Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £1,492,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1926, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Ministry of Pensions, and for sundry Contributions in respect of the Administration of the Ministry of Pensions Act, 1916, the War Pensions Acts, 1915 to 1921, and sundry Services.
The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of PENSIONS (Lieut.-Colonel Stanley)
In presenting this Supplementary Estimate, it may be of some advantage if I state briefly the reasons which have necessitated it. I cannot deny that our original Estimates were at fault. It is, however, a sign that there has been no attempt to restrict, artificially, the operations of the Royal Warrant or the procedure of the Ministry in order to cut our expenditure down to the amount originally estimated. Medical treatment, medical assessment of the disabled, the admission of claims, and the award of pensions have proceeded without hindrance, in accordance with the criteria laid down in the Warrants; and if in this process the cost has amounted to more than was estimated, it is the ex-service men and their dependants who have benefited.
In a matter such as compensation for death or disablement by War service, the various factors which affect the expenditure of the Ministry are still so far liable to incalculable fluctuations that there must be a margin of error. We are, I venture to think, getting much nearer than we have been to accuracy of prognosis, but I would suggest that it is quite impossible to foretell with accuracy the operation during the year of very diverse factors. In the first place, we are not 554 dealing a fixed number. The number of pensioners is a fluctuating quantity. There are, of course, decreases because of the natural operation of death, remarriages of widows, and children growing out of the age when they draw allowances, and it is practically impossible for anybody in one year to say how much will be the grants during the following year. In addition to that, the amount which the beneficiaries are receiving is in some cases not yet a fixed quantity. There must be a certain number of officers and men who still remain on the conditional list, and whose pensions after medical examination may be altered. Therefore, we have two factors which make it impossible for us to estimate accurately what the expenditure will be. We have to make a guess, and a guess as nearly as possible correct.
In addition to those factors of uncertainty, we have this year two accidental factors for which allowance was made in the first instance, but which allowance has proved incorrect and insufficient. The first of those is due really to an accident in the calendar. In three of our largest classes of payment we get an extra week's payment in this year. It falls in this way. On Wednesday the pensions and allowances for medical treatment under Article 6 of the Royal Warrant are paid. In this year there is an extra Wednesday, because the last day of the financial year falls on a Wednesday. The widows draw their pensions on a Monday. In the next financial year, the first Monday falls on Easter Monday, and consequently, following our usual practice, we allow them to draw their pensions for that week a week earlier, namely, the preceding Monday, which consequently comes into this financial year. I do not pretend to say that that is the entire reason for the extra expenditure, because we had foreseen it to a certain extent, but the general factors of uncertainty which I have already mentioned have added to the amounts which fall to be expended in those directions.
The second factor is in some degree special to the present year, because the Ministry have, by the process of accelerating the accounting work involved in the payments made on the Ministry's account by our overseas agents, succeeded in securing an earlier 555 rendering of the accounts, and this involves an earlier refund of agency payments. The prompt rendering and payment of agency payments is obviously desirable from the point of view of public accounting, and I have to acknowledge the ready co-operation of the Dominion and other authorities overseas in meeting our wishes and placing at our disposal the services of their officials. At the same time, it has to some extent affected our finances. It has in the accounts of the present year involved some increase in all the Pension Subheads, as well as in the Subhead dealing with medical treatment, and we estimate the addition brought into the present year's expenditure somewhere in the neighbourhood of £200,000.
There are seven Subheads in which an additional sum is required to meet this year's expenditure, and I think it might be for the convenience of the Committee if I grouped them together so as to deal at the same time with oases in which like causes have operated to upset our Estimates. The first three Subheads I would wish to group together are Subhead E—Pensions of Widows and Children of Officers—Subhead L, and Subhead M. As far as the case of pensions to widows and children, amounting to £596,000, is concerned, two causes have operated to upset our calculations. On the one hand, the rate at which the pension list has been reduced by the re-marriage of widows and by children getting beyond the pensionable age has been somewhat lower than was anticipated, and on the other hand the full operation of the Warrant of 14th January, 1924, which for the first time gave pensions to widows of pensioners who had died more than seven years after their discharge from the service, has resulted in the admission of more claims than was anticipated. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions stated in this House on the 11th of this month that 1,980 claims had been admitted in the past two years, and those 1,980 claims represent 59 per cent. of all the claims made in that respect.
Then, with regard to Subhead M—pensions to dependants—the excess expenditure in this direction is due to additional benefits which have been conferred on these classes in the last two years, and in particular to the application to parents of deceased soldiers of 556 the concession which had already been given to widows, namely, the right to claim pension if the death of a pensioner son has occurred more than seven years after his discharge. This is the first year that we have had a full working of these concessions, and I must confess that, having insufficient data, our calculations in that respect were incorrect.
The next two subheads that I would group together are Subhead K1 and Subhead O6. I group them together because the additional expenditure on these two Subheads is ultimately traceable to the same causes. In the course of the prolonged review of many thousands of cases since 1918, although I am glad to say that the majority have either been completely cured, or have reached a condition where the actual degree of incapacity is stable, it is inevitable that a minority, a substantial minority, should be found to be still suffering from conditions that refuse to yield to treatment, and in some cases gradually deteriorating. They must necessarily be on a conditional basis. I refer, in the main, to those suffering from such diseases as tuberculosis, to chronic cases of acute bronchitis, organic heart disease, and paralysis. It is obvious, when they are examined and found to be worse, and that their condition has deteriorated, that their pension must be increased. The increase in this direction, a very proper increase, has to a considerable extent off-set the reduction which has occurred in the Pension List by death and other causes. That is Subhead K1.
Subhead 06 is, as I think the Committee will see, traceable to the same causes. There are a large number of serious cases which must be provided for in hospitals. I am sorry to say that there are some cases which will always be so provided for. The excess expenditure on medical treatment is due entirely to the cost of treatment in hospitals being greater than expected. The expenditure on other forms of treatment has declined, and I think naturally so, because out-patient treatment is, in the main, the form of treatment which is obviously applicable to the less serious cases. As we get further from the War, and in proportion as those less serious cases are satisfactorily dealt with, we are left with the more serious cases which 557 require more elaborate treatment, and this treatment can only be given in the hospitals. That deals with those two Subheads.
The next is Subhead N—payments made under the Regulaions of the Special Grants Committee. These, in the main, are grants for education which are in excess of the anticipated requirements. The Special Grants Committee have the statutory duty of assisting to pay for education where hardship would have been caused because of the death of the father, and because the circumstances of the mother do not enable her to give that education which the father would have been able to give if he had lived. I am quite sure that this is an expenditure of which the Committee will thoroughly approve.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I understand that a pension is granted to the widow, taking into consideration the education which the father would have been able to provide. Do the Ministry take into consideration any advancement in life that the man might have been able to make had he lived?
That is always looked into very carefully by the Special Grants Committee, and, if they find, on examination, that a grant would be justified, then they make that grant. The next is Subhead R. I think it is an excessive expenditure of which the Committee will also approve. It is due to having made advances of pension, mainly in the case of claims on the part of widows, in which, on the face of it, according to medical advice, the claim appears so good that, although the full evidence necessary to enable the Ministry to make a formal award is not forthcoming, it is still reasonable to make an advance in anticipation of the award. This, of course, as the Committee will recognise, is a big concession. But I am quite convinced that, used with care, it is a concession which has averted much suffering and has been amply justified. It will be recognised that the further we get away from the War the more difficult 558 it is to adjudicate upon any claim that is made, and in consequence it must take longer to be able to determine. But where, on the face of it, the case looks a really good one, we meet the immediate necessities of the applicant by making a grant, while we assist the widow to make the necessary inquiries to produce the full evidence for establishing her claim. In most cases, I am glad to say, the advance turns out to be fully justified when the evidence is complete. In fact, the expenditure incurred is recovered subsequently, after the issue of pensions.
I have dealt briefly with all the subjects in which we have an excess of expenditure. This excess is offset to some extent by some savings on other accounts of expenditure. The largest saving of all comes under Subhead A. It is partly due to the natural decline of the work and partly to improved and simplified administration. As claims inevitably grow fewer and as current cases are settled by permanent pensions or permanent awards, and as cases no longer require handling by the Ministry, the volume of work that comes through from the area offices to headquarters obviously declines. The decline of the work obviously involves a decline in the numbers of the staff, and, therefore, a reduction of expenditure in that direction. A reduction of expenditure on administration means that out of the moneys voted by this House more goes in proportion to the pensioner, and less to administration. In the current year the cost of administration works out at a small fraction under 9d. for every £ of benefit which is given to pensioners.
The next subhead under which there is a saving is K2. I have already referred to the excess expenditure in connection with hospital treatment. This saving represents a decline in out-patient treatment and other forms of treatment, and it is a natural decline, because, as I have said, out-patients and other subsidiary forms of treatment are probably cases of less severe injury, for which at this stage the Ministry must, in the natural course of events, already have done all that can be done or that is required by the eases. The number of out-patients during the past year has decreased, and that is simply a continuation of the process which has been going on for the last three years.
559 The next three subheads are O1, O3 and O5. I group these savings together, because the decreased expenditure under these three subheads' is referrable to the same cause—namely, the decrease in the work of the medical examination of pensioners consequent on the increased stability of pensions. The number of men who are being examined each week now is only half of the number who were being examined last year and a third of the number who were being examined two years ago. As a result there are fewer doctors employed and fewer men who have to travel to the Boards. There is, consequently, less expenditure in paying their expenses. This process, in so far as it involves an increased stability of pensions and an end of repeated medical examinations of officers and men, is one which I believe to be in the interests both of the pensioners and of the country, and we look to that process of stabilisation to continue during the present year.
§ Mr. W. BAKER
Naturally the hon. and gallant Gentleman has been concerned to justify expenditure which represents an increase over the original Estimate. I am more troubled by the savings that have taken place than I am by the increases which have been found necessary owing to the increased cost of the activities of the Ministry. Under Subhead K2 there is a saving of £83,000 on treatment and training allowances. I submit that a saving of that magnitude is not justified, having regard to all the circumstances. Obviously, I am not in the advantageous position of the Minister in having information with regard to the whole of the country, but a statement has been supplied to me which claims to be a list of disabled ex-service men registered at the Valley Employment Exchange, who are said to be suitable for light or special employment. My information is that there are many ex-service men to whom training in light employment would be of tremendous advantage. If that statement be true, if there be any justification for the statement which has been handed to me, I ask the Minister very seriously to consider Whether there is not a case for giving training to an increased number of men.
Under Subhead O1 there is a saving of £20,000 on the salaries of doctors and other persons in connection with the 560 medical service. I submit that that saving is greater in proportion than the decline in the number of men who need such medical treatment. Under Subhead O5 Anticipated savings, I am told that as a result of the closing of the local area offices considerable delay takes place in providing treatment, owing to the time which is occupied in sending an application for treatment from the locality to headquarters. I am told that, owing to the size of the areas, in some cases at least a week passes before the application is received by the Deputy Commissioner for Medical Services. Apart from that, I believe that cases still occur where requisitions for treatment do not receive that sympathetic consideration which would appear on the face of them to be justified. I would like to read an extract from a letter which has been handed to me during the present week. I will be glad to pass the letter to the Minister after the Debate is over. The man says:On the 5th of last month (January) I made an application through the Area Office for treatment, and was referred to the Minister of Pensions specialist for examination. The examination took place about three weeks ago. On 27th January I received a notification to the effect that I was considered unfit, and was recommended for admission to the Ministry of Pensions Hospital at Saltash. The letter was dated 27th January. I waited until the 10th of this month, when I received another notification referring me to my own panel doctor for treatment. On the 11th I saw him, and he gave a certificate recommending institutional treatment, and gave no other treatment, as in his opinion I had been referred to him so many times, and he was not in a position to provide the treatment he considered suitable.I do not want to bother the Committee with the whole of the letter. I have given the essential part of it. The rest of the letter goes on to say that he has not been able to obtain the treatment which both he and his panel doctor considered to be necessary. I would plead with the Minister in all these cases to do everything possible to see that treatment is given. As to Sub-head L, I would be glad if the Minister would make a statement regarding the Ministry's practice in the matter of deductions. Is it the custom of the Ministry, in making deductions from pensions in respect of children living, say, with a widowed mother, to pay such moneys into the Post Office Savings Bank Department in the name of the child, or, 561 on the other hand, do the Ministry retain the money in some fund of their own, so that the child does not necessarily have a knowledge of the moneys to its credit, and in any case has no control over the money automatically when the time comes?
Under Sub-head M, I would like to pursue the point raised by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), with regard to the attitude of the Special Grants Committee towards educational grants for the children of working men. It is repeatedly stated that requests for educational grants are refused on the simple grounds that, had the father remained alive, he would not have been in an economic position to give the child the education which is desired. If there is any justification for that charge, I would be glad if the Minister would go into it. It appears to me to be altogether unsatisfactory that a child capable of receiving benefit from higher education should be denied that benefit on the simple ground that at the time of the death of the father he was not in an economic position to give that education. Arising out of that point, I ask the Minister whether the whole of the £10,000 mentioned in the account is for the education of officers' children?
§ Mr. BAKER
I think you are right, Mr. Chairman. I read it as being officers and non-commissioned officers. In that case the inquiry as to the expenditure of the £10,000 does not arise. But I would be glad if the other point could be considered. Under Sub-head R there is an item of £10,000, representing advances in respect of anticipated or interrupted pensions. It has been suggested to me—I cannot speak with any personal knowledge of the point—that that additional sum of £10,000 can be taken as an indication that the policy of the Ministry in closing the regional offices is leading to inefficiency at the Central Pensions Issue Office. I must say that I had some doubts myself with regard to the policy of the Ministry in closing the local area offices. Cases have come under my notice in which the policy has seemed to work to the detriment of individuals, especially parents unaccustomed to railway journeys, who were called upon to travel from Bristol to London in connection with 562 pensions issues. Quite apart from that point, perhaps the Minister will be good enough to say whether there is any justification for the suggestion that the £10,000 item, which is shown as an increase, has any relation to an increase or decrease of the efficiency of the Central Pensions Issue Office. One final point in that connection. Can we be told whether any part of the £10,000, and, if so, what proportion, is in respect of advances to men who propose to emigrate to the Dominions?
