§ 21. Mr. HAYDAY
asked the Minister of Pensions what is the number of pensions committees appointed under the the War Pensions Act, 1921, and the number of local and district sub-committees in existence previously: whether he is aware that as a result of the reduction of bodies, particularly in rural areas, ex-service men have been deprived of the advice and assistance of local representatives of the Ministry in preparing their claims; and whether he can state the number of soldiers' friends appointed by his Department in accordance with the promise to the House during the Committee stages of the War Pensions Act, 1921?
§ Major TRYON
The total number of war pensions committees to be established under the War Pensions Act, 1921, is 166, of which 146 have already been established and the remainder will be established by the end of the year. There were formerly 383 local committees and 649 district and local sub-committees. I am not aware that as a, result of the reduction of committees ex-service men have been deprived of advice and assistance.
One of the functions of the committees established under the Act of 1921 is to take steps to secure the assistance and co-operation of voluntary workers, particularly in rural districts, and the committees are now taking steps to this end. These voluntary workers will act in every way as soldiers' friends.
§ Mr. HAYDAY
Will the right hon. Gentleman hasten the arrangements, because I can assure him that there is hardship?
§ Major TRYON
I have been going into that matter. I am proceeding with the formation of these groups of voluntary workers as rapidly as possible.