HC Deb 27 July 1915 vol 73 cc2121-4

asked whether the War Office authorities can see their way to give the usual pension to the dependants of Mr. Thomas Morgan, of Seven Sisters, near Neath, who joined the Royal Army Medical Corps early in October last and served at the Western Hospital, Cardiff, but who, as a result of the strain of his duties, suffered a mental collapse and subsequently died in Bridgend Asylum?


I think the hon. Member is misinformed as to there being a "usual pension" in such cases. The scheme is not yet set up.


May I ask if there is any hope for the relatives?


The case is included in the scheme as soon as it is set up.

11 and 13. Mr. R. McNEILL

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether the remuneration of clerks to pension committees for work in connection with the investigation of Army and Navy separation allowance claims is at the rate of 2s. 6d. for each of the first fifty claims and 1s. for every subsequent claim in each quarter of the year; if he will say what sums have been paid or are payable for such work to the clerks of the pension committees for London, Manchester, Glasgow, Dublin, and Cardiff, respectively; and (2) how many claims for Army and Navy separation allowances were reported upon by pension officers in each of the quarters ended 31st December, 1914, 31st March, 1915, and 30th June, 1915, respectively; how many claims in the same periods, respectively, were considered by pension committees; and what sums have been paid or are payable to clerks of pension committees for their work in connection with such claims in each of the same periods, respectively?


The approximate numbers of claims and applications for reconsideration of claims, to Army and Navy separation allowances for dependants, reported upon by pension officers in the quarters ended 31st December, 1914, 31st March, 1915, and 30th June, 1915, are 226,000, 304,000, and 284,000 respectively. I am unable to say how many claims were considered by pension committees and sub-committees in the same periods. The remuneration of the clerks of pension committees and sub-committees for this work is at the rates stated by the hon. Member. Complete accounts of the fees payable to the clerks have not yet been rendered by them, and information as to the amount payable in respect of any of the three quarters in question is not, therefore, at present available.

12 and 14 Mr. R. McNEILL

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether pension officers are entitled to any and, if so, what addition to their ordinary remuneration for their work in the investigation of claims for Army and Navy separation allowances; whether he is aware that, on account of the increase in the ordinary work of the pension officers and the difficulty in augmenting the staff in war time, their duties in connection with separation allowances involve overtime work; whether he is aware that all other Civil servants of the same grade as pension officers, including those in the same Department, have been paid overtime throughout the past twelve months when doing extra work; whether he proposes to pay pension officers overtime on the same scale as other Civil servants for their work in the investigation of separation allowance claims; and (2) whether the work of investigating and deciding upon claims for Army and Navy separation allowances has since the beginning of the War been discharged by pension officers, while a small percentage of such claims, namely, those in which the claimants are dissatisfied with the award of the pension officers, have come under review by the pension committees; whether, notwithstanding that the work thus thrown upon the pension officers has been exceedingly onerous, involving for the most part overtime work, pension officers have received no additional remuneration for this work; whether the clerks to the pension committees have received, and continue to receive, additions to their ordinary remuneration for their work in relation to separation allowances; and whether he proposes to take any steps to remedy the grievance referred to?


The function of the pension officers in connection with claims to Army and Navy separation allowances for dependants is not to decide upon the claims but to investigate and report as to the fact and degree of dependence. I fully recognise the demands which have been made upon the pension officers in consequence of this addition to their duties, and the question of awarding special remuneration for it will be considered. The matter cannot, however, be settled without consideration of other Departments where there has been war pressure, and I am not at present in a position to announce my decision. I would remind the hon. Member that the clerks of pension committees are in a different position. They are not, like the pension officers, whole-time employés, and are paid fees to cover out-of-pocket expenses.


Does it all come to the fact that one set of officers are getting no pay for very heavy work and that the others who are doing very little work are getting very heavy pay?


No, Sir, I do not think I can agree with that description.


Is that not to be inferred from the right hon. Gentleman's answer?


I do not think so.


Is it not a fact that in many cases the work of these pension officers is not at all appreciated by the persons whom they examine?


I believe the pension officers' work is most excellently done.

Major-General Sir IVOR HERBERT

Could the right hon. Gentleman give instructions to pension officers to act more closely in concert with local committees? There have been many cases in which that is not the case, and the difficulty is thereby increased.


I shall be glad if my hon. and gallant Friend will bring any particular case to my notice, and I shall be glad to inquire into it.