HC Deb 11 April 1935 vol 300 cc1328-9
52. Mr. LECKIE

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that, owing to the restrictions of the Royal Warrant, the pension allowance that was in issue to Thomas Davis, son of the late Private Charles Davis, No. 9,802, South Stafford-shire Regiment, who was killed on the 25th September, 1915, ceased at the age of 21, although the orphan is suffering from the effects of encephalitis and is consequently unable to contribute in any way to his self-support; and whether, in view of this fact, he will consider amending the Royal Warrant with the object of ensuring that allowances are continued to totally incapacitated war orphans for so long as such incapacity exists?

The MINISTER of PENSIONS (Major Tryon)

The facts of the case referred to are as stated. On the more general issue raised I would say that the Government are not prepared to amend the Royal Pension Warrants in the manner proposed. A series of practically identical questions on this subject have recently been addressed to me in this House. The Warrant provisions in question involve an important principle which has been maintained by all successive Governments since the War. This principle is that, in the case of children with living parents being pensioned ex-service men or widows, the additional allowance or pension for the child cannot be extended beyond the date when the child attains its majority. A departure from this principle would involve serious reactions in many directions. It would mean the grant of life pensions to men and women on the score of infirmities which are in no way connected with war service and which consequently would not be pensionable in the case of their fathers, the ex-service men. Morover, they are already provided for, under statutory powers, by the public social services of this country. It would involve, in fact, the creation of a second generation of adult war pensioners, a development which I do not think the House would view with favour. I may add that the issue raised in these questions is not a new one. Pensions in similar cases have been going out of payment for many years past and the proposal, if adopted, would mean the revival of cases which have been off the Pension List for 12 years or more.


Does the right hon. Gentleman mean by his reference to "identical questions," that these questions have been organised?


Yes, Sir. An ex-service organisation has to my knowledge during the last two months taken steps from London to secure the putting of a series of identical questions at arranged intervals in this House. I am always happy to give any information that hon. Members desire on pensions questions.


Does not what the Minister has just told us show that there is great dissatisfaction about pensions administration?


No, Sir. If there were general dissatisfaction, this House would have shown it long ago. This pension went out of payment under the late Government. If there were general dissatisfaction, it would not be necessary for any organisation from an office in London to get questions put down at definite dates by Members of Parliament.