HC Deb 06 June 1921 vol 142 cc1483-4

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to that portion of the Report of the Select Committee on Pensions, which recommended that all officers and other ranks of the Mercantile Marine who served afloat during the War in British merchant vessels should be regarded as having been engaged on War service, provided that such service was performed under circumstances where the normal risks or strain were increased by War conditions; whether this recommendation has yet been adopted by the Government; and, if not, whether immediate attention will be given to the matter?

The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Sir W. Mitchell-Thomson)

As indicated in the reply which I gave to a similar question by my hon. and learned Friend last week, this recommendation has received the careful consideration of His Majesty's Government, and it has now been decided to include within the scope of the War Risks Compensation Scheme for the Mercantile Marine cases where the seaman constantly was in or passed through the danger zone, and it is clearly established on medical evidence to the satisfaction of the Board of Trade that he was subjected to continuous and exceptional strain thereby, that his health was affected by the strain before his discharge from the last ship in which he passed through the danger zone, and that his illness or death can properly be regarded as due to this strain. This decision takes effect from 9th August, 1920, the date of the Select Committee's Report, and payment will accordingly be made from that date.