§ 5. Mr. R. MORRISON
asked the Minister of Pensions how many applications for commutation of life pensions have been made to the Ministry, and recommended by local war pensions committees, during the past year; and how many have been refused?
Applications for commutation were received during the period mentioned in about 2,500 cases, which were eligible so far as regards the qualifying condition that the man must be in receipt of a permanent pension of more than the minimum specified by the Regulations. There is no record as to the number of these applications which were recommended by war pensions committees. Not more than about 100 of the applications were granted. While a large number of the applications have, in any case, to be refused as a result of medical advice as to the man's condition and expectation of life, my Department must be satisfied that commutation will be to the permanent advantage of the man, having regard to the object for which commutation is desired. It is the experience of my Department that only in rare cases is this condition satisfied.
§ Mr. MORRISON
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in one district alone not a single application was granted, and that these applications are recommended by the local war pensions committee which have given great attention to the cases and, after having gone into all the particulars and made their recommendations, find that nothing is done?
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
Will the right hon. Gentleman continue the policy of his Department of granting these commutations very sparingly?
Judging by the experience which I have gained since I have been at the head of the Ministry I will certainly follow the suggestion made by my right hon. Friend. With regard to the question of my hon. Friend the Member for North Tottenham (Mr. R. Morrison) I have no information as to the district to which he is referring, but if he will bring to my notice the cases to which he particularly refers I will look into them, though I can hold out no hope that there shall be any relaxation of this Regulation.
§ Mr. MORRISON
In view of the fact that such a small percentage of the cases succeed, will the Minister draw the attention of the local war pensions committees to the fact that the members are wasting their time dealing with these cases?