HC Deb 20 May 1924 vol 173 cc1989-90

asked the Secretary of State for War on what grounds the decision was made that serving disabled officers should be required to pay for repairs to and replacements of their artificial limbs; and whether he is aware that under the present regulations a serving disabled officer is at a disadvantage as compared with an officer similarly disabled who is drawing an equivalent salary in a Civil Service appointment and obtains repairs to and replacements of his artificial limbs at the expense of the State?


As my hon. Friend is aware, in the case of every officer placed upon retired pay who has lost a limb, an artificial limb is provided, and both the initial cost and the cost of repairs are met by the Department. A similar condition applies where officers are upon half pay. The initial cost of the limb is met and also the charge for replacement. The reason for this action is that in all these cases the officers are in receipt of substantially reduced emoluments from Army funds. Further, officers in receipt of full pay, but to whom a wound pension is not payable, both have the initial cost of the limb and cost of replacement provided. Officers in receipt of full pay and wound pension in addition cannot be said to have sustained any momentary loss. Indeed they occupy a position of material financial benefit as compared with other officers who have lost a limb. Yet, even in their case, the initial cost of the limb is met by the Department. With regard to the last part of the question, I do not think that any effective comparison can be made between the advantages or disadvantages of serving officers and those officers who have left the service for civil employment, whether under Government or elsewhere. The conditions are entirely dissimilar.


Could not the right hon. Gentleman shortly explain to the House why an officer who remains in the Army does not get his artificial limb repaired, whereas if he goes into civil life or into the Civil Service he is entitled to have it repaired?


The answer given to the question has been rather long, and the hon. Member must consider the fact that there are many other questions on the Paper.