HC Deb 10 October 1916 vol 86 cc12-3
17. Mr. HOGGE

asked the Secretary to the Local Government Board whether he is now in a position to report upon the methods by which the Statutory Committee propose to deal with the care, training, and employment of disabled soldiers and sailors; and, if so, can he give the details?


The methods which the Statutory Committee propose to adopt in dealing with the case of disabled men, including provision for their health, training, and employment, were set out in the circular which was issued to the local committees on the 27th July last. Individual cases must necessarily be dealt with locally, and I am glad to say that all the schemes for constituting the local committees in England and Wales and Scotland have now been approved. Meanwhile the Statutory Committee have agreed with the Insurance commissioners upon a scheme for the medical treatment (including specialist advice) of all disabled sailors and soldiers, whether previously insured or not.

With regard to training, in addition to the special schemes, such as those in operation at Roehampton, Brighton, and St. Dunstan's, the Statutory Committee propose to utilise, so far as possible, the training which is afforded by the local education authorities, and information as to the facilities which can be offered for such training has been obtained from the great majority of technical institutions throughout the country and communicated to the local committees. Further, the assistance of the Chambers of Commerce has been sought by means of a circular sent to them through their association. The Statutory Committee are approaching the Treasury with the view of obtaining sanction for payment of an adequate maintenance grant for the man during his period of training, in addition to the allowance for his wife and family. With reference to employment, the Statutory Committee have made special arrangements with the Board of Trade as to the use of the Labour Exchanges, and of the Department's professional classes register for officers. I may add, however, that the demand for labour is so great and work is so plentiful that there has been little difficulty in employment being obtained.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether the scheme which he says has been sanctioned is to cover the whole of the country?


The scheme which has been sanctioned by the Insurance Commissioners has yet to receive the assent of the Treasury, and covers, as I understand, the whole of the country.


In the event of any disabled soldiers wishing to emigrate, will funds be forthcoming from the State?


That is possible under the regulations of the Committee. It is a matter for the local committees to recommend in the first place and for the Statutory Committee to decide.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there will be any opportunity afforded to this House to consider the scheme?


I think that the Bill must shortly be introduced to place the Statutory Committee in possession of the five millions of money which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has promised to them, and then I think a very adequate debate can take place on the whole question of pensions.