HC Deb 22 May 1924 vol 173 cc2379-80

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that the dependants of ex-service men suffering from mental disability, whose cost of maintenance has now been accepted by his Department from boards of guardians, are still chargeable to the Poor Law and thus forced to accept assistance as paupers; and will he reconsider his decision and accept full and complete responsibility not only for the men concerned but also for their wives and dependents?

The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. William Graham)

As my hon. Friend is aware, the cases in question are those in which after repeated examination it has been decided that the disability is in no way connected with War service. While I have every sympathy with the dependants in question, I do not see how the Government could accept responsibility for them without doing the same for the dependants of all ex-service men whose physical disabilities have been found to be in no way due to War service.


Is it a fact that these men are still in the same public asylums as they were in during the time of my predecessor in office and myself?


That is a matter for the Ministry of Pensions. I should think the majority of them are, but of course that was not the point of the question. The real point was the transfer of the liability for their maintenance.


Will the Treasury not consider that, as they have removed these men from chargeability to the guardians and taken them over, it is just as wrong to put the wives and children in the position of paupers as to put the man who is insane in the position of a pauper?


Is it not the fact that every Minister of Pensions has considered this case with sympathy, and has found that if he gave in on this particular disability, he would have the same thing to do with regard to every other disability.


Does not the hon. Gentleman know that the disability has been removed in this case by the Ministry of Pensions and a definite liability accepted for the cost of the men; why not do the same for the wives and children?


The hon. Member should put down a further question on that point.

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