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Tuesday, 10 November 1959

Mr Ward asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -

1.   Are widows over the age of 50 years, who possess no income or property and have no children under the age of sixteen years, paid a widow's pension which is considerably less than the age and invalid pensions?

2.   Do women over the age of 50 years, with no recent experience in outside employment, find it extremely difficult, and in most cases impossible, to find employment?

3.   If so, will he recommend to the Government that action be taken to raise these pensions to the same rate as that paid to aged and invalid persons?

Mr Roberton - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   The maximum rate of class B widow's pension, generally payable to widows 50 years of age or over who have no children in their care, is £4 2s. 6d. a week. The maximum general rate of age and invalid pension is £4 15s. a week.

2.   Conjecture on the employment prospects of women is outside the scope of my department.

3.   The rates of age, invalid and widows' pensions have just recently been reviewed by the Government and increases granted the seventh time since this Government assumed office. Recommendations cannot be anticipated.

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