HC Deb 19 April 1923 vol 162 cc2223-4
23. Mr. GRUNDY

asked the Minister of Pensions whether the new Article 17 of the Warrant is designed to admit a greater number of widows to benefit; is he aware that, in view of the fact that the degree of disablement entitling a widow to benefit has been raised to 50 per cent., at which rate only 60,000 pensions are in issue compared with 430,000 at 40 per cent., the result will be to disqualify a much larger number of widows from any pension whatever?


I would remind the hon. Member that the new Article 17 must be read in conjunction with the other amendments of the Regulations and practice of the Ministry in regard to widows' claims, as indicated in the announcement which I made to the Press in January last, and of which a copy was quoted in my reply to the hon. Member for the Deritend Division of Birmingham (Mr. Smedley Crooke) on 22nd March. In cases where the man's death was wholly due to his war service, whatever his rate of disablement, the widow will be given pension at the rate of Article 11 without any time limit whatever.

The new Article 17 enables a much higher rate of pension to he granted than was provided by the old Article in the case of the widows of those pensioners who died many years after discharge from service, in cases where the war disability, being in its nature and extent such as was likely to have materially diminished the man's working and physical powers, has contributed to his death. Having regard to the class of case in view, the minimum limit of 50 per cent. as the qualifying rate of disability pension was thought proper in place of the former rate of 40 per cent. It is not the case, as suggested in the question, that 430,000 men are assessed at the rate of 40 per cent. The number assessed at this rate is, at the present time, 64,000.