Climbdown on war widow plans

Ministers announced a partial climbdown last night over plans to reduce war widows' benefits. The proposals caused furious exchanges in the Commons when they emerged in November's Budget and led to a threatened revolt by some Conservative MPs. It was claimed that pounds 100m could be saved under the plan.

Last night Peter Lilley, the Social Security Secretary, said he still believed that the proposals represented "a sensible and balanced approach." But he added that he had decided not to abolish the war widow's rent allowance for new claims or to stop issuing copies of decisions to third parties involved in claims.