HC Deb 30 October 1919 vol 120 cc856-8
12. Major GLYN

asked the Pensions Minister what is the present estimated sum of money paid out each month in pensions to disabled and discharged men and dependants, respectively; what is the present estimated cost each month for the administration and issue of this money; and how many individuals are concerned under these three headings?

The MINISTER of PENSIONS (Sir Laming Worthington-Evans)

There are 957,000 disabled officers and men to whom payment of pensions, gratuities or allowances is being made at the rate of £3,970,000 a month. This sum includes the cost of the allowances paid in respect of 670,000 children of disabled men. There are 930,000 widows, children and other dependants of deceased officers and men, to whom payment is being made at the rate of £2,609,000 a month. The monthly cost of administration by the Ministry of Pensions, including fees to medical boards, hospital staffs, etc., is £260,000. The expenditude by the local war pensions committees on advances, allowances, etc., is at the rate of £1,742,000 a month, and the administration expenses of the committees is approximately £83,000 a month.

The total expenditure on benefits is, therefore, £8,321,000 a month, and on administration £343,000 a month. Admini- strative expenses (including the medical charges I have mentioned) amount, therefore, to 4 per cent of benefits. All the figures I have given are approximate.

The number of the staff (other than that of local war pensions committees) is 17,815. I am unable to say the numbers employed by the Committees.

Major GLYN

Is it anticipated that the cost of the administration is likely to rise in the near future?


No; I do not think it should rise, I think in a few months it ought to drop.


Is that calculation on the basis of a calendar or lunar month?


It is taken on a four-weekly basis, I think, but I will let my hon. Friend know.


asked the Pensions Minister whether No. 51711, Sapper Nathaniel Robertson, Royal Engineers, was discharged from the Army on medical grounds and died two months after discharge; whether an Army discharge on medical grounds is a qualification for a pension; whether he is aware that his widow, with five children to keep, has no pension, and is in receipt of relief from the parochial authorities; and whether anything can be done to award a pension?


The first application for pension in this case was made on 30th September, 1219, in a letter in which the widow states that her husband was discharged on medical grounds 5th December, 1914, and died 28th July, 1915, she explains that she did not apply before because she thought she was not entitled to pension as the man died at home. The usual steps are being taken to investigate her claim, and notification that it is under consideration has been sent to the local war pensions committee. The discharge of a soldier on medical grounds is not in itself sufficient to entitle his widow to pension, the actual cause of death, and the connection between that cause and the man's Army service being material factors.


asked the Pensions Minister whether W. M'Dermott, No. 327035, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, was under treatment in Norwich War Hospital, and while there during the night fell through an open window at his bed- side a distance of 30 feet, causing an injury to his spine; whether he was placed on treatment and paid an allowance by the local war pensions committee; is he aware that this allowance has been stopped, although this man is still receiving treatment, pending his admission to the Western Infirmary, Glasgow, for an operation to his spine; and what steps he is prepared to take to enable this ex-soldier to maintain his wife and family without having recourse to parochial relief?


I have found it necessary to communicate with the Scottish Regional Headquarters of the Ministry on this matter. I will inform the hon. Member of the result.


asked the Pensions Minister if his attention has been directed to the case of Sidney Henry Dyer who, when charged at the London sessions with shop-breaking, was stated to be receiving a pension of 11s. per week for war disablement, resulting from wounds which prevented him from doing any work; whether he is aware that the judge released this man on the ground that it was impossible for him to maintain himself honestly; and if lie will state what action has been taken in the matter?


Mr. Dyer's position is that he is prevented by his disablement from resuming his prewar occupation, but having considerable working capacity left to him cannot be-awarded pension at total disablement rate. If the reports in the Press are correct, the magistrate appears to have been ignorant of the training scheme and to have thought that in such circumstances as these the only method of supplementing the pension is resort to crime. The alternative offered by the Government and accepted by many thousands of pensioners is training in some new occupation. Mr. Dyer has now consented to undergo a course of training as switchboard attendant and during the period of the course he will draw an allowance, in lieu of pension, of at least 40s. a week.


Is the right hon. Gentleman taking any other action in the matter?


I am afraid it is not for me to take action; but I am calling the attention of the Home Secretary to the matter.

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