HC Deb 26 February 1934 vol 286 cc744-6
22. Mr. McENTEE

asked the Minister of Pensions why, seeing that any man whose disability is due to war service may receive treatment allowances under Article 6 of the Royal Warrant of 1919, irrespective of his degree of disablement, if the course of treatment prevents him working at a remunerative employment, a pensioner who has commuted 2d. a day of his pension has this sum deducted from his treatment allowances; under what article this deduction is authorised; and whether he will by regulation increase the years of purchase of any sum commuted, seeing that commutation purchase is now based on many years less than the normal expectation of life and that a war pensioner has his pension assessed for commutation purposes on the rates of the 1918 warrant, plus 20 per cent., or one-fifth less than the man is receiving at rates which Parliament has decided shall not be reduced?

The MINISTER of PENSIONS (Major Tryon)

The allowances authorised by Article 6 of the Royal Warrant, 1919, are, as stated therein, payable in lieu of any pension or allowances, therefore prepayment of pension by way of commutation must be taken into account to avoid double payment. With regard to the second part of the question, disablement pensions are commuted on precisely the same basis as long service pensions in the case of the Army. The average duration of life taken in both cases is that of men who retired a few years before the late War and had been through no such experience of active service as men who were disabled in the War. It is probable, therefore, that the commutation rates for disablement pensions are relatively generous, and I am not prepared to institute an investigation which might as easily have the result of decreasing the present commutation tables as of increasing them. The reference for commutation purposes to the rates of the 1918 Warrant does not involve any reassessment of a pension or affect its amount in any way; it merely determines the point below which a pension may not be reduced by commutation and any amount commuted is simply deducted from the actual pension at 1919 Warrant rates: e.g. if a pensioner in receipt of 32s. a week is allowed to commute 5s. a week he receives the commutation value of 5s. and continues to draw pension at 27s.


Is it not a fact that a man whose disability is assessed at 20 per cent. gets exactly the same treatment allowance as the man who has 90 per cent.; and, if a man who has got 90 per cent. commutes 20 per cent. of it, he still has 50 per cent. above the other and the two are brought into entirely different categories——


Circulate it.


It is almost impossible to deal with a calculation of that kind in answer to a Supplementary Question.


I wish to know on what authority this is being done. That is my original question, and I have not received an answer to it from the Minister.


I am dealing with the Warrants as they have stood for a long time. If the hon. Member's contention held good, a man would be able to get his pension twice over, once by commuting it and once in treatment allowance.


May I ask the Minister under what authority this change has been made in the allowances, in the circumstances of the cases I have mentioned?


There is no change. The authority under which we are dealing with the matter is the Royal Warrant. If the hon. Member reads my original reply, which is a very long one—as this raises a highly technical matter—I think he will find that it answers his question.

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