HC Deb 21 February 1924 vol 169 cc1957-9
10. Mr. PIELOU

asked the Minister of Pensions if it is his intention to be responsible for some 600 ex-service men who are suffering from mental trouble, who are, at the moment, under the care of the guardians?


I assume that the hon. Member is referring to those ex-service men for whose maintenance the responsibility of my Department came to an end on the 30th September, 1922, under the expressed terms of Article 7 (2) of the Royal Warrant. The Government have decided to meet the charge for the maintenance from the 1st April next of these men by means of a special Exchequer Grant, which will not, however, fall on the Vote of my Department. I understand that Parliament will be asked to make the necessary provision in the Votes of the Board of Control for England and Wales and General Board of Control for Scotland.


Will the grant in aid be made direct to the guardians?


No. As the latter part of the answer implies, that will not be so.


Is it not a fact that the asylums are not under the control of the guardians, but under the control of the counties?

11. Mr. POTTS

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that Mr. John Perkins, aged 46, formerly No. 52,012, ex-Private, Durham Light Infantry, was admitted to Storthes Hall asylum, Kirkburton, near Huddersfield, Yorkshire, on the 13th August, 1917, and became chargeable to the Minister of Pensions as a war-service patient; and whether, seeing that the Ministry no longer accepts responsibility for his maintenance since the Pensions Appeal Tribunal decided that Perkins' insanity was neither due to nor aggravated by war service, and that the Pensions Ministry accepted responsibility for maintenance over five years, he will have inquiries made into the actual cause of disability in this case?


I have not yet been able to complete my inquiries into this case, but I hope shortly to be in a position to communicate the result to my hon. Friend.

27. Lieut.-Colonel WATTS - MORGAN

asked the Minister of Pensions the total number of ex-service pensioners of the Welsh region who are receiving treatment and are maintained under the regulations who were inmates of public mental institutions in December, 1923; what number, if any, are in these public institutions who are treated as pauper lunatics; and will he take steps to provide an institution in Wales to deal with this class of ex-service men apart and separate from the Poor Law institutions?


There are 380 such cases, all of whom are classified as service patients, and are thus on the legal footing of private patients, and in no sense within the ambit of the Poor Law. It would not be practicable to establish a separate institution for them, among other reasons, because experience has shown that in the majority of eases the relatives would not agree to transfers which, by removing the patient a long distance from his home, would render frequent visits impossible.

Lieut.-Colonel WATTS-MORGAN

Is the Minister aware that repeated applications having been made, a promise was given of a separate institution for the Welsh region at the request of a majority of the relatives of the men?


Are these men still in the same institution as they were in during the time of the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor and myself?


With regard to the first supplementary question, I do not think I can give any further information to-day beyond that contained in my reply, and I am not aware of the information suggested by the hon. and gallant Member; it is not in my possession, at any rate, and I cannot refer to it to-day. With regard to the other point, what has been indicated is substantially correct.

Lieut.-Colonel WATTS-MORGAN

Is the Minister not aware that twice during the last three months this matter has been sent up to headquarters and a promise made to deal with it?


I will look into the point.


In view of the fact that these men are still in the same building, does not the right hon. Gentleman consider that the Prime Minister's statement that they are not now interned was most misleading?