There are two cases which I should like to mention, and in connection with which I hope an appeal to the Minister may result satisfactorily. In my view, they both come under Item K1. The first is the case of a man in Brighton—whose name I can give to the Minister after-wards—and who claimed a pension for colitis in 1921. He was examined by the medical officer of the Ministry, who reported that in his opinion the colitis was due to service. In January, 1922, that case was submitted to the Appeal Tribunal and was disallowed. In July, 1924, the Ministry admitted that the colitis was due to service. In view of the fact that the Ministry's own officer in 1921 gave his opinion that the disease was due to military service, and that the Appeal Tribunal's decision has now been upset after a lapse of years, it seems to me there is a strong case for asking the Ministry to pay the arrears of pension accruing between the two dates. I know cases of this sort create much dissatisfaction, and it appears to me extremely difficult to dispute the contentions put forward by the men concerned, so I hope if the Minister has not at the moment the power to deal with this point, he will consider the advisability and desirability of securing such power. The second case is of an almost similar character. In 1922 a man claimed, and was refused, in respect of bronchial asthma due to the effects of a gas attack. In 1925 the Ministry admitted that his illness was due to service. The point at issue now is not whether the claim is justified or not, but whether the man should be given sympathetic consideration and the arrears for the lapse of time between the original refusal and the final grant. I regret to have taken up so much of the Committee's time, but I hope the Minister will be good enough to give his consideration to these cases. 563 I put them forward, not in any party spirit, but in the best interests of the persons who have made representations to me.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
I have two cases which I trust are not typical of the way in which some branches of the Ministry save money. The Parliamentary Secretary in his speech this afternoon referred to savings or anticipated savings under several sub-heads, and he particularly mentioned Sub-head K2, relating to treatment and training allowances. It is to one of the savings effected in that branch that I wish to direct attention. This is a case about which I have been in communication with the Department for a long time, and I may briefly relate the circumstances. It is the case of a trainee who was sent to the Cath-cart workshops. While there he died, and his comrades, out of their scanty pittances, collected almost £11 for his widow as a testimonial. Is it credible, that from that £11 the manager of the Government trainees' workshop retained £9 and refused to hand that sum over, on the ground that the money was required to assist in defraying the man's funeral expenses? As I say, I have been in communication with the Ministry about this case, and the answer given is that while the Ministry agreed to give this man training, it did not agree to bury him if he died, and that his friends must find the burial expenses. With the last communication which I sent on the matter, I enclosed certificates, witnessed, I believe, by a Justice of the Peace, from some of the men who had subscribed, and I made a final appeal to the Ministry of Pensions at Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh, asking them to reconsider the case, and to return the £9. To that communication I can get no reply. I ask the Minister if he will get somebody from his Department to make a full inquiry into all the circumstances of this case, because I am certain that no Member of the House could have any satisfaction in a saving of £9 effected in the circumstances I have described. I hope, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman will give a promise this afternoon that he will inquire into the matter, and that the certificates which I sent as far back as last October will at least receive an answer from his Department.
564 Reference was also made to a saving on clerical expenditure, and in that connection I have another case. The Minister's Parliamentary Private Secretary informed me on the 14th January that the Department were glad to be able to say that it had been found possible to regard the conversion hysteria from which Mr. So-and-So was suffering as attributable to military service and that it had been agreed to recognise his case as a pension case. We are now almost at the end of February, and I have had a communication this morning from the people concerned in this case, saying that they have had no intimation whatever from the Ministry about it. The man is actually starving; his relatives have been receiving Poor Law relief, and if a decision was reached by the Ministry on his case as far back as the 14th January, surely it is not too much to suggest that a more prompt intimation of this decision should have been conveyed to the pensioner and the local pensions office. Why should the man be required to wait for six or seven or an indeterminate number of weeks before the Minister's decision is conveyed to him? Is it by such means that a saving is being effected in clerical expenses? I do not know whether this arises from a shortage of clerical staff, or whether some part of the Departmental machinery has broken down—the Minister is in a better position to say than I am—but if it is through any lack of clerical assistance that these things are happening, I do not believe that any such savings as have been boasted about this afternoon can be justified. I am certain Members of every party in the House would agree to give the Minister any clerical staff he requires in order to see that instances of the kind I have indicated are not repeated. I trust, therefore, we may have a firm pledge from the Minister that such oases will be promptly dealt with in the future.
§ Mr. SPENCER
I am pleased to see that there is a saving under Sub-head O 3, and as far as my experience of medical boards is concerned, I should have been very pleased to find that sub-head swept away. In my opinion the medical boards of this country have been a discredit to the Ministry, and are among the worst institutions that have been set up. I know of no body of men who differ more 565 widely in their opinions regarding cases than men of the medical profession. The only board which could justly meet the requirements of all the people concerned, would be a board in which the final decision was not given by medical men but by some legal person who could weigh evidence, after medical evidence had been given on both sides.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I cannot see how this matter arises on the present Supplementary Estimate. It might arise on the general Estimate for the Ministry, but I hardly see how it can arise here.
§ Mr. SPENCER
I hope to connect my statement with a particular case, in which a man's pension has actually been stopped. It seems to me I am justified in doing so if I can raise a particular case, under a certain head of the Vote, as was done by my hon. Friend who has just sat down. I wish to show that in my opinion the responsibility for these cases is not so much on the Minister as on the medical boards. The Ministry has issued a memorandum with regard to final awards, in which they state that as far as possible they are trying to follow the practice adopted under the Workmen's Compensation Act. Whoever wrote that memorandum seems to know very little about workmen's compensation, because there is the utmost dissimilarity between the two methods of procedure.
I listened with interest to the Minister's reply in last night's Debate, and I agree with him on one point, namely, that the injured soldier cannot both have his cake and eat it. He cannot say, if his disability is under 20 per cent., that he does not want finality, but, that if it is over 20 per cent., he does want finality. I agree that is an impossible position, but if the Ministry were following the procedure which is adopted under the Workmen's Compensation Act, there would be no time limit whatever. Under that Act a man has a perfect right at any time to come forward and prove to the Court that he is suffering from the result of an injury, even though that injury occurred 16 or 17 years previously.
I myself have just had a case in which a man was injured 17 years ago and has not drawn a penny-piece of compensation during the whole of that long period, but then he got neuritis in the hand, and the insurance people paid him £100, after 566 17 years. If the Ministry followed the procedure which has been laid down under the Workmen's Compensation Act, I maintain that any man who has a disability due to or aggravated by war service should have a perfect right at any time to come forward, unless he has voluntarily commuted, and prove that his disability is so due.
There is another point that I would like to bring out which affects men suffering from disabilities and who are what are termed "odd lots," and this is a burning question with the British Legion. Under the Workmen's Compensation Act, there is what is known as the "odd lot," where, if a man can prove that the nature of his injury is such as to prevent him getting work upon the labour market, the Court have the right to assess full compensation to that man I maintain that the Government of the country should be the model employers, and that if you have in law an obligation imposed upon the whole mass of employers of this country either to find work or full compensation for a man whose injury is, say, one of 60 or 70 per cent., it should follow that that same law should apply to the Government with regard to pensions.
§ The CHAIRMAN
How does the hon. Member connect this with the Vote? Has it to do with medical referees or members of a medical board, or with policy? If it is a question of general policy, it cannot be discussed now.
§ Mr. SPENCER
It is a question of saving or spending money, but I will leave the point by saying that, in my opinion, if a man has 70 per cent. disability and cannot find work because of his lack of real working capacity, the Ministry should either pay him the full 100 per cent. pension or should find him work themselves. I have a case here of a man who was a miner, working at the coal face before enlistment. He passed A1, and went on active service. He writes to me this week asking if I can see the Minister again, because his pension was stopped in 1923. His doctor says he is suffering from rheumatism as the result, in his opinion, of war service, but the Ministry's medical board say he is not. This man can no longer do work that he did before he enlisted; he cannot go to the coal face, and the colliery com- 567 pany find him a light job, but it means that his wage is so small that he cannot live as he ought to live. That man's pension was stopped as far back as February, 1923.
These are cases which give rise to a very great deal of disappointment and discontentment. I was asked by the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor to serve on the Midland Advisory Council, who have brought these points up repeatedly to the Minister's attention, and so have other councils. There is widespread discontent with regard to the administration of the law, and upon these points they have been asking for some revision. I would like to know whether it would be possible for this case, which I will give to the right hon. Gentleman after this Debate, to be attended to again, because I am certain of this fact, that the medical testimony of the doctor who knew the man before he enlisted, who knew him after he came back, and who knows the clinical history of the man, should be taken rather than that of two or three doctors on a medical board who may see him on some particular day when perhaps the rheumatism may be temporarily absent. A case of this character should have far more sympathetic attention than it has been given, because the Ministry has undoubtedly been influenced by the decisions of the medical board.
I would like to mention another case about which I have written to the right hon. Gentleman. It is the case of a man named Sedgwick, who was working at coal-cutting when he enlisted, and who is now suffering from a mental disorder and is in an institution, and for whom treatment is actually provided and paid for by the Ministry, and yet the wife and family of that man have had their pensions stopped. How can the Minister justify an action of that character? They maintain him and keep him in an institution, and yet, after he has had a pension, by some means or other they arrive at the conclusion that the mental disorder is not due to or aggravated by war service. How they arrive at those conclusions I do not know. The fact is that the man was all right before he enlisted, and it was only when he had enlisted and come back again, after seeing service, that the mental derangement was noticed. 568 I would like to have said something with regard to final awards and things of that character, but as you, Mr. Hope, have ruled them out of order, I will not do so, but I would ask that these two cases that I have mentioned should have some consideration. In my opinion, and in the opinion of most men who are seeking to serve upon advisory councils, the time has arrived when a far more sympathetic consideration should be given to many of these cases where men are suffering injustice due to some hasty or abnormal decision.
§ Major Sir ARCHIBALD SINCLAIR
I will not attempt to deal with a large number of individual cases, because many hon. Members are anxious to speak, and, of course, I shall respect your ruling, Mr. Hope, that we are not allowed to trespass on questions of policy, but I feel that the great dissatisfaction which is felt in Scotland and other parts of the country with the Pensions Ministry arises not mainly from dissatisfaction with the administration of the pensions, for indeed we are met with great sympathy by the Minister and those hardworking ex-service men who, in great number, staff the Scottish regional headquarters and the various Scottish districts of the Ministry of Pensions. What we are met with time after time is the sympathetic regret that, owing to the Royal Warrant, the Minister's hands are tied and that the officials of the Ministry cannot help us. That, I think, is the reason why so many of us feel, as so many hon. Members felt last night, that the time has come when either we must have some form of inquiry into the whole basis of the administration of pensions, or we must appeal to the Minister to consider the representations which have been made by the Scottish advisory council and the other advisory councils, and to see whether he cannot introduce some short measure into Parliament which would give us some satisfaction.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is exactly what the hon. and gallant Member should not do. I am afraid his exordium before coming to his argument is rather a long one.
§ Sir A. SINCLAIR
My exordium was not suggesting any particular form of legislation, but only asking the Minister himself to give his consideration to these questions. We, in Scotland, do feel 569 proud of the Scottish regional headquarters and of the very able men who staff it and who do their best within the limits by which they are bound. [An HON. MEMBER: "No!"] The hon. Gentleman above the Gangway who disagrees with me would not, I think, feel any happier if he was under the administration of the Pensions Office in Acton.
§ Sir A. SINCLAIR
In regard to Sub-head L, which provides for the grant of more than half a million of money and brings the total Estimate for that important sub-head up to £18,500,000, this is a vital thing which affects individual men and women in Scotland and elsewhere more closely and nearly than any of the other Sub-heads. This is a very large sum of money. Not one of us grudges one penny of the money which we are to vote under this Sub-head, but in the administration of this Vote it is particularly important that we should have a staff in sympathy with the pensioners whose interests they have to look after, who have knowledge of the people, local knowledge of their customs, and who are themselves ex-service men and animated by a sincere desire to serve not only the interests of their masters, the taxpayers, but also and at least equally the interests of the pensioners which they have been appointed to look after. Therefore, I am a little suspicious myself, and I share the suspicion expressed by an hon. Member above the Gangway just now, of the savings which are apparently contemplated under Subhead A of £144,000.
I cannot help feeling that if this proposed change of bringing the Scottish regional headquarters back to Acton is insisted upon, it will undoubtedly affect the administration of the pensions system in Scotland most adversely. That, at any rate, is the opinion of the Scottish Advisory Council and of most of the Scottish Members of this House, I think, and it is one that we shall take occasion to bring before the Minister very strongly. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry rightly said, in the course of his introductory remarks, that the decline in the work involves necessarily a diminution of the staff, but I 570 would refer to an answer which the Minister gave to the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. T. Kennedy), on the 10th December last, in which he showed what the cost of the administration was, on the one hand, at Acton and, on the other hand, in Edinburgh, and from which it appeared that, whereas the number of cases dealt with at Acton was rather more than nine times the number dealt with in Edinburgh, the cost of administration at Acton was rather more than 18 times that of the administration in Edinburgh. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary, replying to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Leith (Captain Benn) on Monday last, pointed out that it was very difficult to compare the two figures, and said thata comparison between the cost of each case dealt with at Acton and Pilton would be misleading, as the staff attached to the former office performs duties which have no counterpart in the Pilton Office, and in addition undertakes a number of services common to itself and other branches of the Ministry with a staff of 1,220 housed in the same building."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd February, 1926; col. 60, Vol. 192.]5.0 P.M.
But that cannot account for the enormous gap between the number of cases and between £463,000 and £29,000. Moreover, those who are in touch with the administration of pensions in Scotland are aware that the London offices have in various cases taken the Scottish Office as their pattern because of its efficiency and fine organisation. In these circumstances, a very large majority of Scottish Members feel that it would be a very great disaster to us if we were to lose our administration there. Another point which is very important is that the men who actually look after the pensioners should be themselves ex-service men. Too often, it seems to us, the diminution of the staff has been effected by getting rid of what are called temporary civil servants, of whom the great majority are ex-service men, and putting in their places permanent civil servants who are by no means always ex-service men themselves. We in Scotland very strongly feel that if this change involves taking away the administration of pensions from ex-service men and handing it over to men who are not ex-service men, to that extent it must be prejudicial to the interests of the pensioners. We strongly 571 affirm the principle that this diminution of staff must not be at the expense of the pensioners, and we do think that either it means handing over his business to men of another race and another outlook and another country or handing it to people who are not ex-service men and that the pensions administration in Scotland must suffer. In conclusion, without entering into the details of any particular case, I would ask the Minister to free himself from the trammels which the Royal Warrant too often imposes upon him and to maintain the Scottish headquarters in Edinburgh and, as far as possible, to maintain the ex-service personnel.
