§ 5. Mr. G. BARKER
asked the Minister of Pensions if he has received a communication from the guardians of the Bedwelty union calling his attention to the large proportion of disabled ex-service men among the applicants for Poor Law relief who are compelled to come upon the local rates owing to their pensions being insufficient to maintain them, and that this board of guardians 269 urges upon the Government the desirability of granting full disability pensions to all men with a disability while they are unemployed, in view of the fact that they are doubly handicapped in an overcrowded labour market by reason of their disability arising from war service; and will he take steps to remedy this grievance at the earliest possible moment?
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
Disablement pension is granted as compensation for disablement by injury or disease sustained in war service, and the amount of the pension is regulated solely by the extent of the disablement as assessed from time to time by a medical board with regard to medical considerations alone. Such factors as wages, earning capacity, employment, or unemployment were expressly excluded, with the approval of Parliament, from consideration for pension purposes under the Warrants and Regulations administered by me. Provision for the relief of distress caused by unemployment is made through other Departments, and the Government do not see their way to adopt the suggestion made in the question.
§ Captain LOSEBY
Would the right Iron. Gentleman consider the same proposition in respect of men whose disability was, say, 50 per cent. or more, and whose unemployment was obviously partly contributed to by that fact?
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
I think that would work in the long run adversely to the pensioner, because at present if a pensioner has got a disablement of 100 per cent. we do not interfere, even if he is drawing £ week.