HC Deb 10 August 1916 vol 85 cc1223-4
63. Mr. BYRNE

asked the Secretary to the Local Government Board if he will state the pension and allowance to dependants in the case of a lieutenant who is certifiable and has been discharged from the Army direct to an asylum, and what in the case of a certifiable private soldier consigned, after discharge, direct to a pauper asylum; is the pension in the former case paid to the patient's petitioner and in the latter case is the amount due for the maintenance of a pauper patient paid by the pension office direct to the asylum authorities; in the event of the latter being transferred, owing to an increase of pension, from the pauper to the private patient class, will the pension be paid to his next of kin as representing the petitioner; and will the rights of the petitioner, as defined by the Lunacy Act, be secured to him?


In the case of a lunatic officer or soldier, the State provision takes the form of retired pay or pension, and there is no special provision for dependants. The legal position is in both cases the same. If the Masters in Lunacy appoint a committee or receiver of the patient's estate, the pension or retired pay is paid in accordance with the terms of the Order. If no such appointment is made, the War Office administers the pension or retired pay, which has to bear the cost of maintenance as a first charge. Any balance is available for the assistance of the patient's dependants. The transfer of a patient to the private patient class does not increase the amount at the disposal of the War Office, and if the additional payment required comes out of the pension, a smaller sum is available for dependants, unless the Statutory Committee makes a supplementary grant.


Will the hon. Gentleman not consider the hardship on dependants of a soldier if he is put into an asylum and they only get the balance of his pension?


The pension of a soldier or officer is intended primarily for his own support, and any balance left over is available for his dependants. The Statutory Committee is empowered to make supplementary grants.