HC Deb 19 July 1923 vol 166 cc2468-9

asked the Minister of Pensions whether, seeing that out of 13,023 cases heard by the assessment appeal tribunal in the six months ending 31st December, 1922, the assessment was increased in 2,500 cases and the final award set aside in 2,500 cases, he will issue instructions to the members of final award boards that in arriving at their decisions every regard must be paid to the prospective condition of men suffering from a temporary or permanent disablement due to war service; and whether he will withdraw Supplement No. 3b to M.P.M.S.D. 57, informing the boards that they are expected to make final awards?


The medical boards concerned have already been instructed in the sense suggested by the hon. Member in the first part of his question. I am not prepared to adopt the suggestion in the last part of the question. The instruction referred to was issued in the interests of disabled men for the reasons which I stated in the course of debate on Committee of Supply on the 5th ultimo.

5. Mr. HILL

asked the Minister of Pensions if he is aware that dissatisfaction exists among ex-service men owing to decisions given by the assessment tribunal committees; seeing that the papers declaring such decisions are worded in language which is ambiguous, will he take measures to so alter the wording as to be understood by the men making the appeals; and will he consider the reversing of the regulations which set aside the final awards so that the men may receive the amounts due to them after winning the appeal, and so do away with the periods of waiting which takes place under the present system?


Steps have already been taken to make clear the meaning of a decision by a tribunal setting aside a final award by incorporating an explanatory note in the official forms on which these decisions are announced. I should like to take this opportunity of again explaining that a final award is simply a final decision by the Ministry as to a man's degree of disablement. If the tribunal set aside a final award their action merely implies that, in their opinion, the case is not, at the time, suitable for a final decision. It does not necesarily mean that the tribunal disagree with the rate at which disablement has been assessed, nor does it imply that any further compensation is immediately payable. In such cases the effect of the tribunal's decision is merely to restore the man to the position he was in before a final award was declared.

Captain BOWYER

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how soon the new change will take place, and the new explanation will be added?


I cannot give the exact date, but we are anxious to get the explanation circulated as soon as possible.