HC Deb 05 May 1924 vol 173 cc36-7
65. Mr. EGAN

asked the Minister of Pensions if he will circulate for the information of the House a statement giving full information as to the changes which he has made in the scheme for the award of parents' pensions, showing the financial effects thereof?


My hon. Friend is circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT a statement showing the changes recently introduced by my right hon. Friend in connection with the award of pension to parents It is estimated that these concessions will, during the first year of their operation, result in the distribution of an additional sum of £240,000 among this class of pensioner.

Following is the statement referred to:

Parents' Pensions.

(1) Transfer of pre-War dependence or flat-rate pension to surviving parent.—Prior to the 31st March, 1922, parents whose sons lost their lives as the result of the War were able to claim pension on three grounds, either (a) pre-War dependency, (b) pecuniary need and incapacity for self-support, or (c) where the deceased son was unmarried and under the age of 26 years at the time of his enlistment, a flat-rate pension of 5s. might be awarded. Since the 31st March, 1922, the only basis on which parents' pensions could be awarded has been (b), and in cases where a parent in receipt of a pension under (a) or (c) has died since that date, the transfer of such a pension to the surviving parent has not been admissible. It is felt that this practice has occasioned some hardship, and, in future, such pensions will be transferred to the surviving parent subject to the same conditions as those under which they were previously transferable.

(2) Need pensions.—The maximum need pension which can be awarded is 20s. a week, and in determining the amount to be granted within this limit, the financial standard (or income limit) adopted by the Ministry has hitherto been 20s. for one parent and 30s. for two parents. In future these standards will be increased to 25s. and 35s. respectively. Roughly, this concession means that while the maximum need pension remains unaltered the large majority of parents in receipt of a need pension of less than the maximum of 20s. a week will obtain an appreciable increase of pension, amounting in some cases to as much as 5s. a week. Moreover, the minimum award will be 5s. a week, instead of 4s. 2d. Certain minor modifications are also being introduced into the scheme with a view to rendering it more elastic and adaptable to the varying circumstances of individual cases.

(3) Death of pensioner outside the seven years' time, limit.—Under the existing scheme, the parent whose son dies more than seven years after removal from duty or discharge from the Service is precluded from claiming pension. In view of the recent improvement in the position of widows of pensioners in similar circumstances, the position of the parent was anomalous, and it has, therefore, been decided to amend the Royal Warrants so as to enable claims for need pensions by parents of pensioners who have died beyond the seven years' limit to be considered on substantially the same lines as now obtain in regard to claims by widows of pensioners under Article 17 of the Royal Warrant.