HC Deb 03 March 1921 vol 138 cc1974-5
1. Captain TERRELL

asked the Minister of Pensions how many cases there have been in which an ex-service man or his widow have claimed a pension which has been refused on the ground that the disability was not the result of war service; and whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction which some of these decisions are causing?

Colonel GIBBS

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions (Mr. Macpherson) is not able to be here to-day and has asked me to reply to his questions.

The number of cases in which pension has been refused to an ex-service man on the ground that the disability for which he claims was not due to service is 257,000. In the case of widows, the records of the Ministry do not show refusals before 1st April, 1920. The number of rejections since that date is 6,900. In all cases of refusal, whether of men or of widows, there is a right of appeal.


asked the Minister of Pensions if he is aware of the dissatisfaction felt both by local pension committees and by ex-service men as regards the awards of disability pensions; and can he see his way to recommend the Government to so remodel the present system as to ensure a greater feeling of confidence in the public mind with the ultimate awards?

Colonel GIBBS

I am not aware of any grounds for dissatisfaction with the present system under which pensions are awarded in accordance with the amount of disablement due to service, the man having the right of appeal to a Medical Appeal Board on the question of assessment and to an independent tribunal on the question of attributability.


Would it not be possible to put a little more humanity into the replies of this Department? There is something very curt and heartless about an official negative.

Colonel GIBBS

I will forward the suggestion to the proper quarter.

6. Colonel Sir A. HOLBROOK

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware of the unrest and dissatisfaction which exists amongst widows, dependants, and disabled men in connection with the present rates of disability pensions, which do not allow them to live in comfort; and whether, seeing that the grant of supplementary allowances in certain cases amounts to an admission of the inadequacy of the present flat rate, he will consider the desirability of increasing the pension to men totally disabled and to the widows and children of men who fell in the War?

Colonel GIBBS

I have to refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the answer which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Smethwick on the 28th February, of which I am sending him a copy. The supplementary allowances which my hon. and gallant Friend has in mind are no doubt those made by the Special Grants Committee, which are intended to provide for exceptional cases of hardship.

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