Dr. VERNON DAVIES
I was rather astonished to hear the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Spencer) making such a statement as he made to the effect that he regretted that the reduction under Sub-head O 3 of £75,000 for fees to members of medical boards and medical referees was not much greater. As a member of the medical profession, I think it is not doing the pensioners of this country a great deal of good to make them dissatisfied with the medical referees who are judging those cases.
§ Mr. SPENCER
I objected to that item because the medical referees differ so very widely. I can give the hon. Member certificates from doctors in which he could scarcely credit the differences between them in their opinions on certain cases.
I quite appreciate that, but the peculiar thing is that the hon. Member is quite prepared to accept the certificate of a panel practitioner, but when the same doctor is acting as a medical referee on behalf of the Ministry of Pensions he seems to think the certificate must be wrong. Possibly it is wrong; doctors differ and disagree, and when it comes to a matter of interpretation of symptoms each man is entitled to his own opinion. I think hon. Members who create dissatisfaction in the minds of the public with the decisions of these medical men are doing the pensioners a great disservice. We have to remember that since the War a new state of mind has developed. Any illness which any man who has been at the War develops is regarded of necessity as being due to the War. If a man develops rheumatism six 572 or seven years after his War service, it is said that the rheumatism must be due to the War service; but people who have not been to the War develop rheumatism. Hon. Members should give medical men the credit for being honest in their opinions and should try to convince the people of this country that there are diseases with which the War has no connection.
§ Mr. SPENCER
Would the hon. Member agree with a man, who had a pension for rheumatism and who has rheumatism to-day, connecting his present rheumatism with his War service?
It does not follow at all. Any man at any age over 20 is liable to have attacks of rheumatism, and his War service may have nothing to do with it or it may have. If a man got rheumatism in the War he might be cured and 10 years afterwards he might get rheumatism again, and it would be wrong to say that it was due to War service. A man may have had a bad tooth in the War and been cured, and if he got a bad tooth years afterwards you would not say that that was due to War service. I think it is doing harm to create the impression that these medical men are not honest.
The point upon which I wish to direct the attention of the Minister is to Subheading O 6—"Medical Treatment of Disabled Officers, Nurses and Men." I see that you require for this an additional £216,000, which is roughly 10 per cent. of the original Estimate. The explanation which is given is that additional provision had to be made owing to the number of disabled men requiring institutional treatment being greater than was expected. I should like a little more information as to why there has been this great increase. Does it mean that certain cases have become worse than was expected, or are the Ministry taking cases into the institutions which before they had not room for or did not feel inclined to take in?
One class of cases to which they might extend their efforts are the neurasthenia cases, which are becoming more and more troublesome and in some cases there are definite hardships. I would like to put one case of a man who served three or four years in different parts of the world, who was never wounded although he was in action several times. His nerves were rather upset, and he came home and 573 returned to work, and worked a couple of years, and then he was involved in an industrial accident. He was not hurt himself, but he was present when another man was hurt, and that seemed to be the last straw. The man after that developed neurasthenia, and for the last two and a half years he has not been able to do any work, and he can get no relief from anybody. I am perfectly convinced that it was seeing this industrial accident that sent this man off his mental balance, and I would like to know if there is any possibility of the Ministry taking up cases like that and giving them treatment in a proper hospital.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I would like to call attention to one of the sub-headings which relates to savings, and to point out that, while in the past there were 14 firms engaged in making limbs for ex-service limbless men, one of the economies practised by the Ministry of Pensions has been to reduce the number to two.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That appears to come under another Vote. There is no reference to saving in this Vote.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
The point is that this Estimate would have been greater had it not been for the saving that this is carrying out.
§ The CHAIRMAN
In the original Estimate there is a special item for artificial limbs, and so on, and there is neither increase nor saving shown.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
But surely I am entitled under this heading to raise the question of how the money was spent. I was coming to the point of how it has been spent. My point is that this money is being spent on two firms whereas formerly it was spent on 14.
§ The CHAIRMAN
But for limbs there is no extra sum of money. There is no item of either saving or increase.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
But it concerns the training and treatment of officers, noncommissioned officers and men, and I understood that the giving of limbs to limbless ex-service men formed part of the treatment and training.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That might be so if there were not a special item in the Estimates dealing with this very matter. 574 There is such an item, but there is no increase and no saving shown in it.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Well, I accept your ruling. The only point I wanted to raise was that there were 14 firms doing work—
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member must understand that the rules governing the discussion of Supplementary Estimates are very strict, and that you can only discuss a matter when there is an increase or saving on the particular item. On this item, as it appears in the original Estimate, there is no increase or saving, and, therefore, the hon. Member cannot discuss it.
§ Mr. MAXTON
If my hon. Friend can show to you, as he can, in the interest of economy in this particular Department, that greater expenditure is being incurred on account of hospital treatment of limbless men by reason of the fact that the limbs are clumsier, though cheaper, than before, would that not be in order?
§ The CHAIRMAN
If it came under an item on which there is a saving, it would be in order, but as there is an entirely separate item in the original Estimate, and nothing in the Supplementary Estimate dealing with that, obviously it is not in order. It can be raised no doubt on the main question or on the Vote on Account.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member will find in the original Estimate that there is an item which deals with this matter.
§ Mr. MAXTON
It deals with limbs. I am dealing now with the question of the treatment of limbless ex-soldiers, which, I submit, comes within the scope of this item.
§ Mr. LAWSON
Cannot the Committee deal with the medical treatment of limbless men in general terms under item O.6?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am afraid not, because there is a special item for that, and I am bound by the rules that govern the point.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
The point I wanted to put was that a number of ex-service men have complained to me that because of the nature of the new limbs that are being made, extra expense is involved, and that therefore that is causing an increase in the expenditure.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That would be a perfectly relevant argument on O.8, and it might be on O.6, if there were no such thing as O.8, but there is such a thing as 0.8, and therefore it is not relevant.
§ Sir A. SINCLAIR
Would it not be relevant to argue on O.6 that the amount is necessarily increased owing to the fact that men are having badly fitting limbs, and therefore have to undergo institutional treatment, and therefore this particular item O.6 is being necessarily inflated owing to the fact that the limbs are not the most suitable?
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I accept your ruling, but, on the first available opportunity, I intend to raise this question with the Minister of Pensions. I will refer to the question that was raised by the hon. and gallant Member for Caith ness (Sir A. Sinclair), namely, the anticipated saving on Salaries, Wages and Allowances. I understand that part of the savings is due to the fact that work of the regional area in Edinburgh is being transferred. Whatever differences there may be on Scottish matters, there is one thing upon which we are united, and that is that we ought to retain the offices at present situated in Edinburgh. I disagree with the hon. Member on the question of what the officials might have been. I have met some of the officials and had correspondence with them, and if they were not always just what they might have been, after all, the people who have to deal with pensions are the representatives of the ex-soldiers them selves, and in Scotland the unanimous opinion amongst the ex-service men—
§ The MINISTER of PENSIONS (Major Tryon)
On a point of Order. The question of the abolition of the Scottish region does not affect this Vote.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. and gallant Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair) was arguing that part of the savings of £144,000 was due to the transference, or contemplated transference, of the regional area. Of course, if that be not so, it is out of order. Objection was not taken on the point before.
§ Major TRYON
The question of the abolition of the Scottish region has not been decided, and if it is decided it cannot in any case take place in the present financial year.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must know whether any part of this £144,000 saving is owing to the partial withdrawal of work from Edinburgh to London. If that be so, then the matter is in order.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I should have thought the Minister would have raised this point when it was discussed by a Liberal Member, rather than wait for me. Regarding the transfer of the Issue Office, the ex-service men in Scotland feel that Edinburgh is much more accessible to them for making complaint with regard to the issue of pensions, and if you transfer to London this office you are drawing on—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I understand there is no saving contemplated, or possible, from transferring the whole of the office?
§ Major TRYON
The Issue Office remains in Edinburgh, and will obviously be there for the whole of the current financial year.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Do I understand that none of this saving is due to the transfer of work from Edinburgh to London? Otherwise the discussion would be in order.
§ Major TRYON
I submit that the question of the transfer of the whole Department to London is not in order, and that the transfer of the Issue Office is not in order.
§ Mr. T. KENNEDY
May I ask the Minister of Pensions to relieve the Committee of the necessity of further discussion on this point by admitting what he can now do quite freely, that there will be no saving from the transference of pension work from Edinburgh to London?
§ Major TRYON
I certainly cannot do that, because I understood that the argument of the hon. Member was that the saving on the transfer was the justification for being in order.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
The Minister might have helped us at least by informing the Committee on that point. If the Minister says that no part of the Scottish Regional Office is being transferred, and that no saving is being effected, then I immediately leave that point.
§ Major TRYON
The widows' part has been transferred with a saving, and that, I think, has been raised frequently in the House.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
We have at last got the statement that there has been a saving. May I say that the whole Scottish sentiment is against the transfer of any Department? We view the transfer of the Widows' Department as merely a preliminary to the whole transference, and we hope that the Minister, even yet will reconsider it. I agree with the hon. Baronet who raised this point that there will not be very much saving, if any at all, by the transference. We hope the Minister, if it is not too late, will reconsider his decision as to this transference of the Widows' Department, and see if the Edinburgh Office cannot remain intact. After all, the Minister of Pensions is aware of the fact that, in order that his machine may run smoothly, he must at times give way to local sentiment, even though he occasionally may not agree with their views. For the sake of getting harmony and the smooth working of the machine, it is surely wise to give way to a certain amount of local sentiment, and on this matter of the transference of the Widows' Department, the Scottish Advisory Council, the British Legion, and all the other ex-service men's organisations are uanimously opposed to any transference either of the Widows' Department or any other Department. Although the Minister might be able to prove to me that certain economies could be made, and a little more expedition effected in the 578 work, in view of carrying with him what, I am sure, all of us desire, namely, the co-operation of all the local people, he ought to reconsider his decision and give to Scotland the status it formerly had.
I would like to ask the Minister one question regarding the general treatment, and the savings in regard to Medical Boards. I have had some complaints that people are kept waiting too long, or at least what they think is too long, for a Medical Board. So long as Medical Boards are continued, and in view of the fact that large numbers of ex-service men are still anxious for a Medical Board, might I ask if this reduction is not too large, in view of the work they have to undertake? There is another point with regard to Medical Boards. I have recently had brought to my notice the case of a man who died in Bellahouston Hospital. He was in receipt of a pension. The medical officer asked the widow if she would agree to have a postmortem examination, and the widow, after consultation with the family doctor, agreed. As a result of the postmortem examination, certain organs were found to be affected, which would never have been known had the woman not given her consent to the examination. Having gained that knowledge, they are using it against the woman receiving a pension, although she was informed that anything they found as a result of the examination would not be against her receiving a pension. It seems to me that the work of the Medical Boards ought to be reviewed, and if we are to have them, they ought to be more just to the ex-service man.
§ Mr. PALING
The Supplementary Estimate refers, in the first place, under Sub-head M to pensions and gratuities to dependants other than widows and children of deceased seamen, and of deceased warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, men of the Marines, Army and Air Force. The main reason given for asking for this increase of £200,000 is that the number of beneficiaries has not declined to the extent anticipated. I should like to ask the Minister whether any of this increase is because any of these dependants have had their pension raised? I have a suspicion that the pensions given to people of this description are looked upon in the great majority of cases as being the maximum sum. 579 I am afraid in a good many cases there is great difficulty in getting them. I have a case in my mind which I brought to the attention of the Minister and, of course, the increase was given. It did not, however, appear to me to be at all satisfactory. It was a case in which the father and mother had had a son killed, the father had dropped on evil times, and had become a sheer nervous wreck. They had three children under 14 years of age. The circumstances of the father and the family were extremely difficult. If my memory serves me aright, the amount of increase in the pension for him and his dependants was about 2s. per week, making 7s. 9d. a week. It struck me that was not a very generous offer.
I should also like to ask whether the question of old age is taken into account when these people apply for an increase? I have another case here, which is before the Ministry at the present time, where the people have a pension because their son was killed. I take it that the earning capacity of the father—and the mother, too, to a certain extent—would be taken into account when the pension was granted. Since then eight or nine years have elapsed. The people have become older, and the father can no longer work, as often as he used to do; and the mother cannot work at all. The income of the family has decreased to a tremendous extent. Is a case of this description dealt with by the pension authority, and have such cases any difficulty in establishing the claim to an increased pension?
There is a third case also being put to the Ministry, the case of a family of working-class people who have had a hard struggle. They had a son gifted rather above the average. He had gained a scholarship at a secondary school, had shown ability and capacity, and was going forward. By dint of the sacrifice of his parents he was kept at school. They ultimately sent him to the university. He was about 20 years of age. After having gone through a couple of years of his university career he joined the Army and was killed. The parents had made tremendous sacrifices in order to keep the lad where he was. Their wages were very small. They were looking forward to the time in about 12 months from then when their son would 580 be released from the university, and have a decent career in front of him. At the time the pension was allocated to the parents the earning capacity of the father was sufficient to go on with, and to keep the family in what is supposed to be relatively decent comfort. Since then, nine or 10 years ago, the father has had to retire from work. Would this be a case in which such people would make an application with any reasonable prospect of success of having the pension increased? I know lots of these cases, where they have the suspicion that the pension being paid is the maximum, and they are afraid of making an application for fear that the bit they have might be reduced ! Perhaps the Minister will answer as to how much of this money is due to the fact that increases of pensions have been given to such cases as I have set out.
