2. Captain TERRELL
asked the Minister of Pensions whether in all cases when the appeal of an ex-service man, as distinct from an officer, is under consideration, steps are taken to ensure that on the Appeal Tribunal there is always an ex-service man as a member of the deciding body?
§ Colonel GIBBS
The answer is in the affirmative. The constitution of the Tribunals is regulated by Statute, which provides that in such cases one of the members of the Tribunal shall be a disabled ex-service man.
§ 3. Mr. WATERSON
asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that many demobilised service men have died from various diseases which they had contracted during war service, the final stages only developing in civilian life; if he will state if anything can be done for the widows and children of such de- 1976 ceased men beyond the appeal to the House of Lords Appeal Tribunal; and if he will state the number of such appeals dealt with, stating the number successful or otherwise?
§ Colonel GIBBS
The Appeal Tribunals have heard and decided 1,978 appeals lodged by widows against decisions by the Ministry that the disease from which the husband died was not contracted in or aggravated by his service. Of those appeals, 523 were allowed and 1,253 rejected. The decisions of the Tribunals are declared by the War Pensions (Administrative Provisions) Act, 1919, to be final.
§ Mr. WATERSON
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many of these appeals that have gone to the Appeal Tribunal have been turned down, thereby inflicting great hardship on the widows, particularly when the doctor's certificate of death certifies that the disease was contracted during military service?
§ Mr. LAWSON
Does the Tribunal consider the man's medical sheet during his service, and is due weight given to the local doctor's opinion?
As the hon. and gallant Gentleman cannot answer, Why is not the Minister of Pensions here? Is he electioneering? Could he not choose another day for that? [HON. MEMBERS: "Penistone!"]