receiving national insurance widow's benefit on 2 April 1985, the latest date for which figures are available, was 210, 381 and 951 respectively. Some of the 2,587 retirement pensioners in India, the 1,139 in Bangladesh, and 3,145 in Pakistan will be widows receiving pensions on their late husbands' insurance, but we are unable to identify these separately.

Mr. Shore Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many claims for widows' pensions are currently with his Department from widows residing in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Mr. Major The overseas branch of the Department is currently dealing with 33 widows' benefit claims from widows in India, 171 from widows in Pakistan and 290 from widows in Bangladesh.

Mr. Shore Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what measures his Department has taken to inform and communicate with widows residing in the Indian sub-continent about their entitlement to national insurance widows' pensions.

Mr. Major If details of a wife are held at the time of the death of a male beneficiary, a claim form is sent to the widow wherever she is. In addition special arrangements have been made with the State bank of India and the Sonali bank in Bangladesh to help widows to make claims and to obtain the necessary documentary evidence which is required. Although it has not been possible to make the same arrangements with the Habib bank in Pakistan, it acts as paying agents and gives limited assistance to claimants. The Department also co-operates with representatives of claimants where there are language difficulties. Leaflet FB2, "Which Benefit", is now available in Bengali, Gujerati, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.