§ 6. Mr. W. SHAW
asked the Minister of Pensions if he will state the number of officers' friends in the employ of his Department; the monthly expenditure incurred in the administration of this branch of his Department, including salaries; the average number of applicants per month to whom advice is given; and whether, in view of the fact that the printed instructions and information given to disabled officers are so explicit, he will consider the advisability of discontinuing this branch of the Ministry of Pensions?
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
The total number of officers' friends at Headquarters and in the Regions is 21. These officers are assisted by a small clerical staff. The monthly cost in salaries of these officers, including their staff, is £834. This amount is exclusive of necessary costs of accommodation, stationery, and 1406 typing. The average number of applicants per month at Headquarters, including those who apply personally and by letter, is 2,500. No figures are available of the numbers dealt with in the Regions, but it may be assumed that they are in proportion to that of Headquarters. Officers' friends perform useful work in visiting hospitals and institutions, where attention is given to wholly disabled officers. Advice and assistance are given in the preparation of claims, not only to serving and demobilised officers, but also to widows and nurses. Several Government Departments consult the Branch, and various organisations who interest themselves in the claims of disabled officers and widows approach it for advice and assistance. I do not consider that the Branch has outgrown its usefulness, but the staff is carefully reviewed at short intervals, and every economy that is possible, without impairment of efficiency, is effected.