Before I conclude, I should like to refer to Subhead M, which deals with the expenditure in respect of Children's Education. I understood the Parliamentary Secretary in his speech to say that, where the parents of these children were granted anything extra for education in the secondary schools, it was granted under circumstances where had the father continued to live, the position would not have been such as to enable him to give his child a secondary education in ordinary circumstances. I have a case which I brought before the Ministry in which the child probably would have had a secondary education in any event. The Ministry did not treat the case ungenerously. They were very decent over it. There are to-day an ever increasing number of working-class children who win scholarships, who, under the terms quoted by the Parliamentary Secretary, would not have been looked upon in the ordinary course of events as children liable for secondary education because of the economic position of their father. But they have gained scholarships, which means extra sacrifice on the part of the widow, that is the mother, for her child to attend the secondary school. I should like to ask the Minister whether the greatest consideration, or indeed any consideration at all, is given to children of this description, and whether any of the amount of the increase asked for under the Subhead is due to the fact that there is an 581 increase of the number gaining scholarships, some of whom must be the children of widows of this description, and whether in these cases these widows are treated generously in order that their children may continue until the end of the term that they reach 16. If the Minister cam give us any satisfaction on this and tell us that some of these increases are due to the fact that the money has been given in this direction, we, on this side, will offer no opposition to the increase for which he is asking.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
I seldom intervene in these debates on pensions, because I realise that the case is so very well put by hon. Members who sit on various committees, and therefore it is not necessary for one not so well acquainted with the intricacies of the matter to interfere. But there are one or two points I should like to raise. It will strengthen the case which has been made by my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee (Mr. Scrymgeour). It is the case of a man named Bollen, of Merthyr Tydvil. This man was badly wounded. I myself have seen the man's wounds. I am quite sure he suffers terribly and in a particularly disagreeable manner. I understand that he is not receiving a pension. Some time ago I made an application on behalf of this man that he should have independent medical examination with a view to receiving further hospital treatment. The Ministry acceded to this request. I have a letter from the man dated the 6th of the present month, which says that he encloses two medical certificates from his panel doctor stating that he required military hospital treatment.I was,he writes,before the military doctors on the 16th December, and up to the present I have not heard of the result.He adds—I am very anxious to hear the result, as I am still attending on my own doctor, and as I am suffering great pain.I have in my possession a certificate from Mr. Bollen's panel doctor authenticating what I say. If this man is suffering in the way the panel doctor declares, then he ought to have military hospital treatment, and seeing he has been before an independent board, has had his request granted, he ought to know by now what is the result of his 582 application in respect to further military hospital treatment. It seems to me to be rather cruel to keep the man in doubt as to what his fate will be under all these circumstances. Before the War this man was, and still is, a skilled workman. He bears an exemplary character so far as his employers were concerned. No word has been raised against him, yet at the present he is from time to time breaking down in health and cannot work more than three or four consecutive days in the week. Surely this is a case which ought to have very, very sympathetic consideration from the Ministry. It is a very distasteful thing to have it borne in upon one that there is a class attitude adopted in regard to questions of this sort. It is not pleasant. Yet in view of the way in which cases of this description are from time to time treated one has to come to conclusions which one does with regret. I think in some of these matters there is something radically wrong. Might I press this case upon the Ministry of Pensions, and ask the right hon. Gentleman to say something of the scandal of which they know. I suggest, indeed I want to say very emphatically that in my opinion quite honestly and sincerely this man deserves not only hospital treatment, but a pension to make up to him for the loss of earning capacity caused by wounds received in the War.
§ Mr. AMMON
I desire to raise two or three points which, I think, will come under Subhead L—Pensions and Gratuities to widows and children of deceased seamen, etc. I will not give the Minister names in Committee, but if he desires to see the communications I will be glad to pass them over. The first letter I have received—an express letter—deals with the case of a late chief petty officer who was invalided from the Royal Navy on the 7th May, 1919, and subsequently died on 9th September, 1925. The Ministry of Pensions contend that the man was removed from duty on 31st July, 1918, and that the seven years' limit operates from that date. The difficulty that some of us see arises from the fact that the man actually was in the Service and received promotion after that date of July, 1918. The man's parchment paper which has been sent along also bears that out. Application has been made on behalf of the widow separately, and that has been turned down. It is contended that She is entitled to a very much higher 583 pension than 25s. a week for the support of herself and children, and that the Royal Warrant in this respect shows there has been a mistake.
The other case is on somewhat similar lines, and is even worse. It concerns a man who on the 5th January, 1916, was removed from duty suffering from tubercle of the tongue. Subsequently he was treated for double pneumonia in 1917, and for influenza and laryngitis in 1918, but the fact is that he served for three years overseas after his first removal from duty, and he died in 1924. It is now contended that the seven years' limit is to count from his first removal from duty; but the point is that he died, not from the complaint that was diagnosed when he was first removed from duty, but a complaint which he subsequently contracted and for which he was ultimately removed from duty. It is contended that the first removal from duty should not count, but rather the second, and that his wife should have consideration on those grounds. I would be glad if the right hon. Gentleman would give consideration to this case.
§ Mr. HARDIE
The medical side of the ex-service man's case has always been regarded as very unsatisfactory. In what I am going to say to-day I am not making any attack upon medical men as such, but I want to draw the Minister's attention to certain things that are taking place which cause honest laymen, knowing the circumstances, to feel that a certain injustice is implied in the decisions. It is of little value in a Debate to introduce cases which the speaker does not know very well, and this afternoon I shall speak of men whom I knew before they went to the War. They are cases where I have gone personally to the works where the men worked prior to joining the Army; cases in which I have interviewed the medical man who was called the family doctor.
Having explored all the avenues to get detailed evidence at first hand, I now bring forward these cases as illustrating the general position. One of the cases belongs to the class which goes under the name of rheumatoid arthritis cases. A medical Member on the other side of the Gangway made a statement to-day in regard to that disease, and said it was 584 possible for a man to have been at the War and to have developed rheumatoid arthritis and yet for his complaint to have no relation to his war service. Against that contention I am bringing forward the case of a man who before he went to the War was a steady workman, always at his work, never suffering from any nervous or physical disability that ever kept him from either following his occupation or every form of sport to which he was attached—it is the case of a man recognised by the whole community among whom he lived as being always in fit health prior to joining up. When he was in the Army he was not only classed as A1, but did everything that A1 men only were claimed to be fit to do. When this man returned he shortly afterwards developed rheumatoid arthritis, swelling of the joints taking place.
When we get to the hospital where cases in this special group are treated, we start inquiring whether the man is suffering from something contracted after the War or during his war service. And here is a grievance which we get in most of these cases. I went down specially to be present at the medical examination of certain of these men. There was present "the special Government doctor," as we call him in Scotland, because that is what he really is, and there were other representatives there. The man was asked various questions and he replied to them. Then he was dismissed, and we were left. What I want to get to is this: The man who is suffering from this disease is told, in a vague way, that the Department to whom he makes his appeal is not responsible, but in private, when the man is not there who should be told, the medical men not only hint but make certain statements implying what has produced what the man is now suffering from. If we are going to deal fairly with cases such as that, we ought to have the courage to tell the man what is the medical opinion. Then I can see what is going to happen. If a statement is put on paper, and handed to the man, alleging that a certain thing has happened in his life that has produced this disease, though he is not able to take action I can see the kind of action that is going to happen. I can see the whole family up in arms against the statements made—if they are made in public as now 585 they are made in private. My appeal to the Minister is, that in future there ought to be some method whereby the unfortunate man is made quite well aware of these things. If we told the man that what he is suffering from is due to some personal mistake in his life or his conduct, he then would have a right to take the matter up and prove that it was not so, or allow you to prove that it was. There is no fairness at all in the present position.
I come to the next case. It belongs to the group of cases in which a man, feeling well, signed that paper which so many signed stating that he was all right. After three years, say, he developed something which medical men have agreed could have been caused by the War. During the interval he has been following an employment which would not be likely to cause that to develop. We have cases, especially, of heart disease in this class. I know the difficulty medical men have when it comes to a question of heart eases, because a man did not need to go to the War to develop an affection of the heart. One case I know of concerns a man who was a hammer man in an engineering shop at Springburn. He swung his hammer for nine years before he joined up. When he returned he signed that statement that he was feeling all right. Then a certain trouble affected him, and now he is told that the trouble that has developed has nothing to do with the War. What I want is that the medical men who are acting for the Government should tell the man exactly what they believe to be the disease and the cause of it. Let us have plain speaking. Let us get an understanding between the Government and the man. We could save a good deal of money in postage and envelopes and paper if we told these people direct, because when they get these little printed slips they send them on to the Member and ask him to explain what it means.
As to the shrapnel cases there can be no doubt in the lay mind about them. With an X-ray photograph even a layman can see the shrapnel present in the body. But then a medical man comes along and says that the man with the shrapnel in his body is quite tit. When you hear that you begin to wonder as to the fitness of the medical man. I know of another case of a man with 24 586 pieces of shrapnel in his body. He has made every effort to follow his occupation and his employer is doing everything he can for him. Every morning that he can walk the man goes down to his bench, and he may be able to work for one, two or three hours, and then he becomes dizzy and falls down. It is not epilepsy—I have gone into all that, and it has nothing to do with any nervous disturbance, and nothing to do with any form of poison. Medical men say that this man is quite fit.
Need I remind the Minister of Pensions of what happened in the Cathcart case, which was brought up by the last Member for Cathcart, Captain John Hay, who paid more attention to his business than the present Member does? He brought up a case similar to this. The medical men said the man was perfectly fit, and yet he dropped down dead at his work in Cathcart, and a postmortem examination showed that the shrapnel in the back of the neck had gradually worked right on to the main nerve and killed him. I am sure the Minister would not like to think anyone is going about in danger of dropping down dead while the Ministry is refusing any responsibility.
I hope we shall come to this—that if a person is to have no pension then he has got to be given the reason for it in plain language. It has got to be a plain medical statement that can be understood by the lay mind. Let us have none of this "fottling," as we call it in Scot-land, because it is only footling when you get a number of words slung into a phrase, and you throw that at the poor man. I hope the Minister will see to it that in future we get a clearer, a plainer and more honourable method of dealing with these cases.
§ Mr. PILCHER
I am very sorry indeed to worry a much-harassed Minister with another of these stories of people who are suffering under the present administration, but there is a particular case which I am very anxious to bring to the attention of the Committee. I think it would probably come under Subhead E. I want to tell a plain, unvarnished story of a woman living in my constituency. I do not know what her party adhesion is; it does not interest me in the least. If I had had the experience of this woman I should be a Socialist or a Communist, I 587 should have developed extreme views, and that is why I want to ventilate this case.
Mrs. Knott's husband was a member of the Royal Marines. He did his 21 years and 10 months' service, which finished in 1910. He got his long service pension and went into the Special Reserve, and did his drills to the satisfaction of everybody between 1910 and 1914. He was called to the Colours in 1914; he served right through the Mons campaign and got the Mons Star. After this, as he had previously had naval experience, he was sent to sea. In February, 1915, his ship was hit by a shell and he sustained a severe injury, and he was finally invalided home. In October or November, 1915, he was sent down to Falmouth and he did odd jobs for the Government in Falmouth Harbour. But all the time his heart was weakening, and I do not think that anybody who knew him would doubt that his death was due to the sufferings which he underwent in 1915 during the War. I know the Minister of Pensions has been very considerate in the discussion of this case and he has instituted every sort of inquiry, and it is simply a case of the rules working out unfairly and inequitably. This man worked on until January, 1924, but he gradually got physically weaker and he died in that year. Before that he had been in receipt of a special 30 per cent. disability pension in addition to his ordinary pension. His widow has made repeated applications, but the Minister is unable to give her any assistance at all.
§ Sir GERALD HOHLER
I think, Mr. Chairman, that the Minister has power to deal with this case. At any rate, he told me so the other day.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I understand that the Minister has not the power to deal with such cases. Of course, if he has, then it is in order.
§ Mr. PILCHER
I think the Minister has power to deal with this case, in view of what he said last night when he stated that although, technically, he may not have the power to give assistance in these 588 cases he is willing to take them into special consideration, and it is under the heading of Special Grants that I wish to raise this point. The position of this widow is that she has three children and they are dependent on the Falmouth Board of Guardians. I realise the difficulty of covering all these cases under the Regulations, but I would point out that her husband was a regular servant of the Government and her brothers gave their service in the Navy and one of them was killed. Therefore, they are an old Service family going back two or three generations, and now this unhappy widow is dependent upon the relief given to her by the board of guardians. I want to put this case as strongly as I can because I feel that it is one deserving special sympathy, and I am only afraid that there are quite a number of cases of this kind which do not come under the existing Regulations. I am not in favour of turning the whole pensions system upside down, and I voted against a proposal of that kind last night, but I do feel that there are these hard cases, and, in spite of the worries and troubles to which the Minister of Pensions has been subjected, I hope he will do all he can to meet this case.
§ Mr. SCRYMGEOUR
I think an appeal of the kind which has been made by the hon. Member who has just sat down ought to receive sympathetic consideration from the Government. A case I have brought forward is still awaiting a decision, and it is quite on a par with that which has been put forward by the hon. Member. It is the case of a man with 20 years' service. It is a very strong case, and the widow has been left with a family of three children under the very trying circumstances of the present time, and nothing has been done for her. Very urgent appeals have been made by my colleague and myself representing the City of Dundee, and we have been urged to bring this particular case before the right hon. Gentleman and the Ministry and the Parliamentary Secretary. The case itself has had a great deal of publicity in Dundee, and there deep-seated sympathy has been expressed throughout the community concerning this special case. As a matter of fact, we find that this case is typical of many that confront the Pensions Ministry in various parts of the country, and there should not be this tendency of a steadfast attitude 589 of submitting that in appeals of this kind no evidence is forthcoming directly attributing the cause of death to war service and then stating that nothing can be done. There ought to be at once an instruction to the Special Grants Committee to go into cases of this kind after such long service. In this case the man had a splendid record from the point of view of medals, of which we hear so much, but which are not a very tangible recognition of the needs of the family and very often we find them in such cases relegated to the pawn shop. Again you have the case of a man who went through the War and developed turberculosis after having surrendered a very valuable appointment, and he is left now with no recognition of his complete inability to follow his former occupation of a linotype operator in a journalistic establishment—to say that a man giving war service through the whole of the War and then to find his wife and family let down in this way and told that nothing can be done for her, viewed from the layman s point of view that is certainly not in accordance with the attitude adopted by those who advocated that the men should go to the War.
