HC Deb 18 January 1940 vol 356 cc200-1
14. Mr. Garro Jones

asked the Minister of Pensions what are the arrangements now in force for the payment of compensation to men or their families in cases of injury or death by enemy action against the fishing fleet or the mercantile marine?

The Minister of Pensions (Sir Walter Womersley)

I have, from the outset, made special arrangements for dealing with the Mercantile Marine and the fishing fleets. All port authority officials and shipping companies are placed in direct touch with my local officers, and immediately, on report of either injury or death, my officers get in touch at once with the men concerned or their dependants, and all necessary action as regards either treatment or pension is taken. I am glad to say that I have testimony from all the port authorities to the efficiency and promptitude of the staff of my Department who have to carry out these arrangements.

Full particulars of the scheme of compensation are given in Ministry of Pensions leaflet No. 2, which has been distributed to all bodies and persons officially concerned with the Mercantile Marine and fishing fleets, and of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy.

Mr. Garro Jones

While appreciating the merits of the leaflets to which the hon. Gentleman has referred, may I ask whether he will consider publishing them in plain and popular language for members of the Mercantile Marine and the fishing fleet, who are unacquainted with these matters and have not the facilities of ordinary members of the community for obtaining information?

Sir W. Womersley

That has not been my experience. All my people in Grimsby know about these regulations and have no difficulty in interpreting them. My view is that it is far better for my officers to go direct to the men and their dependants rather than to leave them in doubt about any regulation.

Mr. Shinwell

Is the Minister aware of the dissatisfaction which exists in the Mercantile Marine with regard to the inadequacy of the compensation paid?

Sir W. Womersley

That is not the Question which was put on the Order Paper. If the hon. Member will put the Question down I will be glad to go into it.