HC Deb 06 March 1918 vol 103 cc1976-8
66. Major DAVIES

asked the Pensions Minister whether he has consulted with the North and South Wales joint statutory committees as to the advisability of forming a national committee to deal with the treatment and training in the case of discharged soldiers residing in Wales and Monmouthshire?


The Joint (Disablement) Committees for North and South Wales have been consulted, and as a result a joint consultative committee for Wales has been formed of representatives of both joint committees. The first meeting of the new joint committee was held on the 23rd ultimo and reviewed the whole subject of treatment and training in Wales. I am hopeful that the combined action thus initiated will have useful results.


asked whether the scale of allowances for the dependants and orphans of sailors and soldiers, as well as the allowances for men discharged from service as permanently disabled, are sufficient to enable them to procure, at present prices, an amount of food equivalent to that recognised by the rationing scale as the minimum on which health and efficiency can be maintained?


The hon. Member knows the scale of pensions and allowances under the Royal Warrants, and I venture to say that he is as competent as I am to judge as to the quantity of food which these pensions and allowances will provide. The adequacy of the present scale as applied to widows and children is now under consideration, as the hon. Member is aware, and in that consideration the high cost of living is, of course, a most material factor.


Will the right hon. Gentleman consider whether it is not more the function of the Ministry of Pensions to deal with the points raised in the question than to throw the responsibility upon the individual members; and if the Ministry of Pensions do not feel competent for the task will they consider the setting up of a Committee, or body, to make a special study of the subject, and give an authoritative reply?


As already indicated, the question of increased allowances is a subject of consideration.


asked how many inspectors have been appointed for the work of the Pensions Ministry in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, and also how many of these inspectors are men who have been discharged from naval or military service on account of wounds or disability?


Only two appointments to the new staff of inspectors have yet been made and both of these have been given to men who have served in the War. Of these two men one has been discharged for wounds or disability. Preference is being given to the claims of disabled men in the selection of candidates for the remaining posts which it is hoped will now shortly be filled.


asked the Pensions Minister if he is aware that the Liverpool Dental Hospital have established a technical school for the training of disabled soldiers and sailors in dental mechanics; and, if so, will he take steps to encourage the establishment of similar technical schools for the same purposes in other towns?


A scheme for the training of discharged sailors and soldiers in dental mechanics at Liverpool Technical Institute is now under consideration. Courses of instruction have been approved, and are being carried on at London, Manchester, Swansea and New-castle-on-Tyne, and every encouragement is being given to the establishment of courses in other towns.

70. General McCALMONT

asked the Pensions Minister whether, in view of the recent conference with regard to pre-war pensions of non-commissioned officers and men, he will now consider the case of widows of officers whose pensions at pre-war rates are equally out of all proportion to the present high rate of living?


The rates of the pensions of widows of officers who lost their lives in previous wars were on a much more liberal scale proportionately than those of the widows of non-commissioned officers and men, and in most cases it has not been nor is it now considered necessary to increase them for the present War.


Is the House to understand that by saying "in most cases" he has considered special cases of this kind Is he aware that there are a large number of widows of officers who were not killed on service, but who still draw a small pension?


At the moment the question raised is not under consideration.