Some of us were opposed to the War and did our best publicly and privately to condemn it, but those who took up the work were sincerely imbued with the truth of the advocacy to which they listened. Whatever may be said of the individual representatives of the Ministry of Pensions on the Front Bench who give sym pathetic attention to these cases, I must say that there does seem to me to be a force behind the Ministry which remorselessly knocks out a man's case if it can be done at all, and there is a strong tendency towards laying down that unless there is the most clinching evidence these men do not succeed in obtaining recognition. I do not want it to be thought that I am unduly stating this case, but I know of many of these cases in which the men have been landed in a mental institution or a mental hospital. Some of these cases in Dundee are very striking indeed, and we have done our best to get the Ministry to deal with them, but I am sorry to say we cannot make any head way. I think we require a change of the general policy of the Ministry. I am credibly informed that some of the officials are so adamantine—
§ Mr. SCRYMGEOUR
No doubt I am out of order, but I want to strike the bull's eye every time, and I earnestly hope that as the outcome of the appeals we have made in this House something will be done. We do feel that on occasions like this we have to state our case as well as we possibly can, and undoubtedly what the Pensions Ministry is now doing does not come up to what was promised during the War when these men were induced to take up their stand in that great struggle. It should not now be a case of having to prove that the illness was caused during the War, but the fact of long service having been given to the country ought to be sufficient. There is great need for emphasising the cases I am putting forward, about which the feeling is keen and very strong indeed, and we hope there will be a change for the better. If we cannot have a change of Government, at any rate let us have a change of policy in regard to the treatment of these men.
§ Sir G. HOHLER
I want to put a case before the Minister of Pensions. I do not associate myself with any of the criticisms implying that the Minister of Pensions is unkind or out of sympathy with these cases. The case I want to put is that of a widow who was in receipt of a pension and she married again, honestly believing that the man she married was either a widower or a bachelor. She received her small gratuity on re-marriage. It then transpired that the man had deceived her; he was a married man, and the marriage was bigamous. In these circumstances she applied to the Ministry of Pensions for restoration of her pension, of course making allowance for the gratuity she had received; but it was refused on the ground that she had had a gratuity. I think the Ministry has made a mistake. I know that in another case in which I was personally interested, and with which I dealt, we were able to prove by evidence that the mistake had been made—that the man was a married man, and had simply married the woman for the purpose of getting hold of the gratuity—and in these circumstances the pension was restored. I hope the Minister will agree with me that that is the ordinary 591 course in cases of this class. They are not very common.
§ Major CRAWFURD
I want to add my appeal to those which have been made by other Members, principally on two grounds. It is too late now to wish the right hon. Gentleman and his colleague to go back on the decision which was made last night, but I want to urge upon them that, within the borders of that decision and the declarations made by the right hon. Gentleman last night, and within the possibilities of the case as they exist to-day, they should make their administration as sympathetic as possible. I desire to refer to those cases which come under Sub-head N, which may, I believe, come within the purview of the Special Grants Committee—cases which I have myself brought before the Ministry, but in which I have been unsuccessful in getting relief. I do not even ask, as the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Scrymgeour) asked, for consideration for hard cases not directly attributable to the War. That, perhaps, is impossible, but there are many other cases, such as I am sure all Members of the House have had before them. May I say that there is nothing I have experienced in connection with membership of the House of Commons that is more heartbreaking than dealing with these pensions cases? There is nothing more difficult or more wringing, or which makes it more difficult to try to carry out our duties as Members of Parliament.
There are certain cases which, while outside the strict letter of the regulations, are yet terribly hard cases, which should be given special treatment. The first that comes to my mind is the case of a woman who was not married to the man concerned but that is by the way: she lived with him as though she were married, they had several children, she kept his home, she kept his children for many years. Then he was injured in the War, and secured a pension, with allowances for the children, and the household was kept up. Suddenly one day he left home and disappeared. About a month later he came back, and then went away again and killed himself. The letter of the Regulations says that this woman was not entitled to a pension, although she had been recognised as being equivalent to the man's wife. According to the 592 Regulations she was not entitled to a pension because technically he had not supported her up to the day of his death, although in fact he had supported her until he went away, and for all practical purposes he had done so until he died. I failed, in spite of every effort, to get relief in that case.
Then there is another case of a more unusual kind—the case of a young woman whom I saw only about 10 days ago, who in 1914 was engaged to be married to a young man. Then the War came. Their wedding had actually been arranged, and she was wearing an engagement ring. They consulted together and they said: "A lot of our friends are rushing into matrimony, but we, on the whole, think it would be prudent not to do this until we see what the result of this War is in our case"; and for four years, until the end of the War, these two waited. The man was injured. They got married after he had been discharged, and there were two children. Then he developed some complaint directly attributable to his war service, and died. She is now a widow, and I think the only reason why she is not drawing a pension to-day is because, unlike a lot of others, she did not rush into further responsibilities, but took what was, if not a very heroic course, at least a prudent and cautious course, from the best motives, and waited until after the War. The fact that she was not married until after the man's discharge leaves her and her children dependent on the guardians.
Then there is the case of a man from whom I had a letter only two days ago. I have brought his case before the Ministry, but, under the letter of the Regulations, it has been turned down. This man for seven years or more has been steadily getting worse in health. He is known by many people to have a perfectly good character, and has been struggling to keep at work, but finally he had to give up from sheer weariness. Now he has gone beyond the time limit, and his case, like others, is refused. I am only quoting these as typical cases. I beg the right hon. Gentleman, without departing from the decision he made last-night, to make his administration as sympathetic as possible in these hard cases. I should like to add one word to what was said by an hon. Member on the Labour Benches. I am bound to say that in my dealings with the Ministry of Pensions I 593 have always had every consideration and every courtesy. I recognise the difficulties of the doctors, though I do think it would be better if greater consideration were given to the declared and written opinions of local medical men when they come into conflict with the opinions of doctors appointed by the Ministry, who, from the very nature of the case, can obviously only have a cursory knowledge of the history of the cases they are examining. A man who has been the family doctor for 10 or 12 years, who has known the case before the War, and who, we must assume, is acting honestly—and, at any rate, it is open to a Member of Parliament to make such inquiries as he can—the opinion of a doctor of that kind should, I think, be given greater weight than is the case at present.
There is one other matter connected with the action of the Ministry which I should like the right hon. Gentleman to look into himself. I had a case a little while ago where a man who had had a final award wished to appeal against it, but he did not come to me for my help until after the period of one year had elapsed. That is the most difficult case of all to take up, except, perhaps, the one where an appeal has been heard and rejected. This man had been ill. It is true that a Regulation was issued at a certain stage laying down that appeals could only be heard within one year of the final award, and that Regulation was supposed to be made known to possible pensioners by the ordinary method of advertising in the local newspapers or putting up a notice on the doors of the town hall. I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that, in view of some of the circumstances in the poorer parts of this country, and in London particularly, it is perfectly ludicrous to suppose that a Regulation communicated in that way really reaches the people it affects. My poorer constituents do not look on the door of the town hall, and do not read the local Press.
This man was ill in bed at the time when this Regulation came out, and for most of the time he was away from home. Then, when I myself accompanied him—he was allowed to have assistance in presenting his case—to the House of Lords Appeal Tribunal in the Strand, a representative of the Ministry was there, and, when the representative of the 594 Ministry was asked if he had anything to say about the case, he simply drew the attention of the Tribunal to this Regulation about the period of 12 months. It does seem to me to be wrong, when an appeal is being made from the Ministry of Pensions to another Tribunal, that the Ministry should have the power to put in a word which practically forejudges the decision of the Tribunal. In that case, all the representative of the Ministry did was simply to say, "I draw the attention of the Tribunal to this Regulation," and the appeal was dismissed straight away. I quite realise the immense difficulties with which the right hon. Gentleman is faced when he is asked to re-open whole classes of cases, but I do ask him to try to give special consideration to special cases of hardship that are brought to him and vouched for, and, above all, I would ask him to see that, during his term of office, the warm heart and ready sympathetic consideration that were hoped for and were promised to these men six or seven years ago shall not deteriorate into a too rigid adherence to rules and Regulations.
§ Major GLYN
I hope that when the Minister conies to reply he will be able to give some information as to Sub-head O6—Medical Treatment of Disabled Officers, Nurses and Men—which shows an increase on account of there being more men requiring treatment than was expected. I think this Debate has shown that there is agreement in every quarter of the Committee as to the great courtesy and consideration shown by the Minister and his officials, and I should like to follow the example of the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Scrymgeour), and try to keep away from particular cases, because I think we ought to try to deal more with the principles upon which things are managed by the Ministry. In regard to institutional treatment, we all know that the lunacy laws of this country are in sore need of reform, and I trust that that will be one of the Measures which will be considered by His Majesty's Government. Cases have come to my knowledge of ex-service men who have found themselves in public institutions for people not of normal habit of mind, and, on inquiring into those cases, I have found on each occasion that there was very little behind the accusations which were brought against the Ministry in regard to not taking proper 595 care of the men who found themselves in those circumstances. At the same time, I think there is a special duty upon Parliament to see that the lunacy laws are overhauled at no very distant date. As long as they remain as they are at present—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain FitzRoy)
It would not be in order to enter into a discussion of the Lunacy Laws on this Vote.
§ Major GLYN
In regard to institutional treatment, for which this extra amount is required, it does cover cases in which the Ministry of Pensions is concerned with men qualified for pensions who find themselves in lunatic asylums. The last point I want to make is that I think a great deal more good could be done for the pensioners if the Ministry could devise some method of making known to the men themselves what are their chances if they choose to avail themselves of institutional treatment. I have come across many men who were not aware that, by making application in the proper way, they could get this treatment. It may be that in certain parts of the country the organisation of the Ministry for advertising the facilities afforded is not so good as in others, but I hope the Minister will direct his attention to seeing that all men who would benefit by the treatment which the Ministry provides are made aware of the fact that they can get such treatment.
§ Mr. KELLY
I want to refer to a side of the case that I think the last speaker was intending to reach. I would ask the Minister to pay regard to those men who have refrained from making claims because of their dislike to coming on the Pension Fund, and who at some late period have found themselves in the position that they have had to resort to medical treatment, and afterwards have probably had to enter some institution. I know of such a case where a man, who throughout his whole life was what one would consider quite normal, as a result of all he went through on responding to the call the country made, was affected in such a way that they were compelled to remove him to an institution. Owing to the claim not being made in good time, owing to someone, I am not sure whether a 596 medical man or not, having stated this was not due to the service he had rendered, his wife is denied anything from the Pensions Ministry. I would ask that not only should the medical advice, but the record of the man, even in the days prior to the War service, be taken into account, and, even if there is doubt the man should have the benefit of it. I hope the Minister in considering these cases, particularly those who have had to have institutional treatment, will see that pensions are given. There are many that have come under my own observation. I have had to communicate with the Ministry upon some of them. I hope in the future, despite the limitations of the Regulations, the Minister will take a more generous view than he has taken up to the present. We did not have any limitations when we asked the men to go out, and I think their families ought to have the treatment they deserve from the country by reason of the service these men rendered us.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
It may seem a bit strange that I should be here to-day appealing on behalf of ex-service men in regard to the item for special grants. I who did all I possibly could to keep men from going to the War, and I would do the same again. Here we have case after case and Member after Member putting cases forward from every side of the House to the Minister, who has a heart of stone. There are no two ways about that. There is no feeling there. If there was any of the milk of human kindness left in the Minister of Pensions, after the time he has been in the job, and the manner in which he has handled the job he has sucked all that milk of human kindness out of him in order that he might draw his £5,000 a year.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I have just received a notification from the Minister as to a very sad case which I talked over and reasoned over with him, and I might as well have appealed to Old Nick—[Interruption]—the devil, that is who he is—for any good result that came of my negotiations. It is true the right hon. Gentleman met me as a gentleman so to speak. Shakespeare says,That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain597 all the while—and there he sits. He can laugh if he likes, and he can have all the backing of the Tories behind him, though I am certain he has not, but there are children and there are women in this country to-night who are cursing the Minister of Pensions because of the inhuman manner in which he is dealing with cases.
To come to my own special case. In Dalmuir we have a great shipbuilding yard which rendered yeoman service to this great Empire, not only in sending soldiers to the Front, against all my wishes, but also in producing the finest machines of war that the world has ever seen. One of these men, a painter, was not satisfied with doing his bit at Dalmuir. He voluntarily enlisted. He was going to blow the Germans out of the Rhine. They are not blown out yet. He left his wife, like many another man, and lined up with the British Army in order to defend her against the Huns. We told him at the time that the greatest Huns our common people ever had were the employing and financial class of Great Britain. We are proving it here to-day right up to the hilt. This man was none of your conscripts, none of your Derby men. He was past his prime, he was not a young man; yet, in order to drill him up, they gave him some exercises to do, and in doing them he strained his back, which rendered him unfit for active service. He went back to his work as a painter and struggled on, just as the working-class always do. Had he been a fly member of the ruling class, had he been a wealthy man, a doctor would have been in attendance to see what was the matter, but, being one of a hardy, intelligent race, he struggled on at his work, hoping against hope that he would get better soon and that his native air would renew him. But such was not the case, because now he is unable to do anything. He is practically paralysed. I have visited his home myself. He still believes this was a war to end war. He is not a Socialist, but a patriot, who believes the Tory party mean what they say. He does not realise, as I do, that they are liars, and have deceived the working classes. [Interruption.] It is quite Parliamentary. I have taken the highest legal opinion on it. The Tories need not run away with the idea that I am making statements I have not pre- 598 pared. They have been gone into very carefully, so that I am fully armed.
The man could hardly walk across the floor. He has a typical wife and two little boys. The house is scrupulously clean. It is a single apartment house 12 feet by 10 feet. He fought to protect his wife and children from the Germans coming and stealing his single apartment. Here you have the Minister turning down such a case. His wife is working the very flesh off her fingers in order that her children may have a better chance in life than their parents had. I appealed personally to the Minister. I got a statement made out by the Painters' Organisation, which has done everything it could to assist this woman in her struggle not to go into the Poor House. That is all that is in front of them. If there be anything the Tory Government have done that I detest them for more than anything else it is that they have brought a number of my race, the Scottish race, down to the extent that they are glad to accept parish relief. It never occurred in the history of Scotland until the War. That is one of the things Scotland has to thank you and your class for, reducing the numbers of people whose fathers and mothers would have died rather than accept parish relief. Here are men who offered their lives in the War. They can get nothing.
