5. Mr. ROBINSON
asked the Minister of Pensions the average time taken to settle an application for commutation of pension; whether these applications are referred to the local war pension committee in all cases; and if in cases of house purchase, where it is often urgent to pay the deposit, he will arrange that applications for commutation shall be dealt with by the area officers and deputy commissioners of medical services, or that the men desiring to purchase a house may be permitted to commute pension and the money-warrant to remain on deposit at the area office so that it may be available at any time for payment to the vendor of the property when the, pensioner has the prospect of obtaining a house?
§ Major TRYON
The time taken to settle applications for commutation of pension varies greatly but the average time is at present about a month. Every application is considered in the first instance by the War Pensions Committee, but it would not be possible to delegate to local officers the final responsibility for determining whether all the requirements of the Statutory Regulations are fulfilled. Nor would it be consistent with my duty under those Regulations of safeguarding the interests of pensioners to authorise commutation for some generic purpose without investigation of the precise project in view, the soundness of which is a necessary factor in establishing that it will be to the man's distinct and permament advantage to allow him to surrender part of a life pension.