HC Deb 14 July 1919 vol 118 c20
87. Major Earl WINTERTON

asked the Pensions Minister for what reason the letters and telegrams sent by the county of West Sussex War Pensions Local Committee (Horsham branch) in the case of the late W. T. Garner, 10, Cross Keys, Crawley, Sussex, late No. 357,879, private, Royal Army Service Corps, were not answered; is he aware that the committee in question informed his Department on 27th March that the man was slowly sinking and that the delay in his case was preying on his mind; and is he aware that nothing was done by the Ministry of Pensions and that Mr. Garner died on 3rd July?


I regret that there has been mishandling of the correspondence in the case. My right hon. Friend will personally investigate it. But having regard to the nature of Mr. Garner's illness and the fact that he was drawing weekly advances of 25s. in anticipation of the award of pension, I cannot believe that the postponement of the decision hastened his death. Every effort is being made to overtake the accumulated arrears of appeals; at present twelve tribunals are sitting and decisions are being given in approximately 500 appeal cases per week.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the statement that this man's death was hastened by postponement of his case was made by the local war pensions committee and is based on the signed statement of the doctor? In view of the serious allegation will he have an immediate investigation into the case, and will he deal with the points in a private letter making certain accusations by the local war pensions committee against his own Department?


My right hon. Friend himself has personally investigated the whole of this case, and he has taken and is taking drastic action.