The Minister of Pensions, of course, is of all men the most reasonable. He reasons with you. He is quite nice. In fact, I want to take you into my confidence, Captain FitzRoy. I am beginning to notice that that is a feature of the Tory Government. They are all playing that game, from the Prime Minister down wards. They are all being, oh! so nice and so amenable to reason. But it is results that we want. We do not want them to be nice to us. I was not sent here to be nice to the Ministers on that bench. I was sent here, and so was every Member on these benches, including our ex-Prime Minister and the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, in order that we might fight the Tory party and not be nice to them. They are very nice to us, but how are they acting towards our people outside? How are the ex-service men faring at the moment? Is the right hon. Gentleman nice and pleasant with them? Yesterday, I listened hour after hour to Members from all quarters 599 of the House making appeals to the Minister of Pensions. One would think that we were appealing for some other species altogether; that it was not for men, women and little children we were appealing, but for an entirely different species. Nothing is done for them. We get no satisfaction. We get a nice pleasant smile, butone may smile, and smile, and be a villainall the while. We do not want smiles, we do not want the Minister to be nice with us in that way. If the matter rested with me, if I considered that I had played my part like a man, and if the Government or anybody else stood betwixt my wife and children and the means of life, I say to the right hon. Gentleman, "I would have your life, Sir, or you would have mine."
It is time this Tory Government and this Ministry of Pensions did something. It is time the Minister of Pensions dropped this bland smile of his and did something definitely on behalf of the ex-service men. What was enacted yesterday on the Floor of the British House of Commons? We had a man who was maimed and crippled in the War, a Tory Member of Parliament, who is not able to stand on his feet and has to remain seated. He stated the case on behalf of the ex-service men, and yet we had the spectacle of a Tory Minister giving that man a telling off. That is what happened here yesterday. I do not know what the British Legion will have to say about it. Personally, I do not care the snap of my finger for the British Legion, but it is the men who are in the British Legion for whom I care. The British Legion got a telling off here yesterday from the Minister of Pensions. There are no two ways about that.
I do not know what constituency is represented by the hon. and gallant Member who spoke for the British Legion yesterday. [HON. MEMBERS: "Fairfield!"] The hon. and gallant Member for the Fairfield Division of Liverpool (Major Cohen), of all the places in the world! He is a Tory and he sat in his seat yesterday—he tried to rise—and appealed to the Minister. He appealed on behalf of the ex-service men. He was appealing for special consideration, and he was answered by an old debating trick. I 600 told the Minister, "You are being congratulated, because you are a very clever debater, but I would be ashamed of myself to score a point in Debate at the expense of men who risked their lives." Many of them were actually compelled to risk their lives for the country, and this is the way they are treated—by the right hon. Gentleman scoring a debating point over the hon. Member who was appealing for the ex-service men. Had it been the widow of General Maude there would have been no appeal required. The Government gave her £30,000, but for the common Tommies' wife—" damn you all." That is what they get. They get nothing but abuse. They are treated as though they belonged to another species.
The Government on the one hand are ladling out thousands of pounds to certain individuals, but when it comes to our own people, the common people, the people on whom the British Empire rests, the people without whom the country cannot exist, the people who went to war for the country, the people who made it possible for this great Empire to be carried on, they are of no account. I say to the Minister of Pensions, "If I were you and I could do no better, I would clear out of the business." I say, before my Maker, that if I were unable to foot the bill I would not accept £5,000 a year. I would be big enough and man enough to come to the House and tell the House that the rules and regulations connected with the Ministry of Pensions are of such a character that it is impossible for me to do justice. Had I been in the Labour Ministry, that is what I would have done. I do not exempt the Labour Ministry any more than anyone else.
The time has arrived for us to act and to do something to defend these women and children who have lost their breadwinners, or whose breadwinner has been disabled. Think of what was promised to the men when they went to the War. When the men stood side by side with me and I appealed to them not to go to the War, they said: "It is our country, we are all comrades, and it is our duty to go." The right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) said: "When the War is over, take it from me, Kirkwood, I will use all my influence with the ruling classes of this country to see that never again, as far as 601 this country can secure it, will anyone know what want is." Here we are to-day appealing not for ourselves but for women and children, and for the men who, rightly or wrongly—they believed they were right—were prepared to make the supreme sacrifice to defend their native land. And this is the way they are being treated.
Others may appeal to the Minister of Pensions. I will not. I will doff my cap to him no more. I have done everything that is humanly possible in order to appeal to that man, and it has been absolutely of no avail. Therefore, I will tell the ex-service men that they need expect nothing. I will create such an atmosphere, so far as I am able, throughout the country so that never again will they go to war. I ask hon. Members opposite to remember the phrase, "No trade with Germany, never again." You are a lot of frauds. I will tell the ex-service men that if we are to go to war, we will go to war against you fellows. You are the only enemies my country ever had, and I tell you—
§ Mr. J. HUDSON
I am sure that I am speaking for every hon. Member on these benches when I say that the hon. Member for Dumbarton (Mr. Kirkwood) expressed views with which we completely agree. If hon. Members opposite would say the truth that is in their hearts they would say that, at any rate, on the question of the injustice now being done to the ex-service men he was expressing their views also. The particular sub-head with which I wish to deal is K1. I agree, and I think everyone in the Committee will agree, that at least £800,000 is necessary for the purpose mentioned, in providing pensions, gratuities and allowances to disabled seamen, disabled warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men; but I am not satisfied as to whether that very inadequate sum is being properly apportioned among the cases most in need. I am sure that it is not meeting all the cases of need. I am in doubt as to whether very serious cases, cases more serious than the average in some districts, are being adequately dealt with.
602 I suppose it would be out of order in this Debate to discuss the decisions of the appeal tribunals, and I will not attempt to do that, but I do complain that the Minister of Pensions should ask us to provide under this sub-head an extra £800,000 and give us such little information regarding the treatment meted out by the appeal tribunals in the various districts where they work. I have every reason to suspect that the tribunal in the district where my constituency lies does not meet to anything like the same extent as do other tribunals the serious cases.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member said that it would not be in order for him to deal with the appeal tribunals, and that he did not intend to do so. I hope he will confine himself to questions more particularly concerned with the Vote.
§ Mr. HUDSON
What I wish to point out is that information regarding the decisions in cases that have been dealt with by the tribunals, and which ultimately lead to the payment of this money, is not forthcoming, and I was about to suggest to the Minister that in some memorandum issued by the Ministry we ought to be informed for the various districts in which these decisions are made what are the total grants that have been allowed. If that were done, hon. Members who come from the district where my constituency is situated, and probably other hon. Members, would criticise much more vigorously the Minister of Pensions than they have done hitherto.
There is a further point, regarding the presentation of the cases which come before the appeal tribunals. The Ministry of Pensions always takes a line against the applicants who put their cases forward. The Ministry does not regard itself in any sense as representing the applicant. The applicant stands on one side and the Ministry of Pensions is opposed to the applicant. There is no association of friendliness between the applicant and the Ministry, who ought to be responsible, in the long run, for the welfare of these men. The Ministry regards it to be its sole duty to hold off the applicant from the relief 603 and the pension that he is claiming. I believe that leads to a very evil state of things. Some of the applicants' cases are very badly presented. It may be that in some instances they are not members of the British Legion. I know that in my district the British Legion helps a considerable number of cases to be presented well when finally they come before the appeal tribunals, but in some cases men have fallen out of membership. They have not got friends to help them to present their case, and, if the Ministry of Pensions stands opposed to them as an enemy when their cases are presented before the tribunal, it is very likely that entirely inadequate treatment will be the result. I wish that there could be some modification in the attitude of the Ministry regarding that procedure before the appeal tribunals.
With regard to Sub-head N—Payments under the Regulations of the Special Grants Committee to dependants and families of non-commissioned officers and men—I see the statement on the Paper is that the expenditure in connection with Children's Education Allowance is proving larger than was anticipated. I am afraid that hon. Gentlemen on the other side very frequently make mistakes in their anticipations regarding what is necessary for the education of working-class families. I wish they could realise completely the needs of some of the cases which I have had brought to my attention recently to meet the cost, for instance, of secondary education. You cannot get effective maintenance of a boy in a secondary school when you are paying to his widowed mother, for her maintenance and the maintenance of two children besides, only a little in excess of £2. That is all that is given for the whole of the upbringing of the family. I have recently brought to the attention of the Ministry a case of one of my constituents, a very decent woman who lost her husband in the War, whose 11-year-old son has proved himself perfectly capable, who has received very high commendations from his teachers in the elementary schools, and who has gone forward to a secondary school. In order that he may be educated at that secondary school, the mother has gone out to work to supplement the payment that the Ministry of pensions is making.
604 Is it the policy of the Ministry that in all cases mothers must supplement their pensions when it comes to the time for a capable son to go into the secondary school, or is it their view—they ought to state it frankly—that the pension is inadequate to keep a boy at a secondary school and pay the extra costs which are involved in the education of a child in that situation? Unfortunately, we have not yet got adequate maintenance grants in connection with our secondary school system, and another department of the Government is doing very little to see that these adequate maintenance grants are provided. This is essential, because if a son of an ex-service man killed in the War comes to secondary school age, and wins a scholarship of an average value, something additional will be necessary to maintain him while he is in a secondary school. I cannot understand why a general rule is not made to cover all these cases, and to make the additional grant to these children without any further inquiry being necessary. I am quite sure, however, that the £10,000 that is here named will nothing like cover the cases that come before the Ministry, and I hope that some radical modification of the regulations with regard to this may be effected in the immediate future.
§ Lieut.-Commander ASTBURY
I did not mean to intervene in this Debate, but I really think that some of the speeches which have been made by the hon. Members of the Socialist party opposite require an answer. After hearing the last speech but one, from an hon. Member who told the Committee that he would prevent other men from fighting, I think any criticism with regard to the treatment of ex-service men comes with very bad force from a man who is reduced to such arguments. If the case of the ex-service men was to be left in the hands of those gentlemen, it would be a very sad day for the ex-service men of this country. I have taken part in this House in oriticising the Ministry of Pensions. Many of us would like to see many things altered. We have to remember that it is an enormous organisation, and that it is extremely difficult for an organisation like that to run smoothly.
Many things have been said with regard to different cases. Let me take one case which especially acts very hardly on the ex-service man, the case 605 of tuberculosis. A man for instance goes out to the trenches, contracts bronchitis in the trenches, comes back to this country, and three or four years later develops tuberculosis. He then goes before an Appeal Tribunal, and his claim is disallowed because the medical men find that his tuberculosis has not been caused or aggravated by the war. This House cannot blame the Ministry of Pensions for that. That is outside the scope of the Ministry of Pensions, and is in the hands purely and simply of the medical men alone. With regard to another class of case where a man has exceeded the time limit, I should like to tell the Committee that I have made many applications to the Minister of Pensions to get these cases reopened, and almost without a single exception he has had those cases reopened for me. Another Member said, "It is the time to do something; nothing has been done." I would like to ask him what the Socialist party, of which he is an advocate, did when they were in office. What did they do?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
Speeches made on that side of the House were listened to quite quietly. I hope that Members on that side will give an equally quiet hearing to Members on this side.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
There would have been no interruption if the hon. Member had not proceeded to ask questions It is always the custom in the country where I come from to answer questions.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
If he is going to ask us questions, we should not be reprimanded for answering questions he has asked.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
Surely, it is within the Rules of Order that a relevant statement may be made. I have noticed, in the official records of this House, that practically every one of the great Par- 606 liamentary figures in the past is represented as having made similar statements in the course of the Debates.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The custom of putting questions across the Floor of the House is becoming much too usual. It is my intention to put a stop to it, as far as I can.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
Is it not the practice of the House? As far as I can see, looking at previous Debates, it is not an increasing but a decreasing practice, as compared with the past.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
Further, with regard to this point of Order. Am I wrong in supposing that it is the duty of the Members here to safeguard those traditional rights of the Members of the House of Commons in this respect?
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I am sorry I did not make it plain. The point I wish to put before you is that this right of Members, to make such interruptions to a speech in order to elicit a point, has been one of the safeguards, one of the rights, belonging to Members of the House of Commons. Is it not the duty of every Member to safeguard this right of the House of Commons to elicit points when a Member is speaking?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
There is no right of Members of the House of Commons to interrupt another speaker.
§ Lieut.-Commander ASTBURY
I did not intend to put my query as a question. I say that during the Socialist term of office they did nothing whatsoever to help the ex-service men, notwithstanding all their promises throughout the country.
§ Lieut.-Commander ASTBURY
We have been told that we take no interest in ex-service men. Speaking as a member of the British Legion, I know what ex-service men think. I know that during the last six or nine months there has been a distinct improvement in the administration of pensions throughout the 607 country. I have dealt with 30,000 cases before the appeal tribunal, and I can speak with bigger authority than any Socialist on those benches. I say that there is a far better feeling, a far better spirit, among the ex-service men with regard to their pensions to-day than there has been up to the present time. It is always an extremely easy thing for those who are out of power to criticise those who are in power. I am not saying that there are not hundreds of very hard cases throughout the country, but it is not fair, because there are those cases, when you are dealing with hundreds of thousands of men, to pile abuse on the head of the Minister of Pensions. for not being able to ride through the Regulations and do acts which he is precluded from doing by the Regulations. I simply want to make the statement that during the last six or nine months, at any rate in my area, the North Western area, there is a far better spirit prevailing.
§ Miss WILKINSON
I just want to raise three practical points on these Estimates. The first is to ask the Minister whether he can give his personal consideration to the problem of those cases where it is a question whether the death arose out of illness or disablement due to the War. I refer to a class of case that is becoming increasingly frequent—the cases of soldiers in mental hospitals who die from pneumonia. I understand that it is a well-known fact that many people in mental hospitals do not die because of their mental trouble, but die technically from pneumonia. On the medical man's death certificate pneumonia is stated as the cause of death. I have knowledge of a case where a widow has been refused a pension on the ground that, pneumonia being a disease that comes rapidly and is rapidly fatal, obviously it could not possibly have arisen out of the War. I ask the Minister to give such cases further consideration, especially when the doctor states that a man's power of resistance to disease has been lowered by war service.
There is another class of sad cases, in which men have developed rheumatism since the War. There are the cases of men who went into the Army as Al, were discharged perhaps as fit, and went to work, and because of the difficulties of 608 unemployment went on working as long as they could before they saw a doctor. Perhaps two years or more elapsed, and the men were actually suffering during all that time. I have a case also of a tuberculous patient in my constituency. He did everything he could to hide the fact that he was suffering from that disease, because he was afraid that if he revealed his trouble he would "get the sack," and his wife and children would starve. Now after his death she has been refused a pension because her husband was not under doctor's orders during the time. The reply that I got from the Ministry was that I must bring other evidence to show that the man was actually suffering during that time. The only evidence possible was the evidence of the widow and of men who, having worked with the man, knew that he suffered from a hacking cough. The Minister has not regarded this evidence as sufficient. I do not want to plead individual cases here, for this is not the place to deal with them. But these are not so much individual cases as cases of a general type, and I ask the Minister to consider them as general cases.
With reference to Sub-head O 6, I want to call attention to something that is being very much neglected, and that is the question of nurses' pensions. There were numbers of women who went through the terrible conditions of the War and who never will be physically the same as they were. They have now gone into hospitals to work. They have tried to carry on the extraordinarily hard work of ordinary general hospitals and they are breaking down. It is very difficult for these nurses to get pensions, allowances or even institutional treatment, because they have been at work since the War, apparently in good health. Yet their doctors say that their health has been undermined because of the terrible war conditions, and that, but for those conditions, they would now be perfectly healthy. Personally, as far as the staff of the Ministry are concerned, I have always found them extremely anxious to help, but I do find that somehow or other nurses are not considered as part of the War to the same extent as others. I ask the Minister to give his personal consideration to this question of the breakdown of nurses.
§ Major TRYON
I would like to reply first to the speech which has just been delivered, because the hon. Member set an example, which was not followed in every case by members on the benches behind her, in putting her case moderately, courteously, and with an obvious desire to make suggestions of a helpful nature.
§ Mr. MAXTON
On a point of Order. Is it within the province of the Minister of Pensions to deliver lectures on etiquette to Members sitting on this side of the House?
§ The DEPUTY - CHAIRMAN
The Minister has been attacked considerably during the course of the Debate, and it is only reasonable that he should reply.
§ Major TRYON
I thought the Committee would not object to my thanking an hon. Member of another party for the way in which she put her case. I do not understand the sensitiveness of certain people who show no consideration whatever for the feelings of anyone else. I will proceed to deal with the points that have been raised. May I say generally to all Members who have mentioned individual cases, that I hope they will send the names, the regimental numbers and particulars, so that I may deal with them. We shall, of course, be very happy to go into the cases, and I hope the Committee will not pronounce judgment on any of them merely on the information already given, because sometimes there are two sides to these cases, and the two sides may possibly not be known to the hon. Member concerned.
§ Mr. HARDIE
The cases with which I dealt are the cases which the Minister has had in his hands. The same thing has happened with the Minister of Labour. Ministers say, "Send me the particulars." They have the particulars of all the cases.
§ Major TRYON
A point raised early in the Debate was about the reduction under Subhead K2 for treatment and 610 training allowances. If hon. Members will look at the last part of the Estimate they will see that it is because in another part of the Vote there is a very large increase in pensions that there is lees money required for this treatment allowance. In other words, it is because the pensions are higher that the amount under the heading of treatment is less. The amounts must be compared together. The pensions have increased by £800,000, whereas the decrease is £83,000 under this Subhead. Obviously there is a very large net gain on pensions. Moreover, on the opposite page, under medical treatment of disabled officers and men, we are providing an additional £216,000. Therefore, taking the question as a whole, there has been a large increase under this head. The hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston), who spoke first, spoke of a training centre. That centre is not part of the Ministry of Pensions and, therefore, I cannot reply at once, but I shall be happy to go into the point that was raised. The individual ease which the hon. Member raised, I understand is being dealt with at Edinburgh. I shall, however, be happy to ascertain what are the causes of the delay which he alleges in this case.
The hon. and gallant Member for Caithness and Sunderland (Major Sir A. Sinclair) raised the question of the Scotland Region, but as it is a matter of policy and questions are raised which really come under the next Estimate, it is not in my power to reply now. The hon. and gallant Gentleman is one of those Members of the House who, although not in agreement with us on every point, is doing his best to help us by serving on the Central Advisory Committee of the Ministry, The hon. Member for Royton (Dr. Davies) put the medical point of view in a speech which was of very great value, because it showed not only how difficult is the task of medical officers to deal with these questions, but it also brought home to the Committee the obvious desire of the whole medical profession to deal fairly with cases of assessment and with pensions questions generally. The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) raised a point about delays over medical boards. If he will send me particulars I shall be very happy to go into the matter. Another hon. Member raised a question about which I was not very 611 clear. If it was about need pensions it would be the case that the parent who was unable to work would thereby have a better chance of putting forward a claim. There is no time limit for the putting forward of these claims. Therefore, no doubt, what was mentioned by the hon. Member will be considered.
The hon. Member also raised the question of education. Among the first questions which I hope to put to the new Central Advisory Committee in London, when we meet soon, will be this question of education. It is becoming increasingly important, because the children are growing up. I can assure hon. Members that it is one of the problems that we shall consider when the Advisory Committee meets. I am sure that in that, as in other matters, we shall be helped by the fact that there will be more women members on that Committee. The hon. Member for North Camberwell (Mr. Ammon) put forward an individual case which I understand he intends to send to me. We will go into the case. The senior Member for Dundee (Mr. Scrymgeour) will, I am sure, forgive me when I say that I cannot agree with the attack which he made on the staff of the Ministry. The staff are conducting an extremely difficult task. Taking into account all sections and degrees of male workers in this country, I think there would be no occupation where there is such a large proportion of ex-service men. I am sure that everyone will agree that, whether they are ex-service men or not, the staff are doing their level best for the pensioners. Of course, I do not complain of attacks on myself, because attacks should be made on the Minister and not on the staff. The hon. and learned Member for Gillingham (Sir G. Hohler) mentioned a case which I hope he will send to me. The hon. and gallant Member for West Walthamstow (Major Crawfurd) mentioned the case of a man who was away from his wife owing to illness. If he will send me that case I shall be happy to inquire into it.
The other points with which I would like to deal are the following. Some of the speakers fell into the error of regarding individual cases as typical. We have had 17 or 18 speeches, and most Members have raised one or two points. When it is remembered that those benefiting from the work of the Ministry number about 2,000,000, it will be realised that, so far 612 from these cases being typical, they are really exceptional, and that is probably within the knowledge of the Members who raised them. If anyone had been sitting in the Gallery of this House, not knowing what this Debate was about, and had heard Member after Member asking us to spend more, I do not think it would be realised that this is a Debate on a proposal to provide, on a Vote of £67,000,000, an additional £1,500,000 for pensions. I hope the Committee will now give us a Vote which is conspicuous in that the money goes to the maimed and the sick rather than to the cost of administration. The Committee will realise that we are doing our best and that if there have been mistakes in estimating it is because we had not properly calculated how much we should require for the present year.
§ Major CRAWFURD
The right hon. Gentleman has extended a general invitation to Members to send him particulars of cases. Does that invitation include cases which have already been before the Ministry?
§ Miss WILKINSON
The right hon. Gentleman said he was going to reply to my questions, but I think in consequence of interruptions he forgot to deal with certain of my points. There is, for example, the question of the mental cases, to which I should like a reply.
§ Major TRYON
The hon. Member will not expect me to give a decision on that point. I listened to the hon. Member's statement and I only want to say now, that I quite appreciate the point she was making in reference to pneumonia among mental patients in institutions. I have also noted her point with reference to the nurses. If she will send me any observations which she has to make on the subject of the nurses, which will enable me to go more fully into the matter, I shall be happy to do so. As to the question of the hon. and gallant Member for West Walthamstow (Major Crawfurd), I do not mean to suggest that any question which has been previously put to the Ministry is not to be put again. All I mean is that Members will not, I hope, expect me to reply in a Debate on individual cases and that it is better to send me such cases.
§ Mr. MAXTON
The Minister seems to have a completely mistaken notion of his functions and the functions of private 613 Members. He seems to think that it ought to be regarded by us as a privilege and pleasure to run on little errands for his Department and whenever a fault is alleged against the Ministry his reply is "Bring it to me." But the fact that such complaints come to us at all, shows that throughout the country among ex-service men there is complete dissatisfaction. [HON. MEMBERS: "No !"] Do not let us become heated about it. Let us be quite cool. There is an unemployment insurance scheme under the Ministry of Labour; there is an old age pension scheme; there is now a widows' pension scheme, and there is the health insurance scheme. My post bag contains, perhaps once in six months, a case affecting old age pensions or health insurance administration; a little more frequently perhaps there are cases concerning unemployment insurance, but scarcely a day passes without communications from ex-service men about unfair treatment.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Well, my constituency is a working-class constituency, and it has a very poor population who are being very hardly hit, but there must be something wrong when the Ministry officials are not able to satisfy the just and legitimate claims of these ex-service men. None of us would grumble, if it was only a matter of an occasional case of unfairness or an isolated instance of a sense of injustice, but we know, and hon. Members opposite know, that this feeling of injustice is so general that Members of the House cannot possibly, if they are to do their duty to their constituents, make themselves extra unpaid officials to the Minister in the matter. It is the duty of the Ministry to satisfy the big proportion of the claims of these ex-service men and to remove the feeling of injustice in the minds of these men. Whether that feeling is rightly or unfairly there, it is the first duty of the Minister and his officials to have it removed. It is not being removed and it is not decreasing. It is, on the contrary, very widespread.
I know that this Supplementary Estimate asks for an increase of the total amount originally estimted and we would all be glad to vote that extra money, but the Minister did not point out that this additional Estimate is necessary because 614 the previous year's Estimate was cut down by over £3,000,000. During 1925–26 the Minister estimated he would require £3,000,000 less. There is a steady deliberate policy on the part of the Ministry to make pensions a diminishing charge on the country. It is not necessary for any hon. Member to tell us that there is a natural shrinkage owing to deaths and owing to children becoming of age and self-supporting. It is quite obvious that there is also a definite pressure to press economy beyond the proportions which natural shrinkage would justify. The officials of the Ministry themselves have been pushed by the hard circumstances of the case into giving away in this Estimate some of the economy ground which they were trying to make, but they are still pressing too far their attempts to reduce the Ministry of Pensions Estimates.
Considering the treatment which you have given your Italian Allies in regard to the payment of their debt; considering the treatment you have given to your American Allies in regard to the payment of our debt to them; considering the treatment which the Government have given to their late enemies the Germans, I say you have not treated the ex-servicemen who fought their War with the same generosity as that which you have extended to your late Allies and your late enemies. A period of 70 or 75 years is the period during which the Allies are to be allowed to liquidate their responsibilities. If the policy of last year is carried out in regard to pensions, it will wipe out the whole responsibility of the country to the ex-service men in 20 years. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I am taking your own figures. If, from a total expenditure of £60,000,000, you go on taking £3,000,000 per year, you will run it down to nothing at the end of 20 years.
I want to raise one point of detail under the Sub-heading 06 where an increase of £216,000 is shown in regard to medical treatment of disabled officers, nurses and men. That increase occurs under a heading, in connection with which there has been a decrease of 12,000 in the number of patients treated as between this year and last year. This year 12,000 fewer persons are being treated by the Ministry, in all classes, than were treated in the previous year. The total is something like 48,000 so there has been a reduction of 25 per cent. in 615 the number of cases treated. Yet there is the considerable increase of £216,000 in the cost. Why has it cost nearly a quarter of a million more to treat 12,000 fewer patients? If it is because we are giving better treatment and placing higher skill at the disposal of these patients then I say, "Good !" If it is because we are giving better treatment allowances I say, "Good !" If it is because we are giving them better food, housing and nursing then I say "Good!" But if it is due to sheer extravagance, carelessness and stupidity then I say, "Very bad indeed." Further, what about the number of limbless men who are perpetually coming back to the Ministry for treatment? What has induced the Ministry to cut out British firms from the list of those supplying artificial limbs? Why should there be, instead of 14 firms as in the previous year, only two in the present year—both foreign firms?
§ Mr. MAXTON
I put it to you, Sir, that if a man, through having been provided with an unsuitable limb, is thrown back into hospital—as happens in Scotland, where there is one hospital, the Erskine Home, devoted almost entirely to limbless men—and if his wound breaks out again, then those cases come definitely under this Sub-heading 06 and account for some proportion of this increase. It seems to me appalling that the Ministry of Pensions under this "Buy British Goods" Government—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I must ask the hon. Member not to discuss this matter upon the present Vote. It clearly does not arise under this Vote at all and is separate altogether from the particular service with which we are dealing.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I like to obey your ruling, Sir. I do not wish to come into opposition with you in any way, and I prefer to get through a speech without bringing you to your feet, because I know you do not like it, but I think, on this point, considering the latitude that has 616 been taken by the Minister himself—you remember the right hon. Gentleman's sermon upon etiquette, and upon how to become a perfect little gentleman, addressed to some members of the Opposition—it is a pretty tight ruling to bar me from talking about this very grave scandal. The Minister knows the facts as they exist, and why there should be any objection to the matter being raised, I do not know.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I am sure the hon. Member does not accuse me of desiring to prevent him from raising any question which he might properly raise, and I am sure he will support me in carrying out my duty which is to keep the discussion to the actual Vote before the Committee.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I return to the point which I was originally raising under Sub-heading O 6, in accordance with the very strict limits which you, Sir, have laid down, and I again ask: "What is the reason for an extra £216,000, to meet the needs of a greatly reduced total of patients?
§ Mr. LAWSON
The Minister of Pensions, in his closing remarks, pointed out that we were discussing here, not a reduction of the Estimate, but an increase, and we say to him, from these benches, that we would gladly give him that for which he is asking, and twice as much, if he would meet the Members of the Opposition in the case they are putting forward on behalf of the ex-service men. The right hon. Gentleman told us that we had been dealing during this Debate, not with regular cases, but with exceptions I suppose he would lead the Committee and the country to believe that the exceptions are extremely few, but there is no Member of the House who has not one or two or half-a-dozen exceptions in his division. It was about one such exception that I was thinking last night when the Minister, in spite of the charm and grace with which he can address the Committee was treating this very serious question at times almost in a spirit of levity. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I make no apology for that statement. The right hon. Gentleman, at certain stages in his reply last night, almost led one to believe that it was pantomime rather than a serious matter with which he was dealing.
617 Here is the exception that I was thinking about when the Minister was speaking. A friend of mine came to see me not many weeks ago, and not for the first time, in his present condition. He served as a sapper for two and a-half years in the Royal Engineers, and a sapper was a soldier, was he not? He was one of the miners, and was a strong man before the War. This man sat before me in my own room, and was dependent upon sticks for standing, his feet being useless. He served his country, but was refused a pension. He tried to carry on for 12 months, and because he went over that period, he did not get another opportunity. He tried for four years to carry on, but the man and his family are now getting poor relief from the local guardians. That is the case that I thought of when the right hon. Gentleman was treating this matter with what, I suppose, he would call perfect good nature. I submit that that man is a type of thousands of men who are living on the guardians to-day in this country, and then the representative of the Government says: "We are considering the representations that have been made to us." Yes, about taking the vote from people who are getting poor relief.
Then I was thinking of another man, who was shot in the left shoulder. He got a small pension, but his health is broken and his nerves are all anyhow. His own doctor, who knew him when he was a schoolboy, and who has treated him right through, says that the nervous state in which he finds himself is a direct result of the wounds that he suffered. He went to an appeal and got no increase at all. I submit that it may be that these are exceptions, and that the Regulations do not exactly fit them, but surely this Committee ought to see to it that such cases are dealt with by one means or another. If the Regulations do not exactly fit the situation, Regulations should be made to secure that men like that do not come under poor relief. The second case is almost in the same condition as the first case that I mentioned. In regard to Item R, under which there is an additional sum of £10,000 required for advances in respect of anticipated or interrupted pensions, why are they interrupted? Why have the pensioners to come to Members of Parliament so 618 regularly? We have now arrived at the stage when the whole organisation—
§ Major TRYON
The answer is that we make payments when pensions are interrupted by men going into and out of hospital.
§ Mr. LAWSON
I say there are interruptions which are mainly due to the fact that the organisation that is supposed to be between the pensioner and the Ministry is changing. First of all, there was a time when you had your regular pensions committees, up to about 1921, composed of people who voluntarily gave their time and were in close touch with the pensioners themselves. I always thought, and I still think, that the Pensions Ministry made a great mistake when they practically cut out all that voluntary organisation. There was a certain warmth about it; they were in touch with the people on the spot. Then they had the regional officers, who are practically extinct now. Some hon. Members have made the point that it is not the Pensions Minister but the staff who are rather lacking in sympathy in administering the pensions. I should not take that point of view, however, as the absolute and last word on the subject. The Pensions Minister can be responsible for policy and can afford to be nice. Everybody knows that in the Army the officer can afford to be nice, but that it is the poor old sergeant-major who is always considered to be strict and not nice to talk to, the man who has to do the real work; and, after all, although there are usually good relationships between officers and men, it is a well-known fact that it is the man in between—in this case, the representative of the Ministry, the staff—who often has to carry out the dreadful task, a task which is dictated by the policy of the Minister himself.
While I know I am not allowed to discuss the question of policy, I want to put the point that, while, of course, the members of the pensions administration staffs throughout the country generally are not perfect individuals, they are sometimes put in the position of having to do something they do not at all care to do, but the pensioner will lose even the services and the advice of even these people in most parts of the country if the present policy is continued. What is going to happen in the future? There will be very little left between the pen- 619 sioner and his Member of Parliament, and we are going to get more rather than fewer letters, I am afraid. It may be presumed that there will still be "pensioners' friends" and that kind of assistance. I have been pleased myself—and I say it as a representative of the Labour party in this respect, although I think I have been fairly non-party throughout my dealings with the Pensions Ministry in the past few years—to hear tributes paid to the British Legion representatives in attending the appeal tribunals. I am prepared to pay testimony to the fact that they have been very helpful, and I do not know what some of the poor people would have done if it had not been for that paid, regular, experienced representative of the British Legion. I think the speech of the Pensions Minister came very badly last night in criticising an organisation of that character and—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is entirely outside the Vote. His speech would be suitable on the main Estimates, or on the Vote for the salary of the Minister of Pensions.
§ Mr. LAWSON
I appreciate that fact, Captain FitzRoy, but one rather gets carried away. I take it that the organisation between the pensioner and the Minister can come under review under this Item R, and I think it is a dangerous point at which we have arrived in the evolution of the Ministry. It has now got to a stage when I think it is centralised almost completely. It seems to me that the intention is to centralise everything, or almost to get to that point, and I would suggest to the Minister and to the Committee that the mere fact that there is a majority on the Government Benches of something like 200, and that the Opposition or anyone who raises these questions about pensioners can be voted down, does not mean that there is going to be absolute satisfaction either with centralisation or the tendency to centralise. Every Member of this House knows that we are arriving at a stage in the progress of the Ministry of Pensions when the cases of pensioners will almost be beyond consideration, and I want to suggest that we ought to watch very, very carefully the movements that are being made towards centralisation, in order to guard the rights of those men and their dependants, who are doubly 620 suffering, and to whom this House and this country have a great duty to perform.
My final word is this: Let anyone throw his mind back to 1914 and 1918. The right hon. Gentleman spoke about the exceptions. I was here first, in this House, in 1919, and if anyone had suggested then, or even in 1920 or 1921, that a man who was broken, who had fought for years in the War, would be dependent upon poor relief, this House and this country would have been burning with indignation.
§ Mr. LAWSON
I remember that in 1920, when it first began to be mentioned that ex-service men who were able-bodied were dependent on pauper relief, the House was shocked to hear that there should be such a state of things prevailing. Of course, we were then very near the time when the promises had been made to the men, but the further we get away from that time, the greater becomes the complacency of this House in these matters. Perhaps it is not a question of party; I am afraid that it is the result of constant efforts to economise at no matter whose expense. There are men here who have been officers as well as rankers in the Army, and I do not believe that any officer under whom these men served would stop short at anything to save those men from the degradation to which they are having to submit at the present time. The right hon. Gentleman is asking for £1,500,000; we will give him £5,500,000 if he asks for it. The right hon. Gentleman talks about exceptions. He knows there are too many exceptions and I trust that this House will consider the more human side of this problem and absolutely refuse to accept that qualification—a condition of things which leaves men who served the country and who are broken and useless dependent upon Poor Relief and charity, but who are entitled to the best reward that the country can give them, expressed in financial terms.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 260; Noes, 127.525
|Division No. 46.]||AYES.||[3.48 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.|
|Albery, Irving James||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Davis, Dr. Vernon||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hills, Major John Waller|
|Apsley, Lord||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Hilton, Cecil|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Dixey, A. C.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Duckworth John||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard|
|Balniel, Lord||Eden, captain Anthony||Holland, Sir Arthur|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Hope, sir Harry (Forfar)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Berry, Sir George||Elveden, Viscount||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Howard, Captain Hon, Donald|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackny, n)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Hume-Williams, sir W. Ellis|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Fanshawe, Commander G. D.||Huntingfield, Lord|
|Brass, Captain W.||Fermoy Lord||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Forestier-Walker, sir L.||Hurst, Gerald B.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Forrest, W.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Fraser, Captain Ian||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Jackson, sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Gadle, Lieut.-Colonel Anthony||Jacob, A. E.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Ganzoni, sir John||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. J.||Gates, Percy.||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. sir William|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon, Sir John||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Kidd. J. (Linlithgow)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Goff, sir Park||Kindersley, Major Guy M.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Gower, Sir Robert||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Gretton, Colonel John||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Grotrian, H. Brent||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J.A.(Birm., W.)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)|
|Christie, J. A.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. sir F. (Dulwich)||Loder, J. de V.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hammersley, S. S.||Lougher, L.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hanbury, C.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Cochranem Commander Hon. A. D.||Harland, A.||Lumely, L. R.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Lynn, Sir R. J.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Harrison, G. J. C.||MacAndrew, Charles Glen|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hartington, Marquess of||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Cope, Major William||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||MacIntyre, Ian|
|Couper, J. B.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||McLean, Major A.|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Haslam, Henry C.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hawke, John Anthony||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Margesson, Captain D.||Rawson, Sir Alfred Cooper||Tasker, Major R. Inigo|
|Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Meller, R. J.||Remnant, Sir James||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Merriman, F. B.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell.|
|Meyer, Sir Frank||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Tinne, J. A.|
|Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Robinson, sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Ropner, Major L.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Russell, Alexander West (Tyemouth)||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Moore, Sir Newton J.||Rye, F. G.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Salmon, Major I.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Sandeman, A. Stewart||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Murchison, C. K.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Sandon, Lord||Wells, S. R.|
|Nelson, Sir Frank||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Neville, R. J.||Savery, S. S.||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dalrymple|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. McI. (Renfrew, W.)||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wills, Westn'y)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W.G. (Ptrsf'd.)||Shepperson, E. W.||Windsor-Cliver, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Skelton, A. N.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Nuttall, Ellis||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Wolmer, Viscount|
|O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh||Smithers, Waldron||Womersley, W. J.|
|Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Sprot, Sir Alexander||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Stanley, Col. Hon. G.F. (Will'sden, E.)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon Sir L.|
|Phillipson, Mabel||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Pilcher, G.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.||Colonel Gibbs and Major Sir Harry Barnston.|
|Radford, E. A.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Ramsden, E.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hayes, John Henry||Scurr, John|
|Baker, Walter||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Sexton, James|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Barnes, A.||Hirst, G. H.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Barr, J.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Briant, Frank||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Snell, Harry|
|Broad, F. A.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Snowden, Rt. Hon Philip|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Kelly, W. T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Cape, Thomas||Kennedy, T.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kenyon, Barnet||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Kirkwood, D.||Thurtle, E.|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Lansbury, George||Townend, A. E.|
|Compton, Joseph||Lawson, John James||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Connolly, M.||Lee, F.||Viant, S. P.|
|Cove, W. G.||Livingstone, A. M.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lowth, T.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Dalton, Hugh||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||MacLaren, Andrew||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidnew|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Maxton, James||Welsh, J. C.|
|Day. Colonel Harry||Morris, R. H.||Westwood, J.|
|Dunnico, H.||Oliver, George Harold||Whiteley, W.|
|Gillett, George M.||Owen, Major G.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Gosling, Harry||Paling, W.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Ponsonby, Arthur||Windsor, Walter|
|Groves, T.||Potts, John S.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Riley, Ben||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Charles Edwards.|
|Hardie, George D.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Harris, Percy A.||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Division No. 47.]||AYES.||[8.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Fermoy, Lord||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Fielden, E. B.||Margesson Captain D.|
|Albery, Irving James||Finburgh, S.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Forrest, W.||Meller, R. J.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Fraser, Captain Ian||Merriman, F. B.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Miine, J. S. Wardlaw|
|Apsley, Lord||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Ashmead Bartlett, E.||Gates, Percy||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Gauit, Lieut.-Col, Andrew Hamilton||Murchison, C. K.|
|Astor, Ma). Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Neville, R. J.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Goff, Sir Park||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Balniel, Lord||Gower, Sir Robert||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Grace, John||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Grant, J. A.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Berry, Sir George||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Grotrian, H. Brent.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Peto, Basll E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Philipson, Mabel|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Pilcher G.|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Hammersley, S. S.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Brass, Captain W.||Hanbury, C.||Preston, William|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Harland, A.||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Harrison, G. J. C.||Radford, E. A.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Hartington, Marquess of||Ramsden, E.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Rawson, Sir Alfred Cooper|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Haslam, Henry C.||Remer, J. R.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hawke, John Anthony||Remnant, Sir James|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Robert, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Ropner, Major L|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Campbell, E. T.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Rye, F. G.|
|Cassels, J. D.||Herbert. S. (York. N. R. Scar. & Wh'by)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Cayzer. Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hills, Major John Waller||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hogg. Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Holland, Sir Arthur||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Christie, J. A.||Holt, Captain H. P.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Homan. C. W. J||Sandon, Lord|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Savery, S. S.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co Down)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Hudson, R. S. (Cumb'l'nd, Whiteh'n)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Cope, Major William||Hume, Sir G. H.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Couper, J. B.||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Smithers, Waldron|
|Cowan Sir Wm. Henry (Islingtn. N.)||Huntingfield, Lord||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Jacob, A. E.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Jones, G. W. H.(Stoke Newington)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Crooke, J Smedley (Deritend)||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Knox, Sir Alfred||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Lamb, J. Q.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Dalziel, Sir Davison||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Lloyd. Cyril E. (Dudley)||Tasker, Major R. Inigo|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Loder, J. de V.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess Of|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Lord, Walter Greaves-||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Lougher, L.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Dixey, A. C.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Duckworth, John||Lumley, L. R.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||MacIntyre, Ian||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||McLean, Major A.||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Macmillan, Captain H.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Elveden, Viscount||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Wells, S. R.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||MacRobert, Alexander M.||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dalrymple|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Malone, Major P. B.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)||Withers, John James||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)||Wolmer, Viscount||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Captain Bowyer.|
|Wise, Sir Fredric||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon W. (Fife, West)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hayday, Arthur||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Baker, Walter||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Barnes, A.||Hirst, G. H.||Scurr, John|
|Barr, J.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Broad, F. A.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Bromfield, William||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Bromley, J.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Buchanan, G||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Cape, Thomas||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Snell, Harry|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kelly, W. T.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Clowes, S.||Kennedy, T.||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com, Hon. Joseph M.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Kenyon, Barnet||Stephen, Campbell|
|Compton, Joseph||Kirkwood, D.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Connolly, M.||Lansbury, George||Taylor, R. A.|
|Cove, W. G.||Lawson, John James||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lee, F.||Thurtle, E.|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Lindley, F. W.||Townend, A. E.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Livingstone, A. M.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Lowth, T.||Viant, S. P.|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Lunn, William||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Dennison, R.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Duncan, C.||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Dunnico, H.||March, S.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Maxton, James||Welsh, J. C.|
|Gillett, George M.||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Westwood, J.|
|Gosling, Harry||Morris, R. H.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Whiteley, W.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Naylor, T. E.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Oliver, George Harold||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Owen, Major G.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Groves, T.||Paling, W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Ponsonby, Arthur||Windsor, Walter|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Potts, John S.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Purcell, A. A.|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hardie, George D.||Riley, Ben||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Hayes.|
|Harris, Percy A.||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks W.R. Elland)|
§ Question put accordingly, and